> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
Hello… | Log in or sign up
The Talos Principle is Curing My Fiction Funk (Part One)

The Talos Principle is Curing My Fiction Funk (Part One)

That’s right, I’m in a funk. A right ol’ fiction funk. Which is to say that I’ve gone off made-up narratives lately. And by “lately”, I mean “the last three or four years”. If somebody recommends a five-season, mind-blowing TV show — “the pinnacle of storytelling”, “onscreen chemistry the likes of which we’ve never before seen”, “a script to put Willy Shakes to shame” — but it’s fictional? Meh, I’ll stick it on the list of things to pretend I’ll watch one day. Oh, but there’s a poorly produced true crime documentary with a muffled and weirdly intonated narrator who might really be an alien trying to pass as human? I’m already watching it. I’ll fall asleep to it and joyfully play it from the start again over breakfast.

The Talos Principle Monitor

Of course, this applies to videogames as well. I’ve been trying to figure out if this disinterest is just a preference that’s developed with age or whether I’ve become disillusioned with the quality of writing that does the rounds these days. If it’s the latter, is it just that I’m getting more cynical, or has there objectively been a decline in the stories we tell and the way we tell them? I hope you’re not expecting an answer to that, by the way, because I’m far too dense to figure it out. What I will say, though, is that I’m squinting accusingly at that beloved medium that brings us all to this website right now — the one with all the lovely pixels and polygons that might just be covering for a blatant, crippling weakness.

I’ve always been generally unimpressed by the storytelling in games, with some obvious exceptions to prove the rule, but the first time I remember being genuinely annoyed by it was while sinking tens upon tens of hours into FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. I might ruffle some feathers with this, but I found the story in that game to be mighty underwhelming. I’m sorry! I love a good Miqo’te as much as you do, I swear, but that story. Jeepers. 

Final Fantasy XIV Gardening

I understand that this is quite subjective, and we could argue about it all day, but to me, it all felt a bit arbitrary. I couldn’t get invested in any of the characters or plotlines. It’s a shame, too, because the actual dialogue is beautifully written, and that’s not subjective. It’s just the narrative underpinning those lovely interactions that fall painfully short. Probably mad friggin’ relevant at this point is to ask whether that narrative was doomed from the get-go, expected as it was to support a pretty outrageous amount of playtime. Exactly how crippled was the story by the hundreds of fetch quests that are supposedly crucial to its progression? No wonder the whole thing feels a tad shallow when it’s stretched mercilessly, not across many hours of your life but all the hours Square Enix can possibly wring out of you.

I’m getting dangerously Jimquisition about this, but the point is, I’ve yet to confidently pin down the cause of what seems to me to be a sharp decline in interesting fiction outside of good old-fashioned novels these days. And yet, whatever it is, The Talos Principle is restoring my faith. How I missed this absolute diamond for 10 years is beyond me, but I sure as hell need a slap for it. I am into it. Here’s a game that has a solid premise, a clear vision, and just knows how to engage you. I would be worried about speaking too soon, being only four hours in so far, but I’ll dare to put my newfound faith in those “Overwhelmingly Positive” reviews for now.

The Taloe Principle Note

So here’s what I’m going to do: as I make my way through the puzzly, plotty goodness, I’ll attempt to figure out exactly what it is that The Talos Principle does so well. Why, how, and what bit of me it grabs so hard, to what extent the gameplay bolsters all that tantalising fiction, and how transferable these ideas are to other genres and mediums. Let’s hope it does actually stay good from this point on, eh?

I’ve prattled on too long to get the magnifying glass out now, so in the next article, I’ll have a little looksie at the opening few hours of the game, do some postulation and ponderation, and probably gush intolerably. And if that’s not your thing, maybe I’ll make some more controversial statements about Final Fantasy XIV so that you can tell me off in the comments. Did I mention Tataru’s a right little pain in the arse?

Adam Grindley

Adam Grindley

Staff Writer

Adam's favourite game is Mount Your Friends. That probably tells you everything you need to know about him.

Share this: