When we first heard about Theseus from Forge Reply we likened it to God of War, which seems like an apt comparison. In God of War you take control of Kratos in his crusade against the Greek pantheon of Gods, fighting the likes of Poseidon, Zeus, and more. Theseus has much more reserved ambitions, instead choosing to focus on a single Greek myth, rather than attacking the entire roster.
In this adventure you take on the role of the titular character, Theseus. He awakens on top of a concrete slab unsure of where he is with nothing but a mysterious voice and wisp in the air to guide him. This is precisely how my demo started and I was immediately reminded of Chronos from Gunfire Games. The third-person view is very similar, with fixed camera angles serving as a peek into the world as you control your character using a gamepad.
Stylistically though it’s a much darker world. Ominous ambient sounds rumble in the distance, the dark corridors are dripping with decay, and within a few minutes of playing I’ve found myself walking through a pool of crimson blood. Viewing all of this through a VR headset is both grotesque and unsettling, pitching a much more sinister interpretation of the legendary myth of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth.
The narrative is very vague at this point, although I assume more clarity will arise in the coming months. The developers noted games such as ICO and Shadow of the Colossus as heavy inspirations, which absolutely shows through. Any time the Minotaur was in view, my heart skipped a beat. It reminded me of seeing some of the hulking creatures in Insomniac’s Edge of Nowhere.
Since the gameplay feels similar to Chronos, you move around the environment while slightly removed from your character. In a way, it feels like an out-of-body experience. The atmosphere surrounding you seeps into your skin and you can feel the hair standing up on your neck as you slowly make your way through the dark, disgusting depths of this strange dungeon.
Eventually I got my taste of combat. I didn’t get to see a ton of it, but what I did try was promising. With a mixture of using a sword and torch, I could quickly strike, dodge out of the way, and take on multiple enemies at once.
It felt punishing when I faltered and took a hit though, and seems like a much heavier and more deliberate combat system than the likes of Chronos. Theseus puts a strong emphasis on exploration, discovery, and light puzzle elements to shake up the flow.
The enemies I fought resembled spiders, if those spiders were infected with a black toxic energy leaving them as hulking, grotesque blobs. According to the story of Theseus, he eventually defeats the Minotaur, but it’s clearly not going to be easy. Dying is frequent in Theseus both as a point to advance the story forward, but also as a result of difficult encounters.
It remains to be seen how Theseus addresses the most important questions for a game like this, such as how long it is, how deep is the gameplay, are there progression systems worth investing in, and what kind of story will it tell? But based on what I’ve seen, I’m excited for the potential. Theseus is shaping up to be an excellent and polished VR RPG with a mature-leaning design.
You can find more information about the game on its official website. Specific platforms are not defined at this time, but my demo was played on an Oculus Rift using an Xbox One gamepad. It’s slated to release this year.
What do you think of what you’ve seen of Theseus thus far? Let us know in the comments below!