EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Jordan Helsley
previewed on PC
Mistakes of the Makers
Creating a sequel to one of the most beloved games of modern times, if not all time, is surely one of the tallest orders a development studio can undertake. The pressure to innovate, desire to improve, and need to enhance something already classic could be as exhilarating as it is nerve-wracking. With The Talos Principle 2, developer Croteam is attempting to do all of that, and more.
As the 1,000th, and presumably final, robot born from the simulation of the first game, The Talos Principle 2 doesn't take very long to up the ante on its predecessor's philosophy. While the original deftly handled topics of artificial intelligence and humanity mostly separate from each other, the sequel is dropping hints about its views of the intersection of the two. Are the created doomed to make the mistakes of the creators? Is a utopian society possible when planned as such from the beginning? Should the 1,000th robot indeed be the final one? Those are just a few of the questions raised in the early hours that set an intriguing stage for what's to come. The original puzzle delight handled its topics as a seasoned classical philosopher would, leading to a heightened confidence in the story of the follow up in that regard.
While the artificial intelligence angle is certainly prescient today, though it truly goes far beyond the large-language models of modern day "AI", there's an analysis of contemporary concerns such as community, group dynamics, misinformation, and general distrust of authority. It's a lot to pack into the package, and while none of these concerns are so modern that a story written a few years ago becomes clairvoyant, it - so far, at least - feels not only topical but also evergreen.
Utilizing Both Halves of the Brain
While the story seems to be as thought-provoking as the first, the puzzles are likely to be the more popular aspect of The Talos Principle 2. Rest assured that plenty of care was taken to ensure the game remains challenging and satisfying. At face value, things look familiar. Light beams return, but there are plenty of tools that further augment how they're used to let you progress through the story. It's a tough line to toe without spoiling anything, but I'll hint at it by saying my colour-blind friends will be happy to hear that a few settings can be utilized to help with heavily-colour-based puzzles. Additional in-game tools look more than ready to shake things up, so veterans of puzzle games and Talos alike should feel right at home.
Lastly, while there's still plenty of game to experience, the much-discussed difficulty curve of the original seems to have benefitted from the eight year gap. I felt a greater sense of purpose with the ramp-up of the original puzzles, seemingly indicating that the developers took criticism to heart. Again, it's very clear that much of this game should be experienced first-hand, as there were plenty of enjoyable moments in the early hours that would be a shame to spoil. Suffice it to say, the king of contemporary puzzle games is putting a great foot forward in following up a game that didn't need another entry.
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There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.