This carries my personal progress through the first 5 hours of The Talos Principal. Expect it to have spoiler material. This will focus on my current thoughts, which will then be re-evaluated during the final review in the near future. Current Progress: I have completed the chambers of Room A, including the secret star room.
When I picked up The Talos Principle, I was expecting something along the lines of Serious Sam, especially considering that both Croteam and Devolver Digital were on board. However, I had received something very different. A psychological puzzler that I can only really compare to the Portal Series. Awaking in an old Roman Ruin, I was introduced to Elohim, the self-proclaimed god of the world I was in. I had personally been chosen by him to complete tasks laid throughout the world in puzzle with hopes of achieving what I’m assuming to be enlightenment of some kind. The only caveat is that I could not enter or climb the tower to the top.
Immediately upon start up, I was introduced to the first puzzle. Tutorial is a bit of a loose definition here since the developers leave it up to the player to adapt and kind of learn what everything does. For the first few puzzles, your best friend is an electric distorting tool. It does everything from shut down force fields to disabling stationary machine guns and drones on a set path. Later on, you are introduced to a laser and reflector system that requires the player to move the reflector as needed to bounce the laser off if it. The good part is that the laser is not given a set path. You can place the reflector anywhere as long as you can visually see your starting point and the end point for the laser. Sometimes this results in connecting up to 4 or more reflectors.
The goal so far is to collect puzzle pieces, reminiscent of Tetris, at the end of each puzzle. It’s actually pretty crafty how they decided to use these pieces. Everything is color coded and represents both the use and importance. One color, blue is designated for progress throughout the game while another, yellow, is used specifically to unlock items, such as the reflector and box. While you can attempt to collect all of the blue pieces, you will eventually need to focus on collecting the yellow pieces since many of the blue and other colored items eventually become blocked if you don’t have the appropriate tools, such as a box to place a reflector on.
In true Croteam fashion, there are collectibles. Not a hundred of them, but there is at least one collectible hidden within each level. Also, in true Croteam fashion, some of them are hidden both in plain sight and in the deepest darkest corners that no one would ever look. Once you collect enough of these gold stars, you can access rooms that will teleport you to a hidden level with much more difficult and complex puzzles. One thing I noticed is that the Tetris pieces you collect are Grey, yet I don’t know what they are for yet. While I found the gold stars in the first world (Black magic probably), I can’t fathom what they plan to do with collectibles farther down the line, since I had to find completely random solutions in which one was found simply on dumb luck.
The story continues to be told through both the omnipresence of Elohim as well as computer terminals placed within each world. While Elohim continues to give his appraisal after each puzzle completed, the computer terminals carry the story through ambiguity. While some of the text is straight forward, the real treasure revolves around the philosophical questions that are presented from another anonymous source. Until then though, I will have to keep playing and simply see what happens. For now, I don’t hold much interest in Elohim. He seems shallow and more of a false prophet. There are also a lot of open ends to figure out such as the anonymous figure in the computer and the true purpose (if any) of the notes left behind by other (what I assume to be) AI systems.
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