Average User Score: tbdFeb 9, 2016Dark Echo is a minimalistic exploration game. You are shrouded in darkness (or, for the second half of the game, in blinding light), and theDark Echo is a minimalistic exploration game. You are shrouded in darkness (or, for the second half of the game, in blinding light), and the only way for you to navigate through the levels is the echos of your footsteps (represented by colored lines which radiate out from where you’re standing). You have the ability to stomp your foot (making louder echoes), walk silently (to avoid alerting enemies to your presence), and throw stones (to make echoes in a remote location to lure enemies away).
The game is very simple; there are only a handful of mechanics. There are red enemies who move towards the last sound they were in range of earing, there are pits of water which slow you down and which make a lot of sound to move through, there are red areas that killed you if you moved into them, there were walls that would collapse when you made a loud sound (opening an area but also attracting enemies), and there were moving blocks which pushed you around.
Mostly, the game worked fairly decently; you are introduced to all the games’ mechanics gradually over the first half of the game, and navigate through a series of increasingly-difficult levels which force you to combine the mechanics in increasingly interesting ways.
While the game was mostly fairly solid, the moving blocks mechanic was probably the most frustrating; while it only appears in a handful of levels, the fact that the pushes are so difficult to see ahead of time is kind of frustrating. Eventually you figure out how they work (for a while, I just thought they were sloped areas that I was skidding down), but at times it felt like the game broke its own rules, such as one level where you had to navigate up little ramps that felt like they actually were sloped areas on the sides of the room.
Mostly, though, the game played very fairly, and even the frustrating levels were mostly quite short. After beating the game, you could hunt back through for treasures, or play through the “light” versions of the levels, where additional enemies were added in to make you play more carefully (as well as the layouts of some of the levels being changed to make them more difficult).
That said, the game is nothing super special; the gameplay isn’t really amazing, but it is decent enough. Ultimately, this is a sort of time-waster game – the sort of thing you’d play while chatting to someone or doing something else, sporadically playing it. It was originally a mobile game, and I suspect it is better suited to that platform simply because of its “play in short bursts” nature.
Still, it is okay, and if you’re looking for something to do between doing other things, it isn’t a bad choice, and goes to show that just because you don’t spend a whole lot on graphics doesn’t mean you can’t make a visually striking game. Just don’t expect it to be anything more than a distraction.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.8Feb 8, 2016The Deed feels more like a proof of concept than a game unto itself.
You take on the role of Arran Bruce, a bitter, cruel, mean-spiritedThe Deed feels more like a proof of concept than a game unto itself.
You take on the role of Arran Bruce, a bitter, cruel, mean-spirited young man who is angry that his father has passed him over in favor of his sister getting the inheritance.
The solution is clear – murder your sister, and pin the blame on someone else for it.
The gameplay of the game is very simple: after arriving at your house and having a brief conversation with the maid, you can walk around the house and talk to the various other persons around the house, as well as witness a few flashbacks of the past. You can also pick up two items in the house – generally speaking, a piece of evidence, and a weapon with which to do The Deed.
For that is indeed your motive here. While you go around the house, you want to talk to the various people in the house and ask them questions which might incriminate them or others later, or plant the idea in their mind that someone else might be capable of murder, or have a motive for murdering your sister. Every conversation has 2 sets of 3-4 choices.
You quickly discover that there are various tensions between members of the household, and numerous bits of incriminating evidence which you can potentially plant later on to frame someone else, or at least cast the blame away from yourself.
After you’ve picked up two items, you are seated at dinner, at which point a brief three-piece conversation ensues which allows you to further cast aspersions on other folks.
After dinner, you can go plant your evidence, and then go in and murder your sister with a weapon (or your bare hands, if you’re feeling particularly brutal), and then run away (with an amount of time dependent on how stealthy your murder method was). Depending on which evidence you planted and which weapon was used, blame might be cast in any number of directions, and you can potentially incriminate anyone in the household, make it appear to be a suicide, result in the case being unsolved, or even be arrested yourself and thrown in jail.
