Gaming: The Talos Principle – Road to Gehenna
After finishing the Talos Principle I immediately started to play the extension Road to Gehenna, but was derailed near completion by the incredible Portal Stories: Mel. Now that I finally managed to escape from the test chambers my attention returned to the Road to Gehenna. As with the pair Portal 2 and Portal Stories: Mel, the challenges are going up considerably from the original Talos Principle to the Road to Gehenna. Checking the hours of game play it took me about 24h through all the riddles in Road to Gehenna, but I have to admit, I had some riddles where I needed to cheat.
The Road to Gehenna does not bring much new game play elements, but loads of new riddles. And the best of all, playable on Linux! And as with the original game, the graphics are really well done, while still be playable on my Vaio Pro laptop with Intel integrated graphic card – a plus that is rare in the world of computer games where everyone is expected to have a high-end nVidia or Radeon card. Ok, there is not much action going on where quick graphic computations are necessary, still the impression of the game is great.
The riddles contain the well known elements (connectors, boxes, jammer, etc), but the settings are often spectacular, sometimes very small and narrow, just a few moves if done in the right order, sometimes like wide open fields with lots of space to explore. Transportation between various islands suspended in the air is with vents, giving you a lot of nice flight time!
If one searches a lot, or uses a bit of cheating, one can find good old friends from the Portal series, burried in the sand in one of the world. This is not the only easter egg hidden in the game, there are actually a lot, some of which I have not seen but only read about afterwards. Guess I need to replay the whole game.
Coming back to the riddles, I really believe that the makers have been ingenious in using the few items at hand to create challenging and surprising riddles. As it is so often, many of the riddles look completely impossible at first glance, and often even after staring at them for tens and tens of minutes. Until (and if) one has the the a-ha effect and understands the trick. This often still needs a lot of handwork and trial-error rounds, but all in all the game is well balanced. What is a bit a pain – similar to the original game – are collecting the stars to reach the hidden world and free the admin. There the developers overdid it in my opinion, with some rather absurd and complicated stars.
The end of the game, ascension of the messengers, is rather unspectacular. A short discussion on who remains and then a big closing scene with the messenger being beamed up a la Starship Enterprise, and a closing black screen. But well, the fun was with the riddles.
All in all an extension that is well worth the investment if one enjoyed the original Talos, and is looking for rather challenging riddles. Now that I have finished all the Portal and Talos titles, I am hard thinking of what is next … looking into Braid …