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The Talos Principle (Xbox One)

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 10 - 2018

Deep and meaningful puzzle solving.

I remember a time when puzzle games would present the player with a scene containing a puzzle and then the player would move on to the next. There are still games like that out there, games that challenge the player with a single themed puzzle, one after the other, and nothing else. However, over the years the simple puzzle game has become something more as developers tied in stories, exploration and deeper meaning, sometimes even asking the player to question their own existence alongside that of the game world. While some of these games will lean more towards the narrative, and others revolve more around exploring, there are still some that turn up challenging the player with themed puzzles while building the world around them.

ttp1 (Copy)

Which brings us to The Talos Principle, a philosophical, first-person puzzle game from CroTeam of all people. Yes, that is the same CroTeam that developed the marvellously bombastic Serious Sam games. The Talos Principle first launched back in 2014 and has since come to the likes of PS4, iOS and even VR. But, for some reason that is probably beyond my pay grade, the game never made its way onto the Xbox. Until now, that is, with The Talos Principle finally arriving on Xbox One, gifting the Xbox faithful with the chance to play one of the most interesting puzzle games of recent years. About time, I think.

Before we get onto all of the other fluff, let’s just consider the puzzles as they are the prominent feature of The Talos Principle. Things start simply enough as the player finds themselves in small areas with the goal of collecting a Tetris-style shape. This shape is usually stashed away behind walls and the like, and the player will have to work out how to pass things like turrets, exploding drones and electronic barriers in order to reach the shape. They will have limited access to objects that can disable these things, but the limited number will often mean some creative use finally gain the shape in question.

ttp2 (Copy)

Of course, nothing ever stays that straight forward, and before long, new mechanics will be introduced and the player will be guiding coloured lights and moving boxes, all while dealing with all manner of other issues, in the sort of puzzle solving that will give some players nightmares. The difficulty of the puzzles is undeniably leaning on the hard side, but there is a certain fairness that most players will appreciate once they work out what they have to do. Also, there is a very open sense of progression to the puzzles that means if one becomes too frustrating, the player can go and try a different puzzle, which may just trigger the solution to the first. Tricky but satisfying would be a good way to describe the puzzles.

But there is more to The Talos Principle than just a bunch of puzzles. The Talos Principle also weaves together a very interesting story, and a stunning world to explore. The exploration side is more about moving from one puzzle area to the next, but there is also plenty to look at. The world is made up of ruins from various different human civilizations, and is an absolute joy to look at. There are some beautiful views to take in, and an air of quiet mystery flows over everything in the world.

ttp3 (Copy)

The story is also quite enjoyable as the player begins being told by some deep booming voice that they are a simple servant and must collect the sigils because they have been commanded to. Some simple assumptions are made, such as that the player is not human, but more gets gradually revealed as the player progresses. All around the world, the player will come across computer terminals, which stand out in the ancient ruins, and through these the player will be able to converse with someone, or something, else that questions what the player is, and what the voice is telling the player to do. It is also through these computers that the player will be able to begin to learn exactly what has happened to the world, although this may require a fairly substantial amount of reading on the players part. In all though, The Talos Principle manages to weave an enjoyable story that, through challenging the player to question things, can give rise to some deep and meaningful discussions.

Or, should they prefer, the player could just solve the puzzles and move on. There is a lot of choice as to how involved the player can get in the game world and how much they discover, so not bogging down players who have no interest in the deep and detailed lore. There is a little bit of a disconnect between the story and the puzzle solving, but it all works in the long term.

For the Xbox One, The Talos Principle has been enhanced to cater for those owning the Xbox One X, providing 4K Ultra HD visuals. While I couldn’t test this for myself, I am sure that the already beautiful looking game would just look even better.

ttp4 (Copy)

The Talos Principle is one of those games that, much like Portal that serves as an obvious inspiration, really needs to be experienced by all gamers. And now, with the game finally arriving on Xbox One, it can be. While the narrative can be a little obscure at times, the puzzles are generally satisfying enough to carry the player through to conclusion. For puzzle game fans on Xbox One, The Talos Principle is an essential purchase.




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