A puzzle game isn’t something you usually benchmark, but as The Talos Principle is a creation of Croteam, the guys behind the Serious Sam series, this performance analysis was inevitable.

The Talos Principle is a first person or third person (that’s up to you) philosophical narrative puzzle game. You play the main character, a mechanical robot, trying to find the path to enlightenment, guided by Elohim a deitic voice.

If you’ve played Portal or Portal 2 you’ll get the feel for the game and progress through the laser beam, fan and box puzzles, collecting your sigils (tetris blocks) fairly quickly.  The game uses the Serious engine and as mentioned is developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. While not the most demanding engine, it’s 3 years old afterall, it’s still impressive and blends well with the free roaming puzzle solving scope of the game.


The Talos Principle Gameplay


Progressing into our benchmark performance analysis they’ve added a handful of advanced options as well as a built-in benchmark. Native SLI and Crossfire support is not present, so we will have to stick to single GPU results for the time being.

Benchmark Components

The Talos Principle Benchmark System

CPU i7 3930K
Motherboard Asus P9X79 Deluxe
RAM Kingston Hyper-X 16GB 1600mhz
HDD/SSD Crucial M550 256GB
GPU Galax GTX970 EXOC 4GB , MSI R9-290 Gaming 4S
Monitor Asus PB287Q 28″ 4K 60Hz 1MS
PSU Corsair AX1200W
OS Windows 8.1
Drivers Nvidia: 344.75 WHQL, AMD: Catalyst Omega 14.12


Testing Methodology

The Talos Principle has a very unique built-in benchmark that runs a predefined 15,30,60 or unlimited seconds run. You can find the benchmark in the first game menu. It runs through the puzzles in first person mode, exactly as if you were playing the game. Its 100% representative of game performance.

I used a 60 second run on all tests as seen in the video above. After completion you can find a very detailed report in the Log folder of your The Talos Principle game install directory. If you run multiple benchmarks they will be logged in the same file.

There’s quite alot of info in the log file from game errors, system info aswell as benchmarks results. The – benchmark results – section is what will be discussed in the benchmark charts and will be similar to the below lines :

03:17:24 INF: Duration: 60.0 seconds (2877 frames)
03:17:24 INF: Average: 48.0 FPS (49.3 w/o extremes)
03:17:24 INF: Extremes: 112.3 max, 27.0 min
03:17:24 INF: Sections: AI=5%, physics=1%, sound=1%, scene=77%, shadows=15%, misc=1%
03:17:24 INF: Highs: 351 in 5.8 seconds (60.3 FPS)
03:17:24 INF: Lows: 515 in 13.4 seconds (38.5 FPS)
03:17:24 INF: 30-60 FPS: 97%
03:17:24 INF: > 60 FPS: 3%

For all minimum and maximum FPS I used the Highs: and Lows: while for average FPS the first Average: that contains extremes.


The Talos Principle Graphics Options


The Talos Principle Performance Options


The Talos Principle GPU Settings


The developers have added a big array of graphical detail settings in the GPU settings menu, for those that would like to customize their experience. I prompted to go for the highest possible settings in the performance tab with everything turned up to Ultra, while in the graphics options menu I enabled Triple buffering, set FOV to 90, Multi-Sample AntiAliasing OFF and the Max 3D Rendering MPIX to the relevant resolution that was tested.


The Talos Principle 1920×1080 Benchmark


The Talos Principle Benchmark 1920x1080


Both our benchmark graphic cards the GTX970 and R9-290 perform very well with a minimum of 76.5 FPS and averages just over 100 FPS. The GTX970 has a slight 5% lead over the R9-290 but nothing noticeable in terms of performance.


The Talos Principle 1920x1080 ScreenshotThe Talos Principle 1920×1080 Screenshot 


2560×1440 Benchmark


The Talos Principle Benchmark 2560x1440


At 2560×1440 both cards are over 64 FPS minimum and 79 FPS on average frame rate. The R9-290 has a slight lead of 1-4 FPS, nothing extraordinary though.

 The Talos Principle 2560x1440 ScreenshotThe Talos Principle 2560×1440 Screenshot


The Talos Principle 4K Benchmark


The Talos Principle 4K Benchmark 3840x2160


At 4K we see the AMD R9-290s memory bandwidth kick-in producing better frame rates across the min max and averages. The game as seen in the charts is not very demanding. Our benchmark graphic cards the GTX970 and R9-290 perform impressively across all resolutions with the GTX970 leading in the 1920×1080 benchmark by a small margin while the R9-290 outperforms in both the 2560×1440 and 4K resolutions. The game is playable and without any noticeable stutter or framedrops across all resolutions.


 Talos Principle 4K screenshot
The Talos Principle 4K Screenshot


CPU Usage


The Talos Principle CPU Usage


CPU Usage in the game is limited to 4 threads as seen above in the screenshot from MSI Afterburner. A lower end 2 core, as per system requirements should do the job while a 4-core is ideal.


VRAM Usage


The Talos Principle VRAM Usage


Using the Nvidia GTX970 to test VRAM usage, the game uses roughly 2-2.3GB video ram on the 1080p,1440p and the 4K resolution. The game will be playable on most if not all graphics cards by just lower the settings.


Total System RAM Usage


The Talos Principle Total System RAM Usage


The total system RAM usage is very low for The Talos Principle. With 3GB memory you should be able to run all resolutions and presets without any issues.


The open world element while being linear when solving puzzles, does add a very unique experience to the game. It’s imposing how they were able to combine ruins, sci-fi and philosophical musings all in one game while keeping the experience unique and enjoyable.

I loved the puzzles and the way the Elohim (the godly voice) got into my head. It might have it’s roots from the original Portal but in my opinion stands as the closest any game developer could get to Valve’s approach to the puzzle game genre.


The Talos Principle Open World


The Talos Principle had no performance issues whatsoever. The graphics might not be “next-gen” but aren’t shabby, the overall gameplay and trouble-free experience covers more than enough to please most if not all gamers.


Note: The new NVIDIA GeForce 347.25 WHQL driver now has support for SLI.

If you have any questions about the benchmark please ask in the comment section below and I will be glad to answer.

About The Author

"Overclock and benchmark freak"