The Talos Principle 2: Road to Elysium Preview – Back in Puzzle Paradise

The Talos Principle 2 is not only one of my favorite games of last year, but one of my favorite games of all time. It is one of the few games that this outlet (or our sister outlet, Game Banshee) has ever given a perfect 10 out of 10. It is nothing short of a masterpiece, and I find it to be one of the genuinely most inventive, incredible games of all time. If you have not already done so, you should play it immediately. And if you need more convincing, you should check out my review of it.

In the time since the Talos Principle 2 released, developer Croteam has been hard at work on its upcoming DLC, a three-part “coda” entitled “Road to Elysium” (a name reflecting the Talos Principle 1’s “Road to Gehenna”). And, thankfully, they gave us the chance to check out a small part of Road to Elysium’s second part, Isle of the Blessed. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to play it.

I did not delay. Within a few minutes of receiving the access code, I was on a flight headed toward a Caribbean Island, where I stepped into the shoes of Yaqut, one of the characters from the base game. The one notoriously bad at solving puzzles. And, unfortunately for Yaqut (but very fortunately for me), the island I was headed to was designed in-universe by Barzai to replicate the puzzles around the Megastructure, but in a more relaxing locale.

But Yaqut is not headed to the island alone: no, he is bringing with him the entire found family from the base game. Alcatraz and Byron return, though they aren’t on speaking terms. Cornelius and Athena are back together, now that their daughter Miranda has been revived (and is dating Yaqut, as it happens). The ever-charming Melville makes her presence known, and — to round out the cast — 1k, the protagonist from the base game, has also decided to join the family trip (it has puzzles: he will be there. In fact, he already finished them all before Yaqut even arrives).

the talos principle 2 road to elysium beautiful scene
The enviornment, characters, and philosophy that made the base game so special return

And, immediately, my hesitation about an entire game section devoted to a family vacation is dispelled, and I’m reminded what made the base game great: fantastic characters, meaningful philosophy, and beautiful settings to explore. To say nothing of the puzzle. And, from what I played for the preview, this has it all.

You might think that such low stakes would make for a poor gaming experience, but you’d be wrong: the family drama and low-stakes arcs and connections that I experienced in my 2 hours with the DLC were more than enough to prove that it had the same heart and attention to story as the base game.

You might think that reducing the puzzle difficulty (to suit Yaqut’s abilities) would make for too easy of an experience, but I was still scratching my head at the puzzles on offer, and they took me a healthy amount of time to figure out.

And you might think that a single island to explore, with a monument in the center, would be too similar to the base game, but it was not: the island is as lovingly crafted as the environments in the base game, and Barzai’s influence is distinct from Athena’s enough that it felt fresh and new.

the talos principle 2 road to elysium puzzles
The puzzles in Isle of the Blessed were not too challenging, nor too easy. The other DLC sections are meant to be harder, but this one is perfect for a comfortable island getaway.

All this to say: the developers at Croteam appear to have done it again, at least for the Isle of the Blessed portion of the DLC. The puzzle-solving is top-notch, the philosophy of the original is expanded in a new (suitably hopeful) direction, and it is so good to see the characters I loved so much from the base game again (and to get a definitive, canon ending for the base game).

Everything I saw during my preview has me excited to dive back into the robot-filled world of the Talos Principle, and to explore it all the deeper. And the other parts of this coda DLC have me excited as well, given the quality on display on the Isles. I haven’t played yet, but the Orpheus Ascending section of the DLC promises a return to the Talos Principle 1’s Egyptian-infused designs and seems to tell a self-contained short story, breaking new ground for the franchise. And the final part of the DLC, Into the Abyss, will finally reveal what Byron went through as he was trapped within the Megastructure, a question I’ve been dying to answer since playing the base game.

Needless to say, after seeing what Croteam was able to cook up in just one-third of an island vacation adventure, and loving every second of it, I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the other two-thirds of that and the other two sections of the upcoming Road to Elysium DLC.

If you played the Talos Principle 2, you already know how good it is. And, I’m happy to report, Road to Elysium looks to continue that stellar trajectory.

Talos Principle 2’s Road to Elysium DLC will release on June 14th on all platforms Talos Principle 2 is available on. We cannot wait to play it.

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Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he'll try. When he isn't working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.

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