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Thymesia (PC) Review

September 14, 2022 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Thymesia Image Credit: Team17
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Thymesia (PC) Review  

Here is the ultimate thing about Thymesia, it’s not a bad game. In some respects, it’s a good game. There’s nothing fundamentally flawed with it except for one thing: it’s boring. It doesn’t offer a ton of innovation in the Souls-like games and with a GOTY contender like Elden Ring being released 6 months ago, Thymesia really doesn’t compare well against it.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but in this land there is a curse that is plaguing the residents. They turned to alchemy to stop it only they got hooked on it and the town has further decayed. You play “Corvus”, a stranger who is trying to find a cure for the disease. You, naturally, also kill a fair amount of people along the way.

The actual gameplay of Thymesia is very Souls-like but with a few good and bad twists on it. For one, there’s not really a stamina system in play. So things like swinging your sword or rolling around aren’t governed by a meter. This lets combat be a bit more action oriented since you don’t have to wait for the bar to refill. However, combat isn’t something like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, you can’t cancel out of attacks, so if you’re in the middle of a combo, the animation will happen and you can get knocked out of it.

R1 is used for your main sword attack. You never actually change weapons in the game, you only have this sword at your disposal. R2 is used for your claw attack, which I’ll get into a bit below. L1 is used for deflecting attacks while L2 is used for a “feather” attack. You use feathers to counter certain critical attacks, the weird trick is that you only have a brief timing window to use it (you only have three). The enemy will glow green for a second when it’s preparing this attack and that’s when you quickly press the button. I’ll be honest, I never got the timing of this correct, I think I was able to pull it off once or twice but that’s it. It’s much easier to just dodge out of the way during these types of attacks, since the roll is very effective.

Combat is kind of interesting, at least at the start. Your main sword attacks chips away at an enemy’s health, revealing a green bar in place of it. You then use your claw attack to chip attack the green bar. If you don’t, the enemy will eventually start to regenerate its lost white bar to regain health. So the flow of combat is basically R1, R1, R1, then R2 to whittle the enemy health down. While occasionally also rolling out of the way, deflecting attacks, drinking a potion to regain your own health if you were hit, etc.

The actual, semi-interesting thing with this game is the leveling system. You gain experience (and lose it upon death) like any Souls game. However, when you sit at the throne (bonfire equivalent), you can level up. Leveling gives you an attribute point to put into one of the three schools: strength (physical attacks), vitality (life), and plague (claw damage). There is some stuff later on this does effect but the main reason to level is to get a talent point.

The talent system can be accessed by the throne and is broken up into different categories: Saber, Deflect, Dodge, Claw, Feather, and Strategies. A lot of these are self-explanatory, these talents generally increase your saber damage, restore energy to your character, or increase air damage with your weapon. The two that are worth pointing out are Deflect and Strategies.

Deflect has an unlockable talent that basically trades your deflect/parry for a straight up defense stance. This can be upgraded to block up to 75% regular attacks and 60% critical attacks. This is a pretty vital talent, at least in my view, since it goes a long way in making you more survivable and the game fairer.

As for Strategies, these are more general purpose buffs, like increasing item drop rate, buffing your character if at full life or at near death, letting you carry more plague weapons, that sort of thing.

Talents sound cool, right? Well, there is a bit of a trick with them, you only get 24 talent points total. So you start at level 1 and after the first area, you’ll likely have leveled up one or two times, so you might have one or two points available. Well, by the time you hit level 25, no more talent points. That’s a problem when you consider that there are 71 talents in the game overall. Some are gated by choice, you can either go down branch A or branch B for a spec, but a lot of them aren’t built like that. The trick is, it’s really up to you to decide where and how you want to spend your points. If you want to dump them in the “Feather” talents, you can. If you decide, correctly, that almost all Feather stuff is useless, you can just go back to a throne and swap out talent points for something else. There’s no real downside to making mistakes when picking talents, if anything, the game does try to encourage you to experiment and see what you like.

Remember I said above that the attributes do impact something else? Well, they impact the plague weapons you can get. When you do a claw attack on an enemy, they drop their weapon you can pick up for a one-off attack. Later on, you unlock them fully and these are the plague weapons. To unlock a weapon you need an appropriate level of skill shards but you also need the required number of attribute points. The “Miasma” weapon, for example requires 20 vitality to use. You can upgrade plague weapons with additional skill shards to further their effectiveness and unlock “extended action” for them, which is usually a double hit or changes the weapon in some way. This also requires an attribute check, so the Miasma above, for its extended action also requires you to have a Plague of 20 as well.

I’m not quite sold on this whole plague weapon system. Aside from the boss weapons, which the shards drop from bosses, it really requires a lot of grinding to get the skill shards to unlock weapons. If you really want a specific weapon, you’ll have to invest some points in the “drop more stuff” talent, and hope the required shards actually drop from enemies.

This all sounds reasonably fun, right? I think for a certain subset of people, it is. However, I just found the game to be…boring. Combat, no matter what I did, never really became fun. A lot of the talents you can unlock are highly situational and not effective in the overall play of the game.

There’s also, really, only three big areas in this game. This….isn’t great. Even if the areas were diverse and interesting, spoiler: they really aren’t, there’s just not enough range in the levels, even if they are fairly large. It just makes the game feel like more of a budget title, which I guess is apt, since the game is in fact a budget title, at $30.

Lastly, gaming performance is a mixed bag. I immediately had to turn off the motion blur, else the framerate would grind to a halt whenever I turned the camera. Granted, my PC is pretty old but I still passed the recommended specs. This might be why that Feather/counter system never worked for me, because it requires very specific timing that I just couldn’t nail down. I asked a friend who had it on PS5 if it was off, and he said it wasn’t, but that it was still ineffective to use.

The final score: review Average
The 411
After dipping my toes and getting into a few recent Souls like games, I was semi-interested in trying this out. It just fell extremely flat to me though, for every one or two things the game systems introduced, the core of the combat was too basic for me to really enjoy. Add to this bland environments, dodgy performance and lackluster story and it all amount to a game that I was never really thrilled with.

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Thymesia, Marc Morrison