And that's ok. Moaning about things is fun and cool, and makes it look as if I know what I'm talking about.
But The Talos Principle - which, yes, has been out on Steam since last year, thanks for reminding me - is kind of the antithesis of my litany of complaints about Halo 5 and Assassin's Creed Syndicate... while not dumbing itself down a single iota. It doesn't alienate, yet it's infinitely smarter, and better realised, than both those supposedly blockbuster games.
Talos is a first-person puzzle game - its closest living relative is Portal - which lets the player discover at their own pace, while presenting the puzzles in a compelling, and intriguing, universe. What's it all about, Ralphy? It is about this: the very nature of existence itself.
No. Wait. Please come back: don't you want to know what makes you a person? What's that? You already know, and it's about watching Come Dine With Me?
The Talos Principle eases you in like a buttered cranny.
By solving puzzles, you must explore maze-like areas, gathering Tetris-y blocks that will help unlock areas and items that will help you solve further puzzles.
The mazes are full of machine guns, roving bot sentries, force fields and gates - all of these can be negotiated by positioning items (such as prisms, jammers and blocks). For this is how the puzzling works.
You can connect, say, two locks – otherwise obscured by a wall - by positioning prism lamps, or disable a machine gun by diverting an explosive robot sentry towards it through opening a forcefield, or blocking its path with a cube. It’s a deceptively simple concept, that becomes increasingly challenging and complex.
The genius here lies in how it trains you to think how the game designers think. The puzzles may get harder, but once you understand the logic of the world, you’ll soon be thinking your way around it. It's very clever, and hard to describe in a review without making it sound like the most boring thing on earth.
Therefore, before I proceed, let's liven up the review with some human beatbox: mmf-ch-ch-cha! Paaa-paa-pa-rump-pa-pa-pah-cha!
The icing on the Talos cake is the world itself. They didn't have to go the extra mile - the game is compelling enough in itself - but like Portal, it takes place in a beautiful, entirely self-contained universe, which hints at something more beyond its invisible walls.
The storytelling manages to grip, despite how little it hands to you: without giving too much away, you'll be guided by the voice of God, interact with computer terminals which allow you to browse emails and chat logs, and answer questions on the nature of existence. There's a low-level humour at play - I wouldn't have minded if it had been a bit funnier, and a bit less portentous - but that's alight. Not every game can display the herculean wit of Alan Carr...
Appropriately, the world itself - some sort of advanced computer simulation - starts off resembling the ruins of Pompeii, before becoming increasingly fantastical. In short, the implication of all this is that the game is some sort of artificial intelligence experiment... and you're the subject.
If all of the above sounds a bit confusing and daunting... well, it isn't once you play it. Trust me on this. If all you ever want to do from a first-person perspective is shoot things, then it's unlikely that The Talos Principle is for you, but if you're willing to have something other than your reflexes tested - specifically, your "bronsils" - then please give The Talos Principle a go. It's not even a full price game, and I know how cheap you are.
Yes, it's slower-paced than Portal, less about reflexes and timing, but it elicits that same punch-a-tramp euphoria when you finally get it right. Also, it might make you think about your place in the universe. Or make you book a trip to Pompeii. One or the other.
SUMMARY: Sublime, first-person puzzler, with a beautiful structure and aesthetic.
SCORE: 88.8874mph out of 140.311kph