News October 30, 2014

UFG Goes Hands on With The Talos Principal!

Written By: Zoe Howard
Date: 10/30/14

Developed by Croteam and Published by Devolver Digital, The Talos Principle is a game of pure enjoyment to see as well as experience. On Devolver Digital's Website it is labeled as a "Philosophical first person puzzle game". While that is pretty accurate I think I would actually labeled it more of a Philosophical Open World puzzle game; you do not progress level to level as you would in a typical fps but instead traverse the already ventured terrain to find new challenges. The idea is for the player to solve increasingly difficult puzzles dealing with a parable about intelligence and meaning in a doomed world. Deep stuff!

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Like the label says, The Talos Principle features puzzles. What it doesn’t say is how drastically different they are in terms of difficulty. Each puzzle falls into one of three colors. The green puzzles are the easiest and unlocked new areas for you to explore. The yellow ones offer a moderate challenge and grant you helpful items once solved. Lastly, the red and most difficult puzzles unlock the final tower’s levels. The goal seems to be to make it through the tower by first solving the red puzzles. The other two provide the means to do so; new areas with their own red puzzles and items to help you complete them. Though, that’s just an assumption as I’ve only covered the first part of the game.  

In some areas you will coast through the puzzles only to find the next one stopping you dead in your tracks. For a puzzle game I found this to be a great way to keep you on your toes. One (Green) puzzle required me to grab one of two jammer guns, use it to disable a wall turret before retrieving the second one. The second gun however is holding a floating machine still. Grabbing the gun I quickly moved back hoping the machine did not catch me in it sensors. If I was spotted it would give chase and explode when it got next to me (it was impossible to escape).Once I was moved away the Machine went about on its way monitoring the land on its predetermined path. A later puzzle (Red) would certainly put my skills to the test as it utilized multiple force fields, floating machines and turrets. What I’m getting at is as your knowledge of the rules of the world grows your mind begins to race with the advancing levels. I was always learning new and interesting ways to use the items at my disposal to complete the tricks required to conquer each area.

The levels themselves are not very linear. I even use the term levels loosely. You are placed in a large world where you walk from area to area solving one puzzle after another. Each area consists of five or more puzzles so you will be in the area for a bit of time depending on the difficulty of the puzzles and your skill in solving them. The Roman world (first 32 puzzles) took about three hours to complete. With that many puzzles in just the first world of play, it is safe to assume the game will take some time and thought to beat all the way through.

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The game can be played in first person (the default option) and 3rd person. Trying both, I was very happy with the first person view as it allowed me to better focus on the puzzles at hand. Regardless of your viewing preferences though, I’m sure you’ll enjoy what you see. Visually, the game is just beautiful. With a mix of photorealism and computer generated surroundings, the game provides an interesting world to trek through. Even the science fiction like machines out to stop you within each environment mesh well with their very realistic surroundings; the aesthetics, though featuring a lot of separate elements, look great together.  There were many times in my playthrough where I stopped what I was doing to take in the detailed surroundings.

The music was a treat to hear. From the moment the game starts you are greeted with a composition that welcomes you to this serene world. Though I must say at no point in the run of the game did the music actually stop. I never grew tired of it but knowing I could hear the sounds of nature just above it, I often wondered how nice it would be for the music to stop and I could just take in the atmosphere of the lush world. The only thing I found within the game that left me reaching for my volume control was the sound of the flying machines that explode if you get to close to them. Their sounds while effective were very high in frequency and after a while graded at my ears like a rusty chainsaw.

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To sum it up, The Talos Principal is worth checking out. The variety of puzzles is nice and beyond the basics of the game, the controls were tight and responsive (I was using an Xbox 360 instead of a keyboard and mouse). I never once felt that a death was anyone’s fault other than my own. The game was great, graphically speaking, though I did find one visual glitch after you leave the Roman level. But since the game is not finished yet, I can presume that will be tended to before its release. The Talos Principal is a game that I look forward to seeing more of. It is a modern puzzle game at its best!