The police are then called in, and you have the ability to speak to the detective about the murder. He questions you about your activities, the things you witnessed around the house, and what your motives were in returning home. Eventually, someone is accused of the crime (or the case is deemed inconclusive) and the game plays one of a handful of epilogues (dependent on who ended up being found guilty, and how strong the evidence was against them), and then you’re back on the title screen, ready to play again.
The first time through, you’re likely to examine absolutely everything and spend some time plotting out how to pull off the murder successfully, but after your first playthrough what is and is not significant becomes much more obvious, and getting all the endings (and using all the murder weapons) becomes much easier as you know how to properly manipulate things towards the ending you want.
While all of this seems reasonably clever, the reality is that your first playthrough is likely to be completed in less than half an hour – possibly much less – and subsequent playthroughs are vastly faster as you know exactly what to do, where to go, and the like. The whole game is very small and tight, and frankly is pretty much the minimum size for it.
Unfortunately, while the game is reasonably clever about some of the things, it at times felt a little too straightforward; you can’t really create any sort of convoluted plot where someone is trying to frame someone else to confuse the police, it is all very straightforward. There is a reasonable number of options – and the first time through, there is a real sense of discovery – but you’re looking at 20-30 minutes of that versus an hour and a half of achievement hunting, if you want to see all the text and get all the achievements.
Ultimately, the game was at its most fun on the first playthrough, and while it was neat seeing all the ways you could go about setting things up in your favor, after a while it all becomes fairly rote. The characters are all flat and pretty two-dimensional, and there just isn’t enough space in the game for them to really breathe as people. The overall idea of playing reverse detective to mess with the police and get the desired outcome is a very clever one, but the game basically has that idea and nothing else.
Is it worth getting? The game costs basically nothing, so it is hard to knock it on price, and it is an interesting concept. That said, there isn’t really much meat here, and I’m not sure how interested most people would be in how all the pieces fit together. As such, while the idea is neat enough, the game itself just doesn’t carry much weight; it is just “this is a cool idea, isn’t it?” and… that’s it. If that's enough for you, there are worse ways to spend a couple quarters. If not, you're not missing something important… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Feb 8, 2016An hour into this game, I'm left wondering: why does this game have a metacritic score of 80? Are critics so caught up in mindless pretensionAn hour into this game, I'm left wondering: why does this game have a metacritic score of 80? Are critics so caught up in mindless pretension that they are unable to recognize that this game is garbage?
I spent an hour wandering around and solved a few puzzles, but frankly, there has been absolutely nothing whatsoever to love about this game. There's a few things you can pick up, some unclear puzzles, and frankly a lot of "well, what are you supposed to do next?"
I'm not bonding with the characters, and I feel like I've hardly made any progress in the game. What's the point of this? Why did critics call this charming?
The art is intentionally ugly and I'm just confused over what is supposed to be so great about this game. I get that there's an aesthetic to it - the ugly cute - but frankly, I'm just not seeing anything heartwarming here as the reviews promised. Just a bland point-and-click adventure game.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.5Feb 7, 2016This game looks like Shadow of the Colossus, and presents itself like Shadow of the Colossus.
It is not Shadow of the Colossus. That isThis game looks like Shadow of the Colossus, and presents itself like Shadow of the Colossus.
It is not Shadow of the Colossus.
That is not to say that this game isn’t unique; it definitely is unique.
But unique does not mean good.
The heart and soul of this game is wandering around the game world taking out titans. Each of them has their own arena, and there are 19 of them in total.
This sounds like a boss rush. But it really isn’t. The reason is that the gameplay mechanics of this game are very strange.
As a 2D game, you run around laterally. You really only have two abilities – the ability to roll and the ability to shoot your arrow. Note that is arrow, singular – you shoot ONE arrow. If you miss with it, you need to retrieve it to shoot again. This means either walking over it, or holding down the fire button to draw it back to you. Drawing back your bow to fire or summoning your arrow back both immobilize you as long as you’re doing it, and firing your arrow is not instantaneous and can be done with varying amounts of power.
