With The Talos Principle, Serious Sam developers, Croteam, ditched the mindless (but fun) violence of their previous endeavours. Instead we have a philosophical game that ponders about sentient A.I. and features some neat puzzles.
Despite being a few years old now, fans of The Talos Principle have been crying out for a virtual reality version of the game. Having been teased by Croteam and their Serious Sam VR releases, it was only a matter of time until we where given the opportunity to return to The Talos Principle in VR.
And that time is now. HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality equipped PC owners can now fully immerse themselves into the VR version of this award-winning puzzle game.
The Talos Principle VR is identical to the flat version but, as an added bonus, this new release includes the Road to Gehenna expansion.
Players take on the role of an un-named android charged with completing a serious of puzzles under the guidance of a god-like disembodied voice that calls itself Elohim. The open 3D world is restricted by barriers with empty slots for Tetris-style shapes that form keys.
In order to progress, these key pieces need be picked up from the centre of a series of puzzle. By relocating prism-topped tripods players can manipulate light beams to lower forcefields, knockout motion-sensing machine games, stop exploding drones and unlock gates.
At any one time there are a number of puzzles available, allowing players to leave a puzzle for later and try another.
The puzzles are set amongst the backdrop of what could be the ruins of human society. Reading optional information available on terminals players can read the personal accounts of the people that witnessed the end of humanity.
As you progress through the puzzles you open up new areas moving from lush vegetation, to desert and onto stone ruins. At the centre of the game world is a tower. Elohim forbids you from climbing it. But, of course, you are going to do exactly that.
The game offers up a very poignant question of what it is to be alive. The story is one that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished the game.
In 2D The Talos Principle is a masterpiece of story-telling and puzzle gameplay. In VR you become that android A.I. exploring Elohim’s world first hand.
The VR game looks every bit as beautiful as it’s flatter brethren. The game gives players the choice of using DirectX or the more efficient Vulkan API. You are going to need a beast of a machine to run the game with the graphics turned up, so I’d suggest selecting the Vulkan graphics option.
The game can use supersampling to sharpen the visuals, but even with a i7 7700K and a GTX1080ti GPU you are not going to get much over x2 without some serious nausea-inducing juddering. Various locomotion methods are offered, with the smooth movement only recommended for players that are well and truly over their VR sickness.
The Talos Principle VR is a great use of virtual reality that really fits the story being told. It’s also a relatively mellow, though-provoking experience, rather than some twitchy affair that need lots of arm-waving. You are unlikely to push you fist though the wall, or you monitor as use casually make your way through Elohim’s trials.
If you have the rig and the VR kit to play it, I’d recommend The Talos Principle VR in a heartbeat.