The Talos Principle 2 - PC (Steam) Review

The Talos Principle 2
 by developer Croteam and publisher Devolver Digital
PC preview written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Puzzle lovers eat your heart out in this first-person philosophical trip that greatly expands on the concepts from The Talos Principle 1. As a follow-up game, Croteam created an unforgettable experience through the many varied puzzles, the sprawling human world, and the mind melting questions that are posed throughout the game. Not only have the developers hit a home run with this title, but they knocked the ball cleanly out of the court.


The Talos Principle 2 follows the events of the first title and Road to Gehenna, DLC content added a couple years later which is referenced in this one. Again, we are met with ELOHIM talking to us about being ready for the new world - a civilization of robots who call themselves humans. We are the thousandth robot to be ‘born’ and after a brief reminder of the tools we’re familiar with, we learn that humanity has wiped itself out due to a deadly virus, but not before creating a civilization of robots who have functional positronic brains.

The idea of a positronic brain is not a new concept as it was first coined by Isaac Asimov (who also came up with the three laws of robotics). Humans were successful in creating a sentient AI from their own ideas about evolution, personalities, and desires. Through various interactions with the humans in this civilization, we are confronted with philosophical questions which is the driving point of the story. While The Talos Principle 2 is a puzzle game, it is also a thought-provoking journey of discovery. It does this without using the computer terminals like the first game. (As a slight aside, I found my interactions with the snake in the first game to be more compelling than the puzzles themselves. I craved the philosophical conversations, truth be told, and this is exactly what I have received with The Talos Principle 2.)


While you could break down The Talos Principle 2 down its core of solving puzzles, there are multiple types to tackle. The most basic type of puzzle is found within arenas in the twelve unique areas. While the solutions may be simple at times, the complexity ramps up as you get further along. The sections where you use jammers, transmitters, and RGB converters, are the easiest puzzles because all of them can be solved through logical thinking. There are greater questions to answer, though.

What is cool about the challenges in The Talos Principle 2 is that the difficulty of each area is progressive, meaning that you will not become truly stuck. You will need to complete eight puzzles to open the gate, but there aren’t only eight puzzles to solve. There are two bonus puzzles in each zone that can give you the total to move on - a point that is appreciated. Another great aspect of the puzzles in this game is that there are new tools to use, making the game more challenging. For instance, one item is called the accumulator and it absorbs light into itself, instead of simply being a pass-through. Having more tools at your disposal really makes the game more engrossing.

There are, however, other types of puzzles which can’t be solved in the sense that there isn't simply one 'right' answer. These types of puzzles have multiple solutions because they rely on your choices. Perhaps calling these puzzles is unfair as a lot of the questions posed are wholly dependent on your own moral compass. Instead of being asked these questions through a computer terminal, these ones are presented through dialogue with other characters.

The ultimate mystery to solve is why were you created? Do you think your civilization should strive for more now that the Goal has been completed? Regardless of what you personally think, there are some mysteries that can never truly be solved. Ultimately, that is the beauty of The Talos Principle.  


The Talos Principle 2 has a number of characters that form an epic civilization. Many of them have just enough personality to convey the idea that these characters are ‘real’. However, there are four characters that you join on the expedition to a mysterious island. Those characters are Melville, Yaqut, Alcatraz, and Byron. Each one of them has different ideas about existence and they have their own personalities. All four of the characters are different and I enjoy each of them. They make you think about different perspectives on progress and life in general. 


The first character you encounter is when you are riding up the elevator after your birthday celebration is abruptly interrupted. Melville says, “I see you up there 1k. I’ll get that sorted out in a jiffy,” after the elevator breaks down. She then questions the language libraries that were used in the robot’s creation. In fact, Melville has become one of my favorite characters because of her sense of humor. I laughed at many points because of some of the things she says. 

Something to mention about Melville is that she is voiced by Rachel Atkins who is known for her work in popular game titles like Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, Atomic Heart, and Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. If you’ve played Baldur’s Gate 3, you would recognize her voice in Lady Esther, Mig, and Seawind Flan Hawser! Having her as one of several talented voice actors to the game is a fantastic addition. I love the dry wit Rachel brings to the character.


Often referred to as the killjoy of the group, Alcatraz is an interesting character. He questions whether their penchant to progress society beyond the original Goal is good. Like many people, he doesn’t necessarily fear progress but is understandably cautious. Essentially, Alcatraz is the voice of reason in the game. I personally appreciate the fact that he has concerns for some of the other members on the expedition, and that adds to the realism of this character. He doesn't fear progress, but he fears making the same mistakes that humans did. Which is funny in itself.

Voiced by Ian Porter who is known for his roles in the movie Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as well as the TV show FBI: International, he has contributed to several video games like Atomic Heart and King’s Bounty II. I think the voice actor embodied Alcatraz quite well and love that he could bring an aspect of reasonable thought to the events of the game.   


Yaqut is a fun character who questions life. He is the youngest of the expedition members and doesn’t know his place in the world. The dialogue options with his character are full of curiosity and wonder. It’s something that I like about Yaqut, which is that he isn’t tainted by cynicism or negativity about life. While he is willing to go along with Byron to achieve more, he also understands that wisdom is not to be taken for granted. The poor guy hasn't made up his mind quite yet, which is something we can all relate to.

While the other two voice actors only have credits on the big screen, Adam Green is a one man powerhouse. He is a director, writer, actor, and producer. Of the many positions that he has fulfilled, Adam Green is a prominent celebrity in the horror genre. He has directed a number of shorts like The Intervention, A Holliston Halloween, and Don’t Do It! Strangely, the voice actor has so much talent that he can voice a young naive robot looking for his place. I never would have thought a person in the horror genre could knock our socks off, but here we are.


Of all the characters on the expedition, Byron is the one that gets a lot of flack. At first, many people in New Jerusalem didn’t like Byron’s drive to progress their society. He embodies a leadership role quite well and that is evident because some people love him while others hate him. It isn’t until later in the game that something happens to him, and you get to see the impact it has on robot society. People's beliefs about Byron is far reaching and quite remarkable - for reasons that players can learn on their own. His character is full of ambition and a deep love of his mentor Athena which drives him to find out what happened. And the more time I spent talking with him, the more I found myself liking him.

Of all the voice actors in the cast list for Talos Principle 2, Byron (for me) is the most well known. Peter Wingfield has been in the Highlander, X2: X-Men United, Charmed, Smallville, Andromeda, Stargate SG-1, and The Outer Limits. He’s been a prolific actor on TV since the 90s and has been in a number of shows that I have watched over the years. Prior to knowing that Byron is voiced by Peter, I liked the character. After gaining this knowledge, I find myself liking the character even more. 

Graphics and Audio

One of the first things that I noticed about The Talos Principle 2 is the upgraded graphics. Since there is a good amount of open area to explore, we can see how breathtaking the scenery is. Each location is unique and varies between a lush green sprawling landscape to pretty mountainous icy zone to flooded swamplands. 

More than that, graphically the tools used to solve puzzles are vastly updated from the first game. Not only are there easily defined improvements in the graphics, the Talos Principle 2 was showcased in Unreal Engine 5. This means that the team decided to move away from the engine that created the Serious Sam games - which has plenty of easter eggs in the first game, and much less nods to them in this title. 

Beyond the scenery, another aspect of the graphics that is brilliantly done are the robot movements themselves. Regardless of the interesting choice of the neck's design, the robots are realistically animated. This gives them the look and feel of being as close to human as possible. In fact, there is very little that I dislike graphically about The Talos Principle 2 with exception of the memories. I personally found that the distortion can be a bit much, but otherwise the game is absolutely stunning. 

I can’t get away with writing a review without talking about the masterful soundtrack either. Damjan Mravunac is a musician who has been in the gaming industry for a long time. He has composed music for games, commercials, and even cartoons! Notably, he is behind the music of the Serious Sam franchise, but has composed pieces for several Croteam games. In my opinion, all of the music in The Talos Principle 2 is captivating and is the perfect backdrop for puzzle solving. While it doesn't hold a candle to Baba Yetu from Civilization IV, the music is fantastic. It might not be as memorable, though.

Final Thoughts

The Talos Principle 2 is by far one of my favorite games this year. Not only have I discovered a quote from William Blake, a poet who I like reading, but the game has a nice cat tribute area in New Jerusalem. What's great about this is that I've come to understand that the photos belong to the employees and staff at Croteam, which is a nice touch in my opinion. 

I especially like that The Talos Principle 2 does not have any bombs like in the first one. At times, that detracted from the puzzle solving and I’m pleased that they aren’t present here. Focusing on new tools like the RGB converters is a much more innovative way to create challenges for players, and I love it. I also enjoy the communication method between the expedition characters. As robots, they can record and stream their visual feed to each other and they can discuss their next steps accordingly.

The story throughline is much better laid out in this game than in the first game. While puzzles felt disjointed and non-sensical at times, The Talos Principle 2 has done a much better job at making people think about their world views through the lens of a robot. It doesn't feel hollow and segmented here, it feels more coherent and logical, which is a testament to the developers brilliance. Any time I opened up the game, the hours melted away faster than I knew it was happening. With all of the added tools, quality of life changes, intriguing storyline, and better pacing, The Talos Principle 2 may very well be my game of the year because it's getting a perfect 10 out of 10!

Score: 10 out of 10

Article by: Susan N.