Published on November 8th, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
The Talos Principle 2 PS5 Review
Summary: Solve physical puzzles while puzzling over your existence.
The indie blockbuster game The Talos Principle (2020) returns with its highly anticipated sequel that is available across multiple platforms. The original game boasted an engaging narrative with exceptional puzzles with a detailed gaming environment that simply resonated with just about everyone that played it. Given that, I got a huge philosophy graduate nerdy kick out of The Talos Principle… so the chance to return to that world was an invitation I couldn’t ignore. This time around
things feel less lonely, in fact you are essentially welcomed into the game with a party for your very existence. But existence and what it means to be are things that continue to be themes that are pondered throughout and I love it!
A quick catch up in case you aren’t familiar with the series. The Talos Principle was a puzzle solving game that also incorporated philosophical questions about existence. In the original you felt quite alone except for occasional interactions with terminals that provided an insight into where you are and perhaps what you are. The Talos Principle 2 expands on that by bringing you in to a city of fellow androids. A society has been built, a city New Jerusalem that is intended to be better than what came before. But the celebrations are interrupted by a mysterious figure that forms and speaks of something beyond the city walls. A small group is sent to investigate and you are part of that group.
The Talos Principle 2 does what all great sequels should do… takes what was great about the original and builds upon that. The world still involves puzzle “rooms” but the items used to solve the rooms has expanded… some of the new tools include RGB colour changers, and portal gun style tools to help you work through some walls. As you clear areas you make your way to new locations that have a slight change in aesthetic and typically a new style of challenge to figure out. The feeling of loneliness has been removed and replaced by chat between your team mates which gives a very different feel to the whole experience. No longer do you feel like you are a lone being in a dead world, instead you feel like you are part of a society and working towards shared goals such as figuring out who built these puzzles and why.
But the puzzles are of course a main focus of the game and they are still fantastically paced. Each area eases you into the new puzzle elements and just as you think you have everything figured out… you will find yourself in a puzzle that will have you scratching your android noggin wondering what you’re missing. It’s the moments of confusion that arguably make the moments of discovery all the sweeter. After pondering how you can possibly make a given puzzle work with the limited tools available to you, then realizing that by changing the order or task some of the tools are in/performing you can finally get it all to work can potentially cause an exclamation of Eureka!
But what really sets The Talos Principle 2 apart from other puzzle games is the lore. That lovely dive into existentialism… morality, purpose and all sorts of related notions, is pure joy for this aging philosopher. While you work out the physical puzzles to gain greater access to the mysterious buildings… you will also find yourself working out the puzzles of who you are, what you are, what you should be and do and how everything fits together. It’s a mental work out on many levels and it’s a lot of fun working through it all.
Absolutely grab a copy if you are a fan of either philosophy or puzzle solving or both. Visually pleasing and mentally stimulating, the Talos Principle 2 is a great experience to add to your collection.