Thymesia Review

The inspiration behind Thymesia was the loud and clear : Bloodborne. Everything about Thymesia, from the scenes to the combat to the overall setting, is heavily influenced by Bloodborne. Thymesia will not deliberately hide this fact. It fully embraces the settings it emulates, while still finding ways to put a unique twist on them, hoping to evoke nostalgia for the game’s benefit.

In a way, this works for Thymesia because it doesn’t pretend it’s an original, which means players who fell in love with Bloodborne will find a lot of fun in this title. Thymesia steps into familiar territory and delivers a good Soulslike experience. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t come out of Bloodborne’s shadow, and it still suffers from the same problems that plague many Souls-like games.

Thymesia begins with Corvus, the silent but deadly plague doctor protagonist, waking up in a crumbling village full of sick murderers. At the end of the first part, Raven is mercilessly slammed to the ground by a knight ten times his size, jolting him out of his nightmare. Crow then revisits various locations to cure his mysterious amnesia, defeating tough bosses along the way.

Thymesia  Corvus  sea  of  trees Each area Corvus visits is very linear, ending with a climactic boss fight. Thymesia forgoes the map system, which means players can memorize scenery as they go. While this is great for immersion, it’s not so great for navigation. It is very easy to turn around and go back to the starting point. The lighting system further complicates the situation, with little visual distinction between the different elements.

Familiarity extends to enemies, too. There were many instances where enemies seemed to appear out of nowhere, attacking without warning; when we initially walked past them, they were impossible to detect. Smart sound design could have avoided this with obvious audio cues, but those didn’t. Musical changes are the only thing that marks the appearance of enemies, and those are reserved for mini-bosses. Overall, the sound design is bland and memorable.

Each area is visually appealing and unique enough to differentiate them. Sadly, the legends of each region did not have the same impact. Knowledge is delivered entirely through text boxes in cutscenes and scraps of paper found in the wild–an odd design choice that makes information harder to remember. Also, the amount of lore provided is minimal, providing only hints of other events happening in the game. When it comes to recalling the lore each area has to offer, nothing is memorable.

thymesia  combat  scythe  fist  monster Combat is a big focus of Thymesia, and it’s obvious by the amount of attention paid to the combat system. First off, unlike most Soulslikes, the player can never customize Corvus in any way, and he always uses a saber and parry dagger. Also, there is no stamina, so dodging, attacking, and running are infinite. This makes for fast-paced combat, which can be quite exciting at times. Nimbly dodging attacks and following through with a flurry of nifty attacks and slashes feels enjoyable and fluid. With few customization options, players can focus on combat rather than tweaking their gear to optimize their build.

Plague weapons come in a wide variety, similar to spells in Souls-like games, which Corvus can use and upgrade after unlocking. They all offer different attack and defense effects, and players can definitely find something they like. While there are plenty of options, there aren’t so many that they fall flat or overlap. Players can smash enemies into the ground with a giant hammer, slam them with a knife, and even disappear into a cloud of smoke and attack from behind.

Plague weapons are the key to taking down stronger enemies. They usually deal a lot of damage or stagger them, giving the player more opportunities to attack. This is required for the wound mechanism of Thymesia. All enemies basically have two health bars that stack on top of each other and operate independently of each other. Corvus’ saber slices through the first health bar, causing the wound and revealing a green bar below. These wounds (green bars) can only be damaged by claw strikes, which is the only real way to damage/defeat enemies. If the green bar is not depleted, the white bar will eventually refill as the enemy “heals”. This prevents players from simply tearing apart everything they encounter, although most basic enemies can be eliminated with a single combination of saber and claw.

thymesia  odur  boss Unfortunately, this mechanic doesn’t fit well with Thymesia’s fast-paced combat. Many of the more powerful enemies have long or hard-to-dodge combos that require precise input to avoid. When the player gets close enough to hit them again, they start another combo and the white bar refills before they hit. This could be an overcomplication of a fast, fluid combat system that slows down the pace of combat. It also puts the player at a huge disadvantage, as it’s essentially a Bloodborne-style riposte healing that the player can’t replicate.

Boredom and false dodging also hinder combat. Corvus can dodge infinitely, but players will still find themselves getting hit too often. Either the dodge window is too tight, or the game just lets Corvus get hit mid-dodge. Corvus’s two enhanced evasions – a short evasion and a long evasion – don’t address these issues either. Short dodges are so short that it’s impossible to gain enough distance to be safe, while long dodges have a large recovery window that can give enemies the perfect opportunity to use gap closing attacks to hit the player. Even the Miasma Plague weapon, which significantly extended Corvus’ evasion, wasn’t the solution – it often resulted in being hit while still in the evasion animation.

The game provides some tools to deal with these problems, one of which is parry and deflection. Thymesia is initially more focused on blocking than it is now, but even after reducing the need to block, they still require faster enemies because Corvus can’t dodge fast enough. While this adds depth to combat, it ends up forcing players to use dodge and parry at the same time, taking players out of completely dodge-centric builds. Parry also doesn’t stop enemies from comboing or stun them; instead, it reflects some damage back to attacking enemies as they keep swinging. This makes it largely useless unless the player is very good at parrying to begin with.

Thymesia  the  hanged  queen  boss The other is a defense mode that significantly reduces damage taken while active. This is great for tank building, but it slows down the fight tempo by forcing Corvus into position, and oddly, it temporarily removes his saber’s stagger when exiting. More often than not, it results in a quick death on a counterattack or in a long combo.

Despite being a solid imitation of Bloodborne, Thymesia inherits common problems from other Soulslikes. It’s a great challenge for Bloodborne fans and offers the potential for exciting gameplay, but it’s weighed down by complex and poorly executed mechanics.

Thymesia is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. Game Rant reviewed the PS5 version.

Leave a Reply