The Road to Gehenna’s narrative is more focused than the base game. It assumes that you have finished The Talos Principle and come away with the full idea of what it all meant. You are now Elohim’s messenger. Your name is Uriel, and you have a simple task: rescue AIs trapped in Gehenna, a new part of the simulation. Elohim has made a mistake, and you are required to fix it.
The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna
Every puzzle found in The Road to Gehenna is just like the original game. Some of them will be easier, some of them will be harder, but they all have the very same mechanics and objects you already know. The DLC is exactly more of the same, which is good if you are a fan of the game, but it doesn’t do anything to attract new players.
You will need to decipher several chambers full of colour-coded lasers, turrets, jammers, mines, fans, pressure plates, and energy barriers. You will to pull together everything you know about the pieces placed –or hidden- before you. The way two lasers counter one another, how they can be float in the air from one place to the other with complex combinations, how blocks can be stacked on roaming drones, recording yourself to repeat specific actions, and so on. And with that, discover new interactions. It’s a challenge fun for a specific crowd, continually pushing you to think outside the box. But even in the hardest puzzles the game is always fair. That is why solving a puzzle feels so rewarding.
And it makes sense if you think about it. The DLC is supposed to be more of the same – It’s a mini-campaign set after the original. It assumes you know how to play the game because it is aimed to returning players. You have four new puzzle worlds to enjoy and to lose your head with, and they will take you anywhere from 5 hours to days if you count all the rage quits. Add a few more days if you are a secret and achievement hunter, and you have a well worth $15 expansion.
If you felt the plot of the original game was original and deep, I have bad news for you. Road to Gehenna sometimes feels like a map pack. There is little to no addition to the story, and most of the new stuff is scrambled in the message board threads and they don’t really have anything to do with each other. In the original game you were trying to attain enlightenment. In the process, you as the player, were left wondering what the point of doing the puzzles really was, which feeds right into the discussions of free will. In Road to Gehenna everything important is in the terminal segments. The puzzles are drained of all meaning and merely serve as more content to sell you. You are supposed to free the AIs, get on it. There aren’t multiple paths or a sense of free will. If you do happen to get immerse in the bulletin boards, you will see some really cool questionings. AIs are like placeholders to transport conscience from one place to the other, and they are trying to understand what constitutes humanity by looking at the things they create and attempting to create things in the same way.
It’s hard to complain too much about getting more of the same if you really enjoyed the original game. If you enjoyed it, you’re going to be banging your head against a wall as you spend days trying to figure out how to get through that one room. You will feel rewarded and clever. But perhaps a single new element to interact with would have been a nice touch. If you felt the opposite, keep looking. As I said before, the expansion does nothing to attract new players. It’s more of the same for people you liked it and didn’t get bored of it yet.