videogames
 
 




The Wire Troll: Norman Powell Taking Toronto By Storm
Mike Alonso Left a Major League Legacy at Upland

Video Game Review: The Talos Principle

December 14, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
The Talos Principle
Something tells us we should avoid those red beamy things.

If you’ve noticed The Talos Principle on your PS4 store with covert art of a robot holding a kitten and wondered what exactly that’s about, don’t look it up — the story is too rich to give away. Just know that it’s a puzzle/adventure game built for fans of Portal, albeit one with a more philosophical sci-fi bent.

CONTROLS (4/5)

Much of The Talos Principle involves wandering around walled environments, which means its first-person navigation is rudimentary at best. It actually feels a little loose and imprecise, though puzzles only require a small amount of timing challenges, so this hardly ever hinders gameplay (L2 is used to run, which helps when you need speed).

Puzzles are solved by moving world objects around, and that’s handled by simply grabbing them using the targeting reticule and applying it with the same reticule.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4/5)

Most of the art style for The Talos Principle involves stark landscapes. It’s well rendered and there’s obvious care in the details of this Myst-like environment, but it’s also clear why this was released on various operating systems (including Android) before reaching the modern console generation on PS4. Lighting is its most impressive aspect, from the way the sunlight interacts with the buildings and trees to the way the outside light comes in windows.

The general vibe you’ll get from the visuals is Myst meets I, Robot. In fact, the robot units are the most detailed of any renders, though you won’t see them that much. As the world you work in is a simulation, you’ll also see purposeful glitches appear from time to time, which helps mask the occasional controller lag or clipping that occurs.

GAMEPLAY (4.5/5)

Like Portal, puzzles arrive in areas, though The Talos Principle presents them as more sectioned and organized. Each puzzle awards you a sigil, which looks like a Tetris piece. Gather enough of these and you can unlock another group of puzzles in a new area, each of which represents a simulated environment from human history.

You’ll need to get through some real mindbenders, which ramp up in difficulty quite quickly. Like Portal, many of these puzzles start with you assessing your environmental options and current abilities, with the solution stemming from a combination of lateral thinking, combining abilities and timing.

Abilities accrue over time, starting out by simple on/off jamming of various devices to further elements involving viewing recordings of yourself and manipulating light. This builds gradually. some of which are simply to unlock a mechanic, and some require a lot of lateral thinking in order to combine mechanics into a single solution — similar to the way some Portal 2 puzzles combined absolutely everything you’d learned along the way into one mega-puzzle.

The less said about the story, the better. The only thing we’ll really divulge is that things are not necessarily what they seem, and it’s probably the closest a game story has come to classic hard science fiction in a while. Much of this is done through computer terminal access, a la Fallout. If you know rudimentary DOS or Linux commands, you’ll find some of the interface to be familiar.

While the story does not necessarily drive the puzzles, it provides a level of context and intrigue for the gameplay, melding the smart design into a gripping narrative. The result is one of the most engrossing games in the adventure/puzzle genre in years.

Note that the PS4’s Deluxe Edition comes with the Road to Gehenna DLC, which acts as a bit of side story/prequel to the main game. This should only be played after completing the main story line.

OVERALL (4.5/5)

Combining a brilliant slow burn of a story with fun head-scratching puzzles, The Talos Principle is a unique experience not to be missed for fans of adventure games, head-scratching puzzles, or both.

Share
Feed Burner eMail Get RotoRob by Email: Enter your email below to receive daily updates direct to your inbox. Only a pink taco wouldn’t subscribe.
PostShadow

Video Game Review: Fallout 4

November 17, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
The core Fallout experience is roughly the same, it just looks better and is more refined. You’ll explore the wasteland, embark on a personal quest while picking up dozens of side quests, run into things both humorous and heart-wrenching and shoot a lot of stuff.
Share
more
Feed Burner eMail Get RotoRob by Email: Enter your email below to receive daily updates direct to your inbox. Only a pink taco wouldn’t subscribe.
PostShadow

Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

November 7, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
This year, Ubisoft has stripped away the multiplayer component and focused on a single-player experience that actually works out of the box. We suppose that says something about how much damage Unity did to series expectations, but the good news is that outside of the occasional strange hiccup, Syndicate is largely bug free.
Share
more
Feed Burner eMail Get RotoRob by Email: Enter your email below to receive daily updates direct to your inbox. Only a pink taco wouldn’t subscribe.
PostShadow

Video Game Review: Life is Strange, Episode 5

October 28, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Episode 5: Polarized immediately starts from the previous episode’s cliffhanger, which took the series into much darker territory than the earlier episodes, and Polarized dips into the survival-horror genre in the same way that previous installments lifted elements from other genres.
Share
more
Feed Burner eMail Get RotoRob by Email: Enter your email below to receive daily updates direct to your inbox. Only a pink taco wouldn’t subscribe.
PostShadow

Video Game Review: NHL ‘16

September 20, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Many considered last year’s PS4/Xbox One release of NHL ‘15 to be a bit of an empty shell. While PS3/Xbox 360 players were treated to the usual complement of features, the next-gen platforms were given essentially a single-player tech demo.
Share
more
Feed Burner eMail Get RotoRob by Email: Enter your email below to receive daily updates direct to your inbox. Only a pink taco wouldn’t subscribe.
PostShadow