Theseus is not your average virtual reality game. Based on the Greek myth of the Minotaur and the Labryinth, we follow the adventure of the titular character. Unlike most VR experiences, Theseus does away with the favored first person perspective and instead places your perspective with the camera. By mixing static camera angles (think less annoying Resident Evil) and standard “over the shoulder” perspective, the game is able to convey its tone quite well. If anything, Theseus is a step in the right direction on how to use camera placement in VR. In some other areas, it doesn’t fare so well.
As a retelling of the actual myth, Theseus doesn’t do a terribly great job. If you’ve never heard the Greek legend, I’ll spare you the specifics to avoid spoiling the game. However, there’s some extra characters and dialogue that is nowhere to be found in the virtual reality rendition. While not necessary to the overall narrative, the parts excluded in Theseus’ version of the tale are a great bit of backstory that I would’ve liked to see. These parts also take place outside the labyrinth itself, and would’ve offered a bit of change in visual style.
Nonetheless, Theseus manages to hit the major points of the story. As you journey through the dank and ominous maze, you’ll find a decent sense of dread creeping over you. This is due in part to both the game’s visual style and camera placement. I found myself enjoying the game’s visuals quite consistently, and while things were a bit one-note, I found my surroundings entertaining and interesting to take in. The minotaur itself is quite impressive, and I’ve chosen to exclude screenshots of it as I wouldn’t want to ruin the fun.
God of Bore
Okay, maybe that’s a bit too harsh. While the comparisons to Sony’s PS2 classic God of War are obvious, some of the mechanics get lost in translation. The third person camera angle is well done, providing a good sense of immersion. While things aren’t exactly jump scare level scary, the immersion aided both combat and general atmosphere well. Although combat starts out as a tense affair, you’ll quickly notice the clunky controls and repetitive combat. When compared to God of War, the action doesn’t come anywhere close.
Theseus is a short experience, mainly compiled of wandering through a linear path. You’ll burn through a few barriers with your torch, smack some creepy monsters with your sword, and make your way through the twists and turns of the labyrinth. You never actually feel like you’re lost in a maze, as the path to progression is almost always obvious. I only found myself held up on one or two sections, but this was mainly due to a lack of conveyance and a one-hit-kill minotaur attack.
The Bottom Line on Theseus
Theseus from Forge Reply is a decent looking game that never really goes anywhere. It’s not very long; only clocking in at roughly over an hour. The overall narrative is serviceable, and might be interesting for those not familiar with the source material. However, the actual amount of storytelling is light and secondary. The combat gets boring and repetitive, but never stays in focus long enough to truly be annoying. Instead, the game chooses to focus on building atmosphere and providing a different take on third person action.
Now that I’ve played through the game, I have no want to replay it. However, the quality of the camera placement makes me very excited for a truly invigorating character-action game in virtual reality. Theseus proves that games like God of War and Devil May Cry could work in VR, but it never manages to impress itself. As an overall experience, Theseus is a trip worth taking, but not one you’ll remember very long after. At full price, I can’t recommend purchasing it, but it makes for a decent slow burn at sale price.