The ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur certainly sounds like it could make for a very epic and unique virtual reality experience. However, after the games beautiful nightmare fueled opening it doesn’t take long to realize that the game doesn’t have a lot to offer. While the concept of Theseus may sound good on paper, the execution leaves much to be desired.
Theseus starts off mysterious and intriguing as you wander towards a bright light in the sky while trudging through a pool of blood. It is when you awaken from this nightmare that a floating light tells you that it is your mission to escape this labyrinth in which you have awoken. This isn’t your first attempt in doing so however as you soon discover you have died before and are forced to repeat the cycle of life and death until you can finally defeat the labyrinths guardian, the Minotaur. Doing so will not be easy as you are very ill equipped for the journey and the Minotaur’s offspring (mutant man eating spiders) are determined to keep you from progressing very far along the maze.
Unfortunately for Theseus, the story becomes less intriguing as you discover more behind what is going on and the ending is hardly satisfying. By the time the credits rolled I couldn’t help but feel that I had accomplished nothing. Which thematically fits with the story that was being told and that helped reassure me that maybe the story wasn’t all that interesting in the first place.
Master of None:
My experience with the PSVR has led me to the conclusion that the system is at its best when used for arcade style games or short immersive experiences. Theseus is neither of these. While it is short clocking in it at a little under 3 hours it fails at padding that little bit of time with any sort of interesting gameplay. The game unfolds over what could essentially be called four different levels, the first of which is the most intriguing as you’ll trek down a pitch black corridor with no weapons and only pushing back enemies with a torch. It is creepy and creates a very tense atmosphere that is only enhanced by the VR.
Sadly the tense atmosphere dies when you are given a sword and instead of doing your best to survive you simply kill every enemy in sight with really clunky combat. The combat is so primitive that it feels like it would be at home on the original PlayStation. Most of the time you are swinging your sword and just praying that it goes in the right direction. The only other gameplay mechanic introduced besides the combat are puzzles, but they lack any sort of challenge and even in some cases can be more of an annoyance than fun.
Looks Can Be Deceiving:
Let me just start off by saying that I did play this game on a PS4 and not a PS4 Pro. However, with many other titles such as Batman Arkham VR or Until Dawn Rush of Blood I have never noticed so much distortion in the visuals. It makes reviewing the graphics rather conflicting as some of the art direction in the game really does look great. Whether its the giant and terrifying Minotaur or the very Simon Belmont looking protagonist some of the art choices kept me interested in playing to see what else I might come across. And the third person view as well as a range of unique camera angles really helped immerse me into the setting as well as give a sense of scale whenever the giant Minotaur was near.
The bad texture popping on the PS4 version does make this hard to recommend if you are not playing on a PS4 Pro. In fact most of the games backgrounds lose their sense of scale without the headset on and it becomes bland while watching someone play and not being in the headset yourself. However, every now and then you will see an enemy scurrying along the wall in the distance and it makes for a neat little excuse to look around at the environments whenever you enter a new section of the labyrinth.
Stuck in the Maze:
For as promising as Theseus sounds its hard to recommend to anyone. It is in no way among the worst games I have ever played, but its bland gameplay and uninspiring story makes it rather forgettable. Unlike most VR games that get a second breath of life when showing them to your friend for the first time, Theseus is a little bit too long and severely unexciting to pull out for another play through. If the game would have kept that same excitement and fear of having nothing, but a torch to hold back enemies then maybe the final product would have been a little easier to recommend. Unfortunately Theseus offers very little to get excited about.
You can watch my video review below to check out some of the gameplay in action!
This game was provided to WTFGamersonly for the purpose of this review