Many games and companies have drawn inspiration from From Software. With releases such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, the stakes of replicating such a classic are high. Thymesia is a game which has heavy influence from these titles but perhaps does not pull it off as well as it could have done.
So, let's take a look at how I felt when playing Thymesia. From gameplay, visuals and storyline, let's take a deep dive into the plague-ridden tale.
The storyline of Thymesia follows Corvus, a plague-wielding fighter who is seeking his lost memories to try and stop the collapse of Hermes. Hermes is the location of the game where alchemy was used for enhancing healing. Ironically, this becomes the fall of the kingdom as a plague is spread throughout the people.
Once again, the storyline began in a very similar way to Elden Ring, Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Players are chucked into the environment and left to figure out clues of the story with posters, notes, or characters.
This technique can sometimes be effective. However, it began to feel like I did not care so much about the plot. Instead, it was just an add-on feature instead of a key part of the game. This is where I lost some motivation to fully complete Thymesia. Why I was doing certain things eluded me and it felt as if there was no purpose for me to continue playing.
It was only the brilliant combat that brought me back, time and time again.
Combat is one of the best features of Thymesia. The fluid and consistent damage really felt satisfying with a great amount of flow from each hit. As I am not much of an avid Dark Souls fan, the combat did take a little while to get used to. However, when I did figure out the key to timing, I felt like a boss slaying the enemies.
The added feature where Corvus uses "Reave" to steal weapons from a foe is something really clever. This was seamlessly integrated into the gameplay and allowed me to experience some different weapons and their hits.
However, as good as the combat did feel, comparing the fighting to Elden Ring? Thymesia really struggled. The dodging lacked the gusto seen in other games with a similar style. However, this does seem to be the way that the developers wanted the game to go. Aggression is key in this game. It was also much trickier to dodge enemy attacks in the constricted spaces at the start of the game, even if it did span out later on.
At the end of the game, I felt like I had been in a learning process. Starting with staggered fights and feeling out of my depth, with practice comes perfect. I felt a brilliant flow and rhythm to my techniques as I hit the final few hours. This really helps to cement my understanding of the game and how its combat works.
A tip to mastering combat is to memorise, memorise, and memorise. Patterns of the enemy, your natural flow and your health will really help you to progress in this game.
The visuals of the game were a place where the game really shone. Graphically, the game lacked the prowess of games such as The Witcher 3. However, the design of the environment was immense and implied the biological warfare that Corvus uses.
With enemies sprouting Cordyceps like appendages and wielding decaying weapons. The design of all the people in the game was well thought out. Simply having spore-ridden areas was reminiscent of the Last of Us but also helped to set the scene and plot nicely.
The biological nature of the environment also gave some creepy atmosphere to the game. With large sacks of spores that burst, hanging tendrils and tonnes of corpses, the game looked like something from hell.
Additionally, I think the developer team were aware of the shortcomings of Thymesia graphically. There was a constant fog on the screen which seemed to be a method to cover these lacking graphics. But perhaps they could play it off as the plague floating around.
Corvus' design was something that strung at my heartstrings. A plague doctor's mask covered his face with a dark hood and clothes. The mask itself perfectly depicted the story and environment that Corvus fights in and just looked really cool.
The gameplay features are very very similar to that of Dark Souls. From the 'Memory interrupted' message to the resting feature, there are a lot of similarities.
The combat was also very similar to games such as Sekiro with a high level of skill needed to be any kind of good. This can be a blessing or a nightmare for people who are trying to learn the game. But the satisfaction at the end was truly great.
One thing that I did struggle to get along with is the brutal unforgiving nature of the gameplay. Make one mistake and die? You lose around 20 minutes of progress. The rest points that Corvus uses to save the game were so thinly spread that they felt impossible. Of course, this is common in games of this nature but for players new to the game it can be a big hassle.
I used my PC to play Thymesia and originally started with my keyboard and mouse. However, I soon switched to a controller and found that the ease of the game increased. This game feels like it is perfect for consoles rather than on a PC.
I did not play it on my Nintendo Switch, but I am sure that this game will transition nicely to the console. And being able to take Thymesia on the go is always an added bonus.