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Behemoth blends Skyrim and Shadow of the Colossus into one VR epic

One of the title characters in Behemoth looms in an image from the upcoming game.
Skydance Games
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Skydance Games has something big on its hands with Behemoth, an upcoming fantasy action VR title for Meta Quest 2 and 3, PlayStation VR2, and PC VR. And when I say “big,” I’m talking about its titular Behemoths themselves. From the first person perspective of the lead character, standing near the base of those beasts has a way of making you feel very small by comparison. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to fight them, and the entire plot of the upcoming VR game hinges on their defeat. 

Digital Trends was recently invited to Skydance Games’ office in Santa Monica for a hands-on demo of Behemoth. Shawn Kittelsen, vice president of creative for Skydance Interactive, was there to walk me through the demo, which takes place about three hours into the game. According to Kittelsen, the area explored in the demo will be populated with more enemies in the final game. But in order to keep the demo to just 45 minutes, some subtractions were made. In the short time that I had to play, I got a taste for what feels like a promising cross between Skyrim VR and Shadow of the Colossus.

Slaying the Behemoths

Behemoth is a first-person VR adventure with an emphasis on sword-swinging combat and light exploration. Both Skyrim and Shadow of the Colossus are apt comparisons because Behemoth thrusts the players into a dark fantasy realm and puts them into the mountainous terrain of the cursed Forsaken Lands. The player character is a mighty warrior who has also been cursed, and the only way to cure the land is to rid it of the Behemoths.  

A closer look at one of the swords in Behemoth.
Skydance Games

The demo was played on a PS5 using the standard PlayStation VR2 headset and controllers. The immersion was impressive even at this stage of the game, which Kittelsen indicated was six months behind the current build of Behemoth. The controls took some trial and error to get used to, but they were largely intuitive once the commands were learned. Movement is controlled on the left-hand controller, but both controllers follow the movements of your arms. For example, right-handed players can use the sword in that hand while the left arm maneuvers the shield. Sword combat requires you to mimic the actions that you want your character to perform.

Similarly, some two-handed weapons, including a larger sword and a bow and arrow, require both hands to use. And that means occasionally going without a shield. The hand controls also allow the player to pull items from their belt, including healing potions that were sometimes necessary in the heat of battle.

Close quarters combat in Behemoth.
Skydance Games

One feature that’s particularly appreciated was the way the sword can be recalled to your hand via the grip button. This came in handy on multiple occasions, and it even allows the player to throw the sword at enemies and recall it to their hands not unlike Thor’s hammer in the Marvel movies

Aside from a healer who teaches the player character how to make potions, I didn’t encounter any other friendly NPCs during the demo. Everyone else I met was trying to kill me. The enemy forces are loyal worshipers of the local Behemoth who live in a ruined fortress on a mountain. The towering beast is no peaceful creature like the giants in Shadow of the Colossus; it had a ball and chain weapon scaled to its size and the ferocity of a deadly warrior. War was no stranger to this beast. In my first encounter with the Behemoth, it showed its followers no regard as it slammed its weapon down. Compared to it, all men are bugs and it had no interest in friend or foe at that point in the game.

According to Kittelsen and other Skydance reps who were present, the vast majority of the players who previously tried this demo favored long-distance combat with the enemies. That’s why they were somewhat taken aback by the close-quarters combat in my demo, which ended with some brutal kills. Among other things I discovered, you can stab an enemy by reaching under their shield, or even plunge your sword through their shoulder blades and then press it deeper into their bodies. This was by necessity, because I wasn’t able to get the bow and arrow to accurately hit the targets.

The castle fort from Behemoth.
Skydance Games

Between combat encounters, the player is meant to find ways to climb the walls of the fortress or the rocks surrounding them. While the world of Behemoth is meant to feel like an open world, there weren’t many ways to get lost. The game guided me where I needed to go and provided the necessary tools to get past even the most difficult climbs. The grappling crossbow is particularly handy as it allows players to swing off ledges or even to use the device to rapidly pull them up. The crossbow can also be used in combat against attacking enemies or to pull down obstacles like drawbridge doors. 

The snippet I played is very reminiscent of Skyrim VR, minus the magic spells. However, the player character does get a magical strength boost thanks to a curse. When charged with strength, the player’s blows are even more damaging, and he can hack enemies into two with a single strike. This proved to be very helpful in the battle against the final human enemy encountered in the demo. The leader of the enemy forces was much harder to fight than his subordinates, but even he had the same fighting patterns that could be countered with successful sword parries.  

The Seal Behemoth in Behemoth.
Skydance Games

To cap off the demo, I encountered the Seal Behemoth that I briefly glimpsed sending its own followers to their doom earlier in the playthrough. And this was not a battle that I won. With more time and further instruction, it could have been done. But when this part of the demo was reached, our allotted time was up. 

Behemoth seems to be very promising even in this early stage of the title. Only a few small samples of the lore was revealed during the gameplay, but it was enough to leave me intrigued by the storyline. Behemoth isn’t based on a preexisting story or IP, but it has the potential to become a franchise of its own if the finished title can live up to the promise of this demo.

Behemoth will launch this fall for Meta Quest 2 and 3, PlayStation VR 2, and PC VR headsets.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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