Your character dies in one hit; if anything hits you, you die. The only things which don’t instantly kill you are a poison cloud (which kills you after a couple seconds) and some spores (which mess with the gameplay interface, and will kill you if you walk through too many of them). Both of these things appear in exactly one titan fight. Otherwise, if you get hit, you’re dead.
When you die, you respawn at a nearby checkpoint. Note that this is not actually in the room with the titan, and in some areas, you actually have to do a fair bit of walking to get back to the titan – not a ridiculous amount, but there are definitely a few areas where this is a bit wearing.
The main reason why this game is so weird is that the titans themselves are very weak – they are really, really, really good at killing you, but most of the titans can be killed with a single shot from your bow. This means that many of the titans, once you figure out how to beat them, can be killed in under 30 seconds – and many can actually be killed in under 10 seconds.
The problem is that you probably won’t do this the first time. You’re likely to die. A lot. I died 218 times on my way through this game. Almost all of your time spent playing this game is time spent dying.
The game, then, is basically you setting up for the perfect shot, and then executing on it successfully once to win the encounter.
Some of the titans do require a bit more doing than this – some of them require multiple shots to kill in various capacities. Ironically, most of these titans are actually easier than many of the one-shot titans simply because they tend to be less lethal, and therefore, easier to fight. One of the first titans you fight is an ooze which splits repeatedly, and it is one of the easier titans despite requiring by far the largest number of shots of any titan in the game. It is also one of the only titans which actually feels like a “boss fight”. However, most of the rest of these titans are just about executing on a short series of things, usually 2 shots, or some sequence you must do to expose the boss’s weak spot.
The net effect of all this is that, rather than feeling like you’re beating down a bunch of badass bosses, instead it feels like you’re facing off with a bunch of heavily twitch-based scenarios – almost all of the fights are not about figuring out what you need to do (this is generally obvious), but actually executing on it. The few bosses which are harder to figure out what to do against tend to be the most frustrating, as you don’t even know if you’re “doing it right” until something you try actually works.
Because so many of these fights can be over so quickly, really it is basically banging yourself against the wall that is the titan until you get your one perfect shot, at which point you win and it is off to the next one. This can make some parts of the game feel very short indeed – if you quickly kill a titan, it feels very ephemeral.
And the reality is there isn’t anything else here for you. There are the nineteen titans, and that’s it. That basically means that this is a game which fundamentally contains 19 pieces of content, and all of the gameplay is centered around beating these 19 mostly twitch-based pieces of content.
After that, you’re done with the game forever and never need to touch it again – and probably don’t want to, as the titans really don’t feel that satisfying to fight. Rather than being impressive enemies, they’re just twitch challenges. The only one that really felt all that exciting to me was the very final (secret) boss, who was pretty fun to look at and by far the most visually interesting foe in the game.
There is no real story to speak of – there are maybe three or so vague hints throughout the game, but you really have absolutely no idea whatsoever why it is you’re doing the thing you’re doing. Nor does the game make you care.
Not worth your time or money.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Feb 6, 2016A hardcore 2D platform hell game full of fake difficulty and only two hours long even at that, this game is really not worth your time.
InA hardcore 2D platform hell game full of fake difficulty and only two hours long even at that, this game is really not worth your time.
In the campaign mode, the levels are mostly very similar; the main difference tends to be what obstacles are thrown at you, and on occasion, a few alternate tasks to complete. You are subjected to drowning, platforms being blown up, the obstacles being moved around on you, rhythmically crushing walls, dragons that burst out of the wall in long parabolic arcs that you must avoid, and numerous other things. The levels themselves are very small – a single screen wide – and they loop around the edges, so you can jump from the right side of the screen to the left and vice-versa.
Your goal is to clear all thirty of these levels. If you die during them, you must start that level over again; most of the levels are very short, but even still, they are broken up into multiple (3-4) sections; the longer levels have as much as 10 sections, and can be kind of frustrating to start over. Even still, even with this artificially lengthened gameplay time, it still takes two hours to beat.
You do learn to get better at the game, which leads to the somewhat strange situation where you are likely to struggle the most with the levels more towards the middle of the game than the ones at the very end, as the difficulty only changes modestly, and there are only a very limited number of platform setups throughout the entire game.
After you beat those levels, you’re done and the game is over. You can play the arcade mode, which is more of the same but gives you coins which you can use to buy cards which give you minor bonuses periodically in the arcade mode. It is endless, and you can try to survive and get a high score, but it is pretty repetitive and not very entertaining.
There is just nothing to recommend here. The graphics are unappealing, the levels are bland, boring, and repetitive, the game is incredibly short and yet still too long for the amount of content it has…
This game is not only not worth your money, it is not worth your time.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.8Jan 17, 2016A FMV “video game”, ultimately Her Story is really nothing more than a movie with a very strange interface. This pretty much points to theA FMV “video game”, ultimately Her Story is really nothing more than a movie with a very strange interface. This pretty much points to the primary flaw in Her Story, as the actual story being told by the videos is best viewed sequentially, but the interface of the game makes it so that viewing the videos sequentially is extremely unlikely.
Hannah is the main character of Her Story, and indeed, the only one who shows up in the videos. The central conceit of the game is that Hannah was a murder suspect in 1994, and the protagonist is going through an old police database, wherein the videos are sorted by keywords in their transcripts. This sounds like a clever idea, but in practice, it doesn’t really work very well at all; beyond being very confusing, it suffers from the fact that it is entirely possible to search for the wrong keyword and end up stumbling across the game’s central twist five minutes in.
Unsurprisingly, I did exactly this by simply searching for the most innocuous of the names I had come across first (for the record, it was the name of one of Hannah’s childhood friends). This resulted in me happening across a video which spoiled the game’s central plot twist, and consequently I spent the rest of the game trying to piece together everything else in the hopes of finding another twist, and then failing to find one.
The net result of the search interface is that you are likely to watch lots of garbage scenes, with odd scenes which are really important thrown in between them. Some of the videos are nothing more than Hannah saying “no”, while others are minute-long monologues explaining crucial plot or character details.
Worst of all, if you actually watch the videos in order, they follow the standard variances of a plot; the rise and fall of action as the police officers piece things together before Hannah finally explains exactly what is going on in the final interview. As a movie, it makes sense.
But as a video game, it makes no sense at all.
It has other flaws as well – as a murder mystery game, one would think that little details would be pretty important, but as it turns out, the people who made the videos didn’t actually pay much attention to time constraints. On many occaisions, something happens – such as a character changing clothing, or taking a ponygraph – which ignores the necessary setup time, with the videos happening too close together in time. At first, I had assumed that these little mistakes was related to the plot twist, but eventually I realized it was simple laziness on the part of the game creators.
If the plot was actually viewed in order, it might be passable, though the awkward interface of the game still would make it annoying. And if parts had been locked off until you had figured some stuff out, it might have worked. But as-is, the thing is kind of a mess, and while the central idea wasn’t a bad one, the UI and erratic pacing as a result of it being made into a “game” (which it really isn’t any more than searching for stuff on YouTube is a “game”) makes it hard to really get into it properly. It is possible to spoil the entire plot of the game within five minutes, and a lot of the videos end up feeling a lot like filler, especially when viewed out of context.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Jan 16, 2016I had never played a hidden object game before - at least, not in recent times - and seeing as I already owned (and had installed) this game,I had never played a hidden object game before - at least, not in recent times - and seeing as I already owned (and had installed) this game, I figured, why not try it out?
As it turns out, this game is pretty meh. The core gameplay is, unsurprisingly, searching the environment for bits to solve puzzles with, then solving little puzzle minigames. There is no story, and while the style is decent enough, there's really very little reason to care about this game - it is pure gameplay, and the gameplay just isn't very gripping, as all it is is basically "find the objects hidden in plain sight".… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Jan 13, 2016The Marvellous Miss Take is a stylish stealth game which focuses on distraction and dealing with randomly wandering guards as its primaryThe Marvellous Miss Take is a stylish stealth game which focuses on distraction and dealing with randomly wandering guards as its primary mechanics.
The game stars the Sophia Take, an heiress whose aunt’s fortune (and more importantly, her art) is all stolen (via a forged will) by Ralph, an evil megalomaniac whose focus seems to be hoarding the art for himself rather than sharing it with THE PEOPLE. Sophia’s goal is to steal all the art back and expose Ralph for what he is.
Joining her on her quest are Harry, an older thief with a bum leg, and Daisy, a young, seemingly orphaned pickpocket who joins the team.
The game’s stealth gameplay is very simple – click to walk to a location, hold down the mouse button to run there, and use the right mouse button to throw a device (which varies by character and level) to distract or get around the guards. Ducking behind obstacles is automatic as long as you aren’t running, and the fields of view of all the guards are displayed via very simple and easy-to-understand visual displays.
The levels are all viewed from a top-down isometric perspective which is pretty heavily constrained around your character, meaning you’re exploring the level as you’re penetrating it. What makes this game unusual for a stealth game is that, contrary to most such games, the guards – both in the form of men and dogs – wander randomly through the level, meaning that you cannot rely on them to turn just the right direction or walk just the right way. This also means that waiting around can get you trapped between randomly wandering guards, so it pays to move quickly and to distract the guards to get them to go where you want them to go, either by showing yourself to them, making some noise, or by throwing a noise-making gadget.
Sophia’s goal in each level is to collect all the golden art pieces, set up on walls and pedestals, and then make it to the elevator or exit. Every level has two independent floors to it, and if you fail on the second floor, you start over at the start of that floor, not at the start of the level. On top of that primary goal, she has two secondary goals – she can break the glass around a special statue which appears once per floor, which attracts the attention of the nearest guard, or she can try and do a speed run through the level, completing it within a certain amount of time. In most of the levels, Sophia finds an item lying on a pedestal near the entrance that helps her clear the level – a noise-maker that can be thrown to distract guards, glue to stick them in place, a smoke bomb to obstruct their view, or a teleporter to skip past them.
If Sophia is spotted by the guards, she has to go hide before they catch her; if they catch her, you must start the floor over. Unfortunately, even if you are not captured, Sophia will drop her (very stylish) hat, which must be retrieved before she can complete the level.
Her two allies have slightly different gameplay. Harry always has the same item – a noise-making ball which bounces off the walls – wherever he goes, but as it is his lucky charm, he must collect it back up before completing a level. His missions take place at night in the same rooms that Miss Take’s missions take place in, but with a different setup of guards, and various barriers put in place to obstruct his route through the level. Unlike Sophia, he can’t run, but on the upside, he only has to collect three paintings per floor. His alternate goal is to make it through levels without being spotted by any guards or cameras.
Daisy has no special items at all to help her, but on the upside, she can walk right up behind guards without alerting them, and is the fastest character in the game. Like Harry, she plays in the same stages Sophia does, but with barriers up (though different ones than Harry, oftentimes), and with different guard setups. Daisy must pickpocket keys off the guards to unlock safes and retrieve deeds. The safes are alarmed, so Daisy must run away quickly after avoiding a safe to avoid getting caught. Her levels tend to be the most frustrating simply because the guards must be approached up close, and the safes always create intense situations. Like Sophia, her goal is to speed-run through every level, which is the hardest goal in the game due to the random movements of the guards, and can sometimes lead to extreme frustration.
Indeed, the game’s greatest flaw is its randomized nature. At times, the enemies will turn around and completely screw up your quickly thrown-together plan, and there are occaisions where you will simply be forced to reset a stage because guards randomly wander in through both ends of a hallway. Such events are sometimes your fault, but at other times, the random nature of the game can be quite annoying – especially when doing speed-runs as Daisy, who is pretty dependent on a good guard setup at times to complete her run in time.
The game’s other flaw is its repetitive nature.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jan 9, 2016Life is Strange is about Max Caufield, a girl who goes to the prestigious Blackwell Academy, a private high school on the Oregon Coast. Or atLife is Strange is about Max Caufield, a girl who goes to the prestigious Blackwell Academy, a private high school on the Oregon Coast. Or at least, the game claims to be set on the Oregon coast – in many respects, the game feels like it is on the opposite coast. The architecture of the academy and its racial demographics both feel much more northeastern than northwestern, and one of the first characters you are introduced to is a sassy black lady, the likes of which is rather rare in a state where the coastal counties have 0.4-0.8% black people, and even the black people who live here generally don’t speak with an AAVE-type accent. But I digress.
The game is about Max Caufield, a would-be photographer who, one day after her photography class ends, goes to the bathroom and takes a picture of a blue butterfly off in the corner. Moments later, a girl and a boy get in an argument in the bathroom over money, with the girl apparently trying to extort money from the boy. We quickly learn that the boy is psychotic, drugged-out classmate, rich kid Nathan Prescott, whose family also feels much like an East Coast establishment… and he has a gun, and, in a freakout, shoots the girl.
At which point, Max wakes up back in class, and realizes that everything is playing out exactly the same. Realizing she can save the girl, she tries to excuse herself from class, but is stopped by her professor. At this point, she realizes she can rewind time, and does so, using it to her advantage to play out conversations perfectly to suit herself after exhausting all the possibilities. She then goes to the bathroom and desperately scrambles for a way to stop the shooting, eventually using her ability to carry objects back with her through time in order to prevent it from happening.
As the game goes on, it quickly becomes a mystery – both about what happened to Rachel Amber, a friend of a friend who went missing six months before the story begins, and before Max came to the Blackwell Academy, as well as the mystery of why a bunch of freak meteorological phenomena are happening around town, including snowfall on a warm October day and large numbers of animals dying in the vicinity of the town.
The central game mechanic is Max’s ability to mess with time. This manifests itself in two ways. In the first way, she can rewind events which just happened. The most common gameplay scenario, this allows you to play out every possible branch of conversation trees, change important decisions you just made to make them play out differently, give yourself more time to solve time-intensive problems, and even steal things by taking them, then rewinding backwards in time, keeping the item on Max. The way that conversations can be manipulated by carrying back favorable information through time is very interesting, as it allows you to gain information and ask questions without having to actually deal with the consequences of actually doing so, and to make things play out in your favor by being able to talk about personal things that the other person threw in your face to show how poorly you knew them.
This is a lot of fun, and it also means that, unlike a lot of other adventure games, you can easily play out multiple variations on a scene and see which resolution you like the best. The game further plays with this by making most of the choices very morally ambiguous – is it better to keep quiet about Nathan Prescott having a gun in the bathroom, thus avoiding his ire and looking like a liar, or accusing him without evidence, thus potentially making him hate you but potentially setting up for other accusations to pile up against him later on? Do you take the blame for your friend’s pot, or let them take the blame for it themselves? Do you take a picture of a girl being bullied so as to have evidence to present later, or intervene and break up the argument?
These decisions are frequently called back to, and a number of the scenes actually make you feel bad for the characters. A lot of the decisions also come back to haunt you more as you realize that the characters that you saw as one-dimensional jerks at the start of the game actually have a more human side, and you come to feel sorry for them while recognizing their flaws.
If you like visual novel type works, this is probably closer to that than it is to a traditional video game. The plotline does not branch heavily, but your decisions are frequently referenced and mostly feel like they matter emotionally. If you don’t mind reading what amounts to a 20-hour long novel, and if the central time rewinding mechanic sounds interesting, it might be worth checking out the first episode, and then seeing if you want to buy the rest of it from there.
If, however, games like the Walking Dead bore you, you should avoid this.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jan 6, 2016Widely praised as the game of the year of 2014, The Talos Principle is a puzzle-platformer which can probably be summarized in the followingWidely praised as the game of the year of 2014, The Talos Principle is a puzzle-platformer which can probably be summarized in the following way:
The Good: It reminded me of Portal 2 in a good way.
The Bad: It was not Portal 2.
The Ugly: It kind of wanted to be Portal 2.
Its similarities to – and differences from – Portal 2 are instructive. Some of these were solid choices which helped to differentiate it, but some of its differences were failures on its part which diminished it as an experience.
However, perhaps the most salient difference is this: Portal 2 is about 8 hours long. The Talos Principle took me 26 hours to complete.
Now, you might think that this means that The Talos Principle had massively more content than Portal 2. In a strict sense, this is true; The Talos Principle has about twice as many levels as Portal 2 did, with Portal 2 clocking in at 64 in the single-player campaign and The Talos Principle clocking in at 138, more counting the Easter eggs – little (and sometimes big) things hidden in the various levels.
However, even with twice the content, that would leave The Talos Principle at only about 18 hours in length. Whence the extra 8 hours?
The answer to that is, sadly, “running around looking at walls”. And it is actually probably more than that, as the first half of the game is primarily spent on that activity, with far more time spent trying to find hidden puzzles than is spent on solving the actual puzzles themselves.
And worse still, despite taking nearly three times as long to beat, The Talos Principle doesn’t feel like it has more content than Portal 2 – indeed, in many ways, it feels like it has less, as you don’t interact with the characters as often, nor do the environments feel as varied as they did in Portal 2.
Through the course of the game, the player travels through a number of different environments themed around ancient civilizations – Greek ruins, Egyptian ruins, ruins of European churches, and even ruins of castles and forts high in snowy mountains. This contrasts sharply with the obviously technological nature of the player and of the various puzzles in the game, revealing a dichotomy between the pseudo-religious nature of Elohim, and the reality of the technological reality you inhabit. All of this contrasts sharply with the overworld hub – a place full of what look like beautiful ancient places from the inside, but which it quickly becomes clear are naught but replicas built in concrete bunkers in a snowy place from the outside. The tower dominates your view in the overworld hub, an enormously tall spire of concrete and steel that towers over all else, containing an elevator with the higher floors locked out – to begin with. Unlike everything else in the game, there is a sort of grubby reality to the tower, which hints at its true nature and purpose.
The story aspect of the game is quite good, and the whole game does a great job of invoking a feeling of profundity but also underlying desperation. You find messages left behind by various previous people, with version numbers after their names, and, if you pay close attention, you might notice a name or two from your Steam friends list. This is no coincidence – it is possible for you yourself to find paint buckets to leave behind messages to future folks who go through. Interestingly, this also hints at the nature of the world – as well as where you’re going in the end – and as you progress through the game, you unlock more and more messages you can leave behind for your buddies.
The game also has some meta aspects to it. I have seen some reviews which claim that the whole game is meta-commentary about video games, but it really isn’t. That said, it certainly contains meta-commentary about video games, and there are a lot of in-world meta explanations for the nature of the world and even why names from your Steam friends list are appearing in the world – this is not an artificial contrivance, but an actual part of the world you inhabit, and there’s a reason for it. There are also in-game Easter eggs, some of which are quite brilliant, and as you progress through the game the reason that those Easter eggs exist is again explained in-game as being an organic (if silly) part of the world.
What the game is really about is the central question of what it means to be human. The titular Talos Principle is a concept from Greek mythology – Talos being a massive automaton made of bronze, animated by ichor put in his body by Zeus (or Hephestus, depending on the myth) himself to animate him and give him life. In the end, when the ichor is drained from his body, he dies as a human would if they exsanguinated, thus proving him to be “human” in a sense. Much of the game’s philosophical conversations with Milton – and many of the documents in the computer – talk about the question of what it means to be human, and the question of whether or not the AIs they are creating – which you are one of – are “human” in a sense.… Expand