The Talos Principle 2 is a pivotal release for the puzzling genre as Croteam achieve their Portal 2 moment

Nearly ten years on, The Talos Principle finally has its sequel and it’s everything you’d expect and nothing like you imagined.

Croteam’s The Talos Principle really surprised the world when it launched back in 2014. On the surface, it was just a standard puzzler, using light beams to open doorways and spouting philosophical anecdotes at you, hinting at some greater purpose. But its surprising beauty, gradual development of puzzles, and mysterious, intriguing premise, hinting at something more, really captivated gamers.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were getting into the exact same game all over again based on its introductory tutorial. It’s extremely faithful to the original game, a little bit too much actually, with puzzles that feel awfully familiar. And it kind of sets a slightly different expectation of what’s to come.

But it’s also an extremely important component of the game’s magic, because you need a reminder of that context to really set you up for what’s to come – a dialogue heavy, story-driven, open-ended puzzler that’s closer to The Witness than its predecessor.

No, seriously. And I almost feel like me telling you this is a massive spoiler because that segueway into something completely different is akin to those key moments all the great games have hidden in their locker. Like getting out of the Vault in Fallout 3 or that opening scene in Fallout: New Vegas – thanks Matthew Perry – and like the way Metal Gear Solid 2 completely flips the script on its head by giving you Raiden.

These were big moments that gripped you, made you think differently about a game you’d been playing for a period of time, and created lasting memories. I reckon Talos Priniciple 2 also has one of those big moments.

Which is why it’s one of those games you need to pay attention to outside of the all-encompassing AAA cycle that has dominated 2023. Of course we all love Spider-Man, Mario, Final Fantasy and Resident Evil, but what Croteam and Devolver have put together here is something quite magical. They’ve pulled the rug out from underneath us all over again, just like they did in 2014, and it’s wonderful.

In Talos Principle 2, you play as 1K. Your birth and arrival is considered a significant moment in New Jerusalam – the stunning, grandiose dome-like setting – and throughout the game, it’s up to you to find out why. Everyone has a theory and they’re very willing to tell you about it. All you know is humanity is gone and life ‘lives on’ through robots.

It’s all very Talos Principle, quite frankly. Deeply philosophical, but this time you are actively engaging in those discussions, providing your own points of view, deciding who to trust, and what sort of imprint you want to leave on this new world as you actively begin a pilgrimage.

Most of this comes from Optional Quests that you’ll find off the beaten track. You’ll be putting your names to things, discover affecting stories that really touch you in ways you wouldn’t expect, and learn that some have expectations of you, whereas others don’t even have expectations for themselves.

Pretty soon you’ll discover TTP2 isn’t just collecting tetrominoes and passing through forcefields, you’ve got optional quests in here, opportunities to really explore and connect with a world. And these are built around some fascinating conversations that present you scenarios which make you think and maybe even ponder some things about your own life.

All of it brought together in a typical, unmistakably beautiful way. The level of detail as you traverse from one area to the next will continue to astonish you. And the little QR codes you find hidden out of plain sight can get the little grey cells working. Heck, it’s even meta enough that you can scan them and read around the subject on your phone, giving you an opportunity to pause and reflect.

And it’s all stunningly composed with music that soars and sets hairs up on end, that can blend into the background but still pepper the eardrums with soft symphonies, and even add grand, dramatic effect when necessary. This is a game that truly transports you, that makes you feel at home in its world, while at the same time leaving you feeling unsure about everything going on within it.

But let’s not forget the puzzles, because they’re very much still here, are a massive part of the game, and are as taxing and challenging as ever. The gradual evolution of mechanics as you move between chapters really ensures you keep pace with the game, but equally there is a certain level of expectation of the player here which some might find immediately offputting. Which is where that initial tutorial I mentioned comes into play.

You get a really good feel for the meat of the game in those opening moments, and a reminder of what’s to come in the content, even when the game massively switches gears and makes you feel like you’re playing Starfield or the like. I feel Croteam have harmonised this well, but having played the original and games like Portal, I knew what to expect.

And I guess that’s a good point of comparison for this sequel. It really does feel like the difference between Portal 1 and 2. This is Croteam’s Valve moment, no doubt, but there’s more than just Wheatley and GlaDoS to carry the experience, you’ve got 999 other robots to chat to, meet with, and learn from.

Plus this game is full of little surprises and really encourages that discovery. By just following the story, you’re missing so many fascinating conversations, cool easter eggs, and fun little side activities, that I really don’t want to spoil here, but I would highly encourage you to experiment with.

You don’t need to have played the original to enjoy this, though there are definitely plot links here that fans will notice immediately. Equally, as I said, this will give you a really good understanding of the kind of game you’re getting into.

There are some slight issues with the performance of the game on PC, in terms of the quality being super high standard and it leaving graphics cards struggling to keep up a little bit. Even using the NVIDIA GeForce NOW service, the game does stutter and break up on occasion, so I’d recommend tweaking your performance settings in the options a little bit.

I’d also say the end-game puzzles do feel a tad disappointing compared to some of the ones you need to work through early on, and unfortunately, when you beat the game, you can’t revisit any puzzles you missed or weren’t able to complete without having to replay the whole thing over.

Fortunately, the game does have some great replay value with multiple different endings, lots of conversation strings and, as mentioned, a lot of optional content to look through and discover.

This is a big moment for the genre. We’ve been waiting for a game like this since Portal 2, and it’s very close to being on that level, though Portal’s puzzles felt a bit more seamlessly integrated to the experience at times, where Talos 2 kind of seperates them more. It’s certainly a game of two halves, which some might find disconcerting and others feel a little confused by.

But this one has genuinely blown me away. It’s a thinking person’s game in every sense of the saying, from its taxing brain teasers, to its layered questions around morality, ambition, understanding and connection. I could spend an entire article really going deeper into some of this stuff, frankly, such is the hold this game had on me.

All I’d say is, even if you commonly don’t play games like this, The Talos Principle 2 should still be on your radar. It’s something quite special indeed.


The Talos Principle 2 is a stunningly presented sequel, with glorious visuals, breathtaking soundtrack, and a semi-open world environment you’ll want to explore every inch of. Its puzzles gradually, smartly evolve with the game and its ideas stay interesting and fresh, but it’s the compelling conversations and thought-provoking dialogue that you’ll stay for, presenting intriguing scenarios and heart-wrenching moments. Some issues around performance and end-game puzzles aside, this is an important release for the genre, a successful sequel in every sense, and a must play whether you’re a fan of the genre or not. 


+ Beautiful visual style and stunning world to explore
+ Clever evolution of ideas and mechanics over the course of the game
+ Gorgeous soundtrack
+ Thought-provoking conversations and interesting characters encourage exploration
+ Multiple endings give plenty of incentive for replayability


– Performance can struggle a bit even on high-end systems
– End-game puzzles don’t quite match some of the highs of early game

The Talos Principle 2 is out now on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 

Code Kindly Provided by Devolver for review purposes

Played on PC (Steam and NVIDIA GeForce NOW)

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