Theseus is the new project from Forge Reply, now available for Sony’s PlayStation VR. What did we think of it? Check out our Theseus review to find out!
Theseus is an interactive cinematic experience based on the Greek mythology of a demi god called, you may have guessed this, Theseus. In the original story he traveled to Crete to slay the Minotaur, killing a few undesirables along the way. This VR experience is a new cinematic take on the story of the labyrinth and the Minotaur, as well as of Ariadne, and the love of his life.
You start off in a dark place, which seems to be the entrance to some gateway to another realm. You can see ruins around you, some even floating in the air, and as you look down you see yourself walking on a lake of what appears to be blood. In the distance, you see a shaft of light. As you start to move towards it, you’ll move into a third person perspective as you get a glimpse of Theseus. He looks injured but, what has he battled to get him to this state? The character himself is very detailed, as is the environment, making this a very good looking game. As you move further toward the shaft of light, you notice that when you look around Theseus’ head moves around as well, but if you look too far to your left or right, Theseus will stop moving. Not a deal-breaker but something for you to consider.
As you get closer to the shaft of light Theseus walks off toward the light and seems to have healed. He no longer limps or holds his arm in pain, and as he reaches out to touch the beam, the room fills with light. You awake in an impressive room on a stone altar with candles around you, dazed and confused you muster to your feet, eerie sounds are all around – I must point out the graphics are really impressive, the environmental sounds are creepy but fit well within the surroundings.You walk towards a door, and after the heavy stone door rises to the ceiling, you will walk through the opening, and it is then that your adventure begins. Leaving the other room takes you down some steps and you come across a corpse – clicking triangle lets its life force enter your body.
With this being a third person release, there are only a couple of camera angles the developers have used to keep the VR from malfunctioning: a normal over the shoulders view when walking down passageways, and an off shoulder from the right or left side of the character for situations where you are, for example, turning corners. I found this mostly OK, but sometimes it was frustrating as I couldn’t see some parts of the areas.
As you wander through the labyrinth being guided by Ariadne’s spirit, you will get to pick up a torch which lights your way. Use the braziers you’ll find in your adventure to keep it going, and you might even unlock a trophy for your trouble! The torch is also handy for when you find the deadly arachnids that lurk in the dark, so be sure to wave it at them to keep them at bay.
At first it seems you actually have very little control over your character since you can move left, right, forward, backwards or gain life force from corpses or to perform an action. At least this streamline approach makes it easier to focus on the experience itself. The movement mechanics can feel a little clunky at times, as you press the X button to climb/duck under or slide sideways through gaps in the walls, or use the Circle button to drop down levels. As I mentioned before, Triangle allows you to light your torch or interact with objects such as the corpses to gain their life force. You’ll also be using the Square button for some interactions, not to mention how you’ll be able to run by pressing the shoulder buttons on your Dualshock 4.
You have several close encounters along the way with the Minotaur itself – an absolutely huge and impressive character. He has six horns curling inward towards its face, a shaggy mane, and an opening from the chest to the lower abdomen surrounded by teeth. When you’re immersed in the VR experience with your headphones on, you’ll start to feel anxious when the Minotaur is around.
I don’t want to go any further into the game’s story as it would spoil the experience for anyone who plans on buying the game, but I can say there are some nice twists and turns here and there, not to mention that the ending isn’t what I thought it would be. And that’s all I’m going to say about it!
The actual experience only lasts just a little over a couple of hours, but if you don’t rush through there are trophies to collect for certain actions completed. You can check a list of all trophies below to get an idea of what you’ll need to do:
Autophobia – Meet Ariadne
Arachnophobia – Survive the offspring of the Minotaur
Megalophobia – Survive the charge of the Minotaur
Scopophobia – Elude the Minotaur on the balconies
Agoraphobia – Hit the Minotaur three times
Selaphobia – Defeat the Minotaur
Athazagoraphobia – Read to the end of the credits after completing the game
Pyrophobia – Burn an enemy
Hamartophobia – Disobey Ariadne
Photophobia – Light all the braziers
Apeirophobia – Find yourself trapped in the circle
Necrophobia – Find all the corpses
Hormephobia – Discover the truth
Graphically this experience is one of the best out there. The team’s attention to detail is superb, and it helps to bring the game’s settings to life thanks to its cinematic approach and what PlayStation VR can do. Sure, the controls feel a bit clunky every now and then, but the game’s solid story and the overall experience more than make up for it. There isn’t much replayability after you’re done, but this is one of the better games for Sony’s virtual reality hardware, so be sure to give it a go.
This Theseus review is based on a PlayStation VR copy provided by Forge Reply.