The Talos Principle is quite simply one of the story driven puzzle games you can play. It spins a cool yarn in the midst of some of the most challenging puzzles this side of Portal. Yeah, comparing it to Portal is easy enough, given how much of the game isn’t its gameplay, but actually how much of the incredibly well written story you can find on your own.
The main portion of Talos had you figuring out continually harder puzzles in order to get more and more Tetris like pieces — which I’ve come to discover are named Tetriminos — in order to use them to unlock new tools to use later on. But most importantly, they gave you access to a certain section of the game often referred to as forbidden by the booming voice of Elohim, the dude who was apparently behind everything that went on.
Road to Gehenna assumes you’ve been through all of that and have mastered all of the ins and outs of everything The Talos Principle threw at you. It doesn’t pull any punches. From the moment you boot it up, you’ll be dealt with some of the most difficult stages Croteam has managed to come up with and more.
This time, the puzzles help you free prisoners that like you, are trapped within the confines of Gehenna, an apparent haven gone awry for the escapees that were experiment subjects in The Talos Principle. These puzzles make incredible use of all the tools you picked up in the original game, expanding their properties and forcing you to go way out of the box in figuring them out.
Road to Gehenna goes through a much different route than what The Talos Principle did with its story. Practically all of what you’ll squeeze out of the game in terms of a backdrop will come via computer terminals found at the end of each of puzzle that you finish. On paper, this sounds like a cheap way of delivering a satisfying story, but in reality, it’s anything but. It works brilliantly. You’re basically thrust into an early 1990s message board with a continually updating community comprised of other robots that are completely oblivious to what’s really going on in the world of Gehenna, or so it seems at the start.
And while you’ll eventually find out your potential to practically shape and influence the fate of your metallic companions, you’ll also have to put in some work in this faux online scenario within Road to Gehenna. While not particularly complex, your interactions with the other Gehenna inhabitants eventually net you more access to the deeper recesses of their community, which in turn, help flesh out the story of the DLC. It also gives a little more insight in regards to the original’s setup, from which ‘Gehenna starts out from.
What I’m basically skating around and trying my best not to spoil is how much this DLC helps build upon what was already fantastic, the lore of The Talos Principle. While not particularly easy to comprehend from the outset, especially for someone not exactly versed in the many aspects of philosophy and the historical figures it touched upon, the original content sparked my curiosity in expanding those fields of knowledge, which for a game, is ridiculously impressive. Road to Gehenna takes a different approach by emulating and teasing human interactions by having them be completely taken apart and rebuilt by humanity’s own creations in a world that from the outset seems bereft of our presence.
It goes without saying that Road to Gehenna is a must for anyone who’s been through The Talos Principle. It works brilliantly as a sequel, both as a continuation to the original’s story and as a natural expansion to its puzzles. And for as much of a doofus as you’re bound to feel like when you get stuck in one, nothing beats the sense of satisfaction that comes after figuring them all out and reaching the next juicy story tidbit.