Theseus PlayStation VR Review

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Features, PlayStation VR, PS4, Reviews

Publisher: Forge Reply  Developer: Forge Reply  Genre: Action Adventure

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A


It seems that a lot of developers are struggling to balance quality and quantity when it comes to PlayStation VR releases. This has resulted in games such as Mortal Blitz, which is great while it lasts, but is all too short, and other overpriced games like Robinson: The Journey, which has the high production values but a rather brief playing time.

Theseus is the latest PlayStation VR game that actually shines with quality. The production values were obviously higher than average, resulting in some very nice visuals, which are only held back by the headset’s limitations. There’s some fantastic lighting in the dark and detailed environments, animations are also impressive, and when the high quality visuals and sound are combined, it makes for a wonderful and somewhat eerie atmosphere. Just wait until you see the 33ft Minotaur for the very first time.

There he is. The Minotaur is quite a sight in the PSVR headset, and this screen really doesn’t do him justice.

Theseus is played from a third person perspective, and has some very cinematic camera angles, which means that the game is always very well presented, and if you need proof that third person games can also work in VR, then this is it. When the camera is positioned behind the character, moving your head results in him moving his head in time with you, adding to the immersion.

For those who don’t know, Theseus is based on a Greek myth which has the titular character attempting to slay a Minotaur inside a Labyrinth. The story here is a twist on the tale, and sees you stuck in a loop, meaning that the task to defeat the Minotaur feels like a real struggle.

It takes 10 to 15 minutes for the gigantic Minotaur himself to actually show up in the game, but he’s definitely worth that little wait. Being a VR game, the monster is a scary and intimidating sight, and he makes up the bulk of the game’s most memorable moments. Each time you face him, you’ll have to overcome different challenges. Sometimes you’ll have to use the Minotaur’s lack of vision to your advantage, and other times you’ll have to use your speed.

The Minotaur isn’t the only enemy in the game though. You’ll also be taking on spiders, which you can only ward off with fire to begin with, but soon enough you find yourself equipped with a sword, allowing you to slaughter the insects. With sword in hand as well as a burning torch, battles against the spiders are often won by a divide and conquer strategy. The fighting itself is mostly unchallenging and simplistic, working through a single button press, but it’s well animated and heavy hitting. It’s also possible to dodge roll to avoid enemy attacks, and if you are lucky with your timing it’s even possible to set a spider on fire to defeat it quicker. With one enemy type along with the main foe that is of course the Minotaur, enemy encounters do begin to feel overly repetitive.

The rest of Theseus has you running around the environments, jumping and climbing, which is all very simplistic and nonthreatening. The game would have surely benefitted from more of a puzzle mindset, particularly as it places you a Labyrinth. In fact, the Labyrinth really doesn’t feel like much of a Labyrinth at all, but, like I mentioned earlier, it is still a very well designed game in terms of its look and feel.

It’s camera positioning like this that makes Theseus a standout and very cinematic VR experience. It’s just a shame that it’s not a more well rounded game.

Most negatively, the game can be completed in just over an hour, and I would be lying to say that I didn’t want more of it, as there’s some really impressive stuff to be experienced. You are able to light braziers and find corpses, which does add a bit of life to the game, and this also unlocks a second ending, but in no way does this change the fact that it’s just all too short, and the game is certainly overpriced at £15.99. We really do need more full length PlayStation VR games, and as an added bonus, we also need them with the kind of production values that are on glorious display here.

Theseus not only needed to be longer though. It would have also benefitted from a little more variation and perhaps less simplicity in its approach to both the combat as well as the Labyrinth, particularly in the moments when the fearsome Minotaur isn’t present. There’s quite a few memorable moments, and it is a fantastic and cinematic experience while it lasts, but I largely feel that the game has too much unfulfilled potential. All in all, Theseus is more like a tech demo that demonstrates what is achievable with VR in a third person view, and this is both wonderful and disappointing at the same time.


5/10


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