The Talos Principle 2: Road to Elysium DLC - PC (Steam) Review

The Talos Principle 2: Road to Elysium by developer Croteam and publisher Devolver DigitalPC (Steam) review written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

In a surprise twist of events, Devolver Digital announced The Talos Principle 2: Road to Elysium DLC on June 7th, and the moment we found out about it, we just HAD to have it. The DLC expands upon the story and the puzzles used in the base game. Not only do we get an in-depth look at some of the characters from the base game that 1K is introduced to, but the puzzles are more challenging than before. As we were told prior to the release of Road to Elysium, there would be three separate areas to travel in order to complete various puzzles like we did in the simulations before. And the reason there are separate areas is because we get to learn about more than one of the characters through someone else's eyes. Overall, the journey through the DLC is nothing short of amazing. Let's take a look at why that is.

General Thoughts

The way the initial menu is designed with The Talos Principle 2, Orpheus Ascending, Isle of the Blessed, and Into the Abyss struck me. But each one follows a different character, so it makes perfect sense. As such, each location has its own independent save file so that you can change areas if you get stuck. That said, if you are going to change locations, be careful, because each area has its own independent story and difficulty level. 

Orpheus Ascending is different from what I expected because unlike the base game where we learn about the civilization of robot humans through 1K, this time we are tasked with going into a simulation to fix a friend - Sarabhai's - broken mind. If I'm honest, I was the least invested in this particular story for a couple reasons. For one thing, it felt out of the blue because we were trying to save Sarabhai, but he was unknown to us in the base game. Secondly, I was also not thrilled for the first batch of puzzles, which I'll talk about in the next section. It wasn't that the idea behind this area was bad or anything, it simply felt out of place in comparison to the other two DLC areas because what we received were a bunch of puzzles that revolved around one specific mechanic. It didn't provide the same challenge, nor did it seem to fit the pacing of the stories being told. I simply didn't connect with this part of the game like I did with others. 

Upon loading the Isle of the Blessed, I was met with a nice cutscene with several of the characters from the base game. Up until this point, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't see any of them again. Out of the three locations, Isle of the Blessed is, by far, my favorite in terms of storytelling, puzzles to solve, secrets to discover, and general traversal of the area. It is also set in the present day where the other two areas are not. Anyways, in this area, you follow the story of Yaqut and Miranda who have now been dating for a while. After 1K was able to solve all kinds of puzzles in the base game, Yaqut decides to try his hand at them while on the beautiful Caribbean Isles at an art resort put on by a guy named Barzai. And it is here where the real meat of the game lies with a jaw dropping 30 levels (24 main ones, 3 bonus puzzles, and 3 golden puzzles). Despite the relative ease of the base game, the DLC cranks up the difficulty in a way that is steady and rewarding.  

Other reasons to love the area is the presence of staples found in the original game. For one thing, the computer terminals make an appearance, adding to the history of this society. Although, there is no snake to defeat or anything, there are some great nods to the first and second games with familiar names like Doge and Purple! Another throwback to the first game is the presence of the QR codes. Most of them spout quotes by important persons. There is at least one that seems like gibberish, but can be run through a hex to text site revealing the hidden message. Like with Talos 2's base game, there are hint sparks that can be used when you get stuck on a puzzle and while you hunt for these, you can find some memories and cute Easter eggs. Go find the crabs. Trust me.  

The final area Into the Abyss is the most evil location in the whole game. When I said the developers cranked up the difficulty, I wasn't joking. My brain has already exploded trying to solve any of these puzzles. You might be asking why, but that's because when you step Into the Abyss, you are put in the shoes of Byron on *that fateful day* in The Talos Principle 2. Not only was it challenging to solve any of the puzzles, but it was difficult to confront the demons and anger of Athena. Yes. Even in this trippy zone you will find a variety of memories that were often rage filled and raw. It's quite a step off the previous train.  


Let's talk about the puzzles in the Road to Elysium. The first area introduces us to the concept of beam breaking. It's a bit of a difficult concept to explain, but I think fundamentally the easiest way to define beam breaking is to intensify one color over the other. You do this so that the correct color connects to the correct receptacle by interrupting the color you don't want. I know, that may seem like a weird concept, but it's an integral idea to understand for use in future puzzles. And because Orpheus Rising focusses so heavily on teaching this one concept, I found these puzzles to be the least enjoyable to solve. Once I was able to complete the puzzles in this area, I felt relief going into the next one because it had a lot more substance.

In Isle of the Blessed, there are more puzzles to solve that use other tools we've been introduced to before like the RGB Converter, for example. The area is separated into three sections, red, blue, and green which can be completed in any order you desire. Unlike the base game where many of the puzzles were on the simpler side, these puzzles use your knowledge of various tools to pass each one. Your goal is to get to the Hexahedron, and those puzzles were something else entirely. 

The Hexahedron

After activating all three zones, the beams unlock the door to get onto the Hexahedron, and it is much bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. Like the Megastructure in the base game, this place has some rather intriguing puzzles to solve. Most of them were not overly difficult to grasp, and often they revolved around looking carefully at the design of the puzzle. The size is meant to obfuscate some of the key elements, but it is quite simple to complete. Just make sure not to accidentally drop a connector off the structure while upside down. Thank goodness for checkpoints is all I have to say about that. In the end, it didn't take me as long to finish the Hexahedron as some of the puzzle did to get onto the structure, but I felt elated with the end.

Into the Abyss is an area which I don't have a ton to say. It's hard as heck. Why do I say that? Because I haven't finished a single one of these puzzles yet. I have wandered around the area a little and I've interacted with a couple of memories and a computer terminal. While I thought these would serve as a nice distraction for the difficulty increase, the memories that I found were brutal (more on that later). Now, I've attempted to solve a couple of these puzzles, but for some reason I have struggled more than I thought I would. Like previous challenging areas, I assumed I would be successful at a couple of them, but that is not the case. Yet. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the challenge, but these puzzles are going to take some time to get through. This place will not take me down! *Ahem* Anyways, let it never be said that Croteam can't deliver devious trials for any die hard puzzle fan. Take that for what you will.


Road to Elysium tells the story of several different characters. It begins in Orpheus Ascending where you are sent to put Sarabhai back together as he struggles with the concept of love. You are playing as 1K during this journey to the past, and while the story was touching, I didn't resonate with it as much as I did with the other two parts of the DLC. Sarabhai is not a character I recognize and I wasn't certain what to expect at this point. Although, we are reminded of what happened to New Alexandria which is only mentioned by Alcatraz a couple of times in the base game. I didn't dislike my experience with this particular story, but I felt ambivalent about it. Sure, it was nice to reunite two people in love, but there wasn't a strong enough connection for me to feel anything other than conflicted.

It should be noted that Isle of the Blessed isn't just my favorite area in terms of the puzzles to solve, but because of the story's throughline. Yaqut is the character that you play this time around and he has decided to try to prove himself to Miranda by solving puzzles like 1K. Through your time in the Isle of the Blessed, Miranda reassures you that you are special whether you can solve puzzles or not. You get to solve a conflict between a couple of characters and you get a pleasant ending when you finally beat the Hexahedron puzzle. The blooming love between these two characters is beautiful and touching. And at the same time, you get to sit down with other characters and ask them how they feel about the expedition and about other people. Once again Melville made me laugh at multiple points when speaking to her. Even though the main story revolves around Yaqut and Miranda's relationship, the other characters still had some agency and personality. And there are threads of other stories to unfold in the future in what I hope will be another DLC or whole game. Overall, the Isle of the Blessed made me happier than a crab. 

Into the Abyss is the last area and it has a tumultuous and difficult tale to tell. From the purview of Byron, you go back in time to the moment that surprised us all in the base game. He has to deal with a lot of demons in the Abyss. It turns out while 1K was trying to figure out how to save Byron from his predicament, Byron had his own trial to pass. The narrative in this area is much more brutal, not just in terms of the puzzle difficulty, but in terms of the heavy feelings that Athena harbored. Byron was able to see/hear/experience the anger and anxieties that Athena had about herself being the founder and learned why she left New Jerusalem in the first place. What a story.

Concluding Thoughts

I always find it difficult to evaluate DLC content for a game because it is hard to find how much content is worth the cost. And Road to Elysium is well worth the price in my books. There is a ton of story that builds from the base game and from the principles of the first game, along with some of those philosophical questions I love. This DLC has at least 18 hours worth of mind melting and heartwarming content. All of our favorite characters are present like Melville, Athena, Cornelius, and Alcatraz. I found that I connected with all of them more than before. Plus, the developers did us all a favor by deleting the bombs out of their computer systems. Thanks for that.

In short, The Talos Principle 2: Road to Elysium is a spectacular experience with so much to offer. We contemplate large philosophical questions, solve wild puzzles, and confront tough issues. It is a game best enjoyed by puzzle lovers and we need more of these. And more cute crabs scenes. Yep. That's what I said.  

Score: 9 out of 10

Article by: Susan N.


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