Review – The Talos Principle 2
The Talos Principle is one of those games that the entire staff at WayToomManyGames unanimously loves. Its brilliant combination of philosophical storytelling and challenging puzzles made it a unique experience, especially when you consider the fact this thought-provoking game was created by the same team behind the not so thought-provoking Serious Sam franchise. So once news of a sequel came out, we were naturally very excited. With The Talos Principle 2 finally here, I am happy to say it was worth the wait.
I don’t want to go too much into the story of The Talos Principle 2 since it is better to go in with as little information as possible. The basic premise is that you are 1k who has finally woken up and been sent to New Jerusalum. Very quickly you are sent out on an expedition to discover new technology. What the expedition team discovers could change the very future of New Jerusalum.
What we have here is a story that is just as thought-provoking as the original game, but with more to it. There are so many more characters to interact with, which leads to storytelling that is a little bit more traditional. It’s absolutely one of the biggest draws. The different characters you meet will have different views on the world, and the game will once again ask you these questions as you meet the different citizens and Gods that have left the world to humanity’s care. Drawing really heavily once again on mythology, this provides a lot more of what you’d expect narratively.
If there’s one thing that surprises me most about The Talos Principle 2, it feels familiar yet has some distinctive features. I was initially worried playing the opening chapter that this would be the exact same game again. You get the same puzzle gimmicks in a very familiar setting, but it quickly moves into some much more uniquely distinctive environments and tells a story that is a little bit more traditional, in a sense.
Much like the original, The Talos Principle 2 is a first-person puzzle game. These mechanics are usually simple enough at a surface level, mostly focusing on using a receiver to get power from one colour generator to its matching terminal. If the concept sounds simple that’s because it is; a lot of the puzzles here follow this basic premise.
The puzzle design here is sublime, with the game constantly throwing new mechanics at you whilst mixing up older ones in interesting ways. They are at times mind-bending, with solutions that are deceptively simple, with typically only one possible solution. I took an iterative approach to solving them, and when they finally click it’s an epic feeling as the game makes you feel like you’ve truly accomplished something. The Talos Principle 2 also does a great job of easing you into the more complex puzzles, as every time a new mechanic is introduced it will do so in an intuitive way to make sure you understand the rules.
The Talos Principle 2 is set across twelve massive zones. Each zone has eight puzzles that you need to complete to progress to the tower in the centre. It introduces new and more interesting mechanics as you progress through each zone. This ranges all the way from colour inversion generators, to anti-gravity walls, which leads to some incredibly trippy puzzle designs. There are a lot more unique mechanics than in the first game, and the steady pace they are mixed up keeps it feeling fresh at all times. When these puzzle elements start to get combined, it all just clicks into place.
It’s surprisingly joyful simply navigating between puzzles, thanks to a relaxing atmosphere that makes it feel like a walk in the park. There are also secrets to be found in the world as well. Terminals are scattered across the open world, which adds a lot more flavour to the whole experience. Other optional puzzles can be found that are typically much more challenging than the others, as well as some small riddles that you can solve.
Often you will receive notifications from social groups about the events that are happening, and this is where a lot of the philosophical debate that made the first game unique comes back into play. Each of the thousand New Jerusalem citizens has their own things to say about the events that unfold on the expeditions.
I am in no way a great puzzle solver, but nothing in this made it feel impossible. If I ever got stumped I would walk away, find some secrets or complete a different puzzle, and come back with a new perspective that would immediately make it click. If there is a particularly tough puzzle that you can’t get through, a new Prometheus Terminal will allow you to bypass it. These do seem to be pretty limited, so don’t rush to use them on the first instance you get stuck. Depending on how good you are and how much time you spend exploring these worlds, The Talos Principle 2 can easily take up over twenty hours of your time.
The first one was certainly a pretty game considering it was running on the Serious engine for the wildly inconsistent Serious Sam games. The Talos Principle 2 has made the shift to Unreal Engine 5 and the jump in quality is insane, with some stunning lighting and more grand vistas that had me marveling at its beauty. The first time I stepped out to New Jerusalem left me in awe at just how big of an upgrade this game is visually. These screenshots don’t do it much justice.
The Talos Principle 2 is something of a rarity in the gaming space. An extremely high-quality puzzle game that has a deeper meaning within its story, and interactions that make you think in more ways than one. This is on top of its breathtaking visuals, courtesy of the brand new iteration of the Unreal Engine. I cannot recommend it enough to any fans of puzzle games. The Talos Principle 2 is an absolute must-play.
The shift to UE5 makes for an absolute visual treat with a much more vast world to explore.
The Talos Principle 2‘s puzzle design makes you feel like a genius with incredibly well-designed mechanics.
Soothing ambient sounds and solid voice acting help build a fascinating world.
It features a meaningful and thought-provoking story with a ton of puzzles to solve. Even though it doesn’t innovate much, The Talos Principle 2 is worth your time.
Final Verdict: 9.0
The Talos Principle 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Reviewed on PC with an RTX 4070, Ryzen 5 3600X and 16GB RAM.
A copy of The Talos Principle 2 was provided by the publisher.