The Talos Principle 2 is a highly anticipated upcoming title for PC and PlayStation 5, and I got the opportunity to experience a beta of the first 7-8 hours of the game. Not being familiar with the first game in the series, simply titled The Talos Principle, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this game experience. I ended up really intrigued by this introduction to the game, and found myself wanting more upon completion of the beta.
The Talos Principle 2 begins by placing you into an Ancient-Egypt style landscape that is mostly sterile, but filled with a number of puzzles that guide you toward learning how to interact with game objects. Signal jammers, fans, connectors, and hexahedrons are all at your disposal to transform the environment and create a path toward the shapes you’re collecting, in order to proceed with the main game. The ominous narrator refers to this lengthy portion as a “calibration” sequence, and the player essentially has to solve a variety of puzzles using gameplay mechanics before progressing into the story of the game. The puzzles aren’t necessarily challenging, but require you to understand how each component works and what the rules of the environment are. This made this segment useful as a precursor to the later puzzles in the real gameplay with stakes. While this was a good introduction to all the puzzle-solving mechanics, there is a drastic shift when the actual game begins and I was given a proper introduction to the lore, the game universe, and other aspects of the game. This calibration sequence didn’t seem to fit right at the beginning of the game where it was placed, and I felt that it was long enough for me to lose my initial excitement for the game (although this excitement returned once this portion was over).
Everything following the calibration section is quite intriguing. We’re properly introduced to the story of the game: humanity is extinct, and all that remains is the physical remnants of their civilization, as well as the artificial lifeforms that comprise current society. We play as an android who is the 1000th born citizen of this new society, fulfilling a prophecy made by their founder. We meet a variety of other androids, some friendly and others not, with a vast spectrum of views on the future of the universe and what it means to be human. Some of the primary philosophical questions teased in the game description become apparent during this first portion: are these androids human because they behave like we do, talk like we do, and are built in our image? These rhetorical questions likely seem trite to gamers who will roll their eyes at these familiar “existential” questions (many of us remember Detroit: Become Human), but The Talos Principle 2 is subtle in its execution, and gives players the opportunity to make judgements for themselves on the morality of its characters. At least, that’s what is going on so far, and I personally hope the rest of the game will match the tone of what I’ve seen so far.
In addition to its puzzle-dominated gameplay, The Talos Principle 2 offers a lot of familiar but exciting open-world engagement. The opportunity to explore and view events occurring in the city, given near the beginning of the game, was an unexpected surprise that I fully took advantage of. Players are given the opportunity to choose dialogue in conversations, impacting what other androids they build relationships with and pursue objectives. You can freely decide how intensively you’d like to learn about the game lore, by opting in and out of Q&A sessions with the opportunity to rejoin the conversation at any time. Unanswered questions and mystery are brought into the story right away, with strange and unexplainable events occurring shortly after the main character’s birth. I wanted answers, and certainly didn’t get them all in this first look at the game, but am excited at the possibility of learning more about this universe when the full release arrives.
The Talos Principle 2 is really promising and exciting from what I’ve seen so far. I’m even interested in checking out the preceding title, The Talos Principle, to see where this concept originated and what exactly the sequel is expanding on. All the steps are in place to create a really memorable, solid game experience, with a thought-provoking narrative and entertaining puzzles. I will certainly be checking the title out when it’s completed.
The Talos Principle 2 really impresses during its first segment, with an engaging storyline and lots of enjoyable puzzles. In spite of an unnecessarily lengthy tutorial, all the major pieces for a solid game are fitting together so far and paint a really good picture for the rest of the game.