The Thaumaturge Review

OUR RATING: 8.5/10

Developed by Fool’s Theory and published by 11 bit studios, The Thaumaturge is a story-driven RPG set in 1905 Warsaw, under the rule of imperial Russia. In simplest terms, it seems like an offbeat Pokemon-meets-Sherlock Holmes deal set against a mature, dark background, but goes on so much deeper with its political intrigue and mystery.

You play as Wiktor Szulski, a thaumaturge. Thaumaturges are individuals with the ability to find and utilize otherworldy beings known as salutors. These salutors can be used to perceive emotions tied to objects, participate in combat, or even manipