As an agent code-named “Corvus”, you cut, scratch and pierce your own scattered memories of a kingdom that fell into disaster due to an alchemical plague. The place I explored, plagued by the Sea of Trees, was interesting, if not a little familiar. The forest covered in ulcers and poisonous gas made a striking first impression, but the winding paths of the trees seldom revealed anything new beyond the initial introduction. The vibrations are terrible for sure, but the “haunted swamp forest” is a fairly familiar trail these days.
Fighting in Thymesia is very aggressive. Corvus is quick and quick with his blades, defeating enemies with saber blasts and sneaking out of range just before the enemy responds. There is no stamina here, so attacking and dodging are limited by sequences of combos and animations. At times, this can seem too restrictive because once you start an action, you commit to it until it’s over. This applies doubly to rebound, your default defensive measure. Coupled with a small effective window and awkward winding, steaming is a skill that takes a tremendous amount of practice. This was a time that seemed to be misused as a successful parry does nothing but prevent damage from being done to you and return a small amount of it to the attacker, unlike modern species where good parrying opens enemies up for counterattacks. It was almost always better for me to just avoid the attacks altogether, as the risk of missing a parry is far greater than the reward for a successful landing.
Enemy health comes in two forms. Dealing damage reduces the white bar and reveals a green bar underneath it. As long as some green remains, white will regenerate. Both your light sword attacks and heavy talon attacks damage both bars, but the former is better for white damage and the latter is better for green. The key to clearing your enemies effectively is to combine these two types of attacks to weaken them as you dodge their counterattacks. It’s fun to a degree, but the whole system feels unnecessarily convoluted, especially since light and heavy attacks don’t naturally come together like other crazy action games like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry do.
Many of the most interesting combat actions are unlocked in the Trait Tree thanks to points earned by advancing on beacons. This is where you can really define a playstyle for your Corvus by turning his claw attack into a multi-hit combo or adding a teleporting complementary attack to his feather-tipped far darts. There are plenty of options to consider and luckily you can reallocate your spent points on any beacon which gives you the freedom to try out new things. Certain talents, such as widening the parry window or converting bounce to block, seem to be options to add to Corvus’s default set and make the early game much more forgiving without compromising the challenge of chaotic combat.
My favorite trait of Thymesia is the weapon of the plague. Collecting Plague Weapon Shards from enemies allows you to unlock and equip the associated Plague Weapon. This weapon allows you to unleash powerful attacks at the expense of plague energy to pierce enemies with a ghostly halberd or control the area around you with a wide scythe. You can use shards to upgrade your weapons once you’ve unlocked them, which start out as regular stat boosts but can eventually add new functionality to your attack. You can retrieve disposable versions of these plague weapons with claw attacks which I found very useful against tougher elites or bosses who had plague weapon skills which I found very useful.
Screens – Tymezja
It took a while, but after sticking to it, I found Thymesia enjoyable in her present raw form. The fight is quick and fierce, but ruthless at first. Knowing its particular timing and rhythm can be difficult, but once you reach high enough to engage with its extensive upgrade system and powerful plague weapon, you can have a unique action experience, even if it happens in the background in a mostly bland environment.