IN A year of games receiving massive amounts of hype but largely failing to deliver, it is very refreshing to find a game which, with little fanfare, has turned out to be one of the best games released in 2014.
The Talos Principle starts with you waking up, squinting into the sun in a strange land, with a strange voice telling you to go forth and begin collecting sigils for him. You do this by solving puzzles, using an increasing array of tools unlocked by completing the puzzles.
The gameplay will draw many comparisons to Portal, in that the game is played in first person and you solve a puzzle in a closed area then move on to the next. However, where Portal only really gave you one puzzle-solving system to work with (the portals), The Talos Principle gives you multiple which you will need to combine.
The beauty of the puzzles is that they make you learn, apply what you have learnt, then learn techniques on top of that. The thinking and planning that goes into the puzzles gives a massive sense of achievement when you solve them.
There are puzzles that I solved within seconds, some I battled with for hours, decided I needed a break, came back and solved within minutes - and others that just took me hours.
Gameplay aside, there is also a fascinating narrative that has explained philosophical concepts to me better than anyone before (but I don't want to give any of the plot away as the discovery is part of the enjoyment).
Apart from the voice of Elohim (or God) and what he tells you, you could completely miss out on the plot of the game if you ignored the computer terminals at the start of each area (for the love of Elohim don't do that).
However, this really does sum up the appeal of the story within this game. Unlike blockbuster AAA games you aren't shown story as a passive observer.
Save for the ending(s) there are no cut-scenes in this game, all of the plot progression is done by you exploring, investigating and interacting.
What Croteam has done here is create a beautiful world, filled it with fun and challenging puzzles, and then on top of that added a fascinating story with its exploration of the human condition. How telling it is that a small developer has achieved so much when many AAA titles fail to achieve more than one of those things.
With PS4 and Android versions of the game due out early this year I would recommend anyone that can, to play this game. It's a really pleasant surprise to start 2015 with.