Thymesia is an action-RPG, Souls-like game, developed by OverBorder Studio and published by Team17. OverBorder Studio are an upcoming developer made up of a small team of only seven people, with this being their first release. Thymesia will be released on August 18th on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
The game begins and reveals a place known as The Kingdom of Hermes, a once thriving land which has now fallen into an age of calamity and chaos. The people of the kingdom believe that alchemy will save them all, and alchemy quickly became commonplace in the homes within the Kingdom. Unfortunately, this led to the prices becoming far too steep for the common household to afford, which caused a widespread catastrophe across the whole Kingdom; within mere days the entire Kingdom had succumbed to chaos with infected monsters patrolling the bloodstained streets and all hope for a cure was gone. Now the Kingdom's hopes are all but gone, and now the remaining glimmer resting on Corvus. The truth of what's happening is buried deep within Corvus’ fractured memories that are scattered throughout the world, and the only way to save the Kingdom of Hermes is by seeking out these memories and trying to piece the truth together bit by bit.
I was instantly drawn into the dark and gothic world that we were given and instantly got Bloodborne vibes from it. Not necessarily in a way that it feels like a replica of Yharnam, but I felt a few nods towards it and I enjoyed the way the game looked, and the aesthetic simply worked for me. Along the way, you’ll need to harness the power within various plague weapons you acquire from enemies and turn them into ruthless weapons of unrelenting power.
This brings us nicely onto discussing the combat system. Much like Bloodborne, Thymesia rewards an incredibly aggressive and hectic playstyle. With no stamina system, you don’t have to take a moment to retreat away and allow your stamina to regenerate, so you can just go hell for leather on the enemies that come for you and with the way that enemy health works in the game, that sort of aggressive playstyle is almost demanded of you. Essentially, enemy health comes in two forms. First there's a white bar that lowers when you do damage which then reveals a second bar underneath and any of the white bar can (and will) begin to regenerate if you stop doing damage and whittling it down. Your sabre will do the most damage to the first health bar, and after that, I found your plague weapon and other attacks seem to do the most damage to the second health bar. I mostly enjoyed the combat, but I will admit I found the whole two health bar system slightly confusing at first, but it was just one small nuance that helped Thymesia feel unique. The lack of a stamina bar was also a confusing one for me to get used to.
After around 500 hours of FromSoftware games in the last few months, it has become apparent that I’m a very greedy player and will always insist on standing in front of an enemy and trying to get one last hit in before I retreat. I’ve been working hard to stop that bad habit that always ends in my unfortunate death, so the lack of stamina went against everything I have been working on lately. Did I like it? Not necessarily. Does that make it a bad thing? Not necessarily. I feel like it perhaps makes the game a little more accessible in the sense that you're not having to manage your health AND your stamina, so it makes the game a little easier for those who may be deterred because it's a “Souls-Like”. Another feature that I found that made the game a little easier is that parries aren’t particularly powerful, so there's no real reward for taking the risk of hitting a perfect parry, so whilst Thymesia on the surface appears to be the next Souls-Like on the market, it isn’t entirely, and it takes the genre and combines it with games like Devil May Cry encouraging fast, aggressive play and revelling in the incredible attack combo’s that you can do.
One of my favourite aspects of Thymesia has got to be the skills available and the plague weapons. Understanding the weapons and skills is fairly easy and doesn’t pose too much threat to anyone's sanity, and Thymesia allows you to tailor your build in so many ways that everyone can have something that suits them nicely. The plague weapons were fun to acquire and experiment with. If you kill an enemy using your plague abilities they’ll drop shards and once you collect enough shards for that weapon you can unlock it at your nearest checkpoint. When you use plague abilities during combat, it will appear almost like a spell being cast and attack your enemy in grand fashion.
There was a lot to like about Thymesia. Hardcore Souls fans will likely find many aspects of it a little too easy because of a few mechanical choices as outlined throughout this review, but it still packs its own punch and unique feel. Initially, Thymesia felt like “just another Souls-Like” but by the time I persevered onto the first real boss I found the game beginning to reveal its own identity to me and I believe it has a lot to offer. Finally, I’d like to highlight again that OverBorder Studio are an incredibly new, small studio made up of a team of seven people and this is their first project, for that I believe that some congratulations are in order, because they really have created an incredible first release, and I’m eager to see where they take the genre with future releases.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 plagued souls out of 5.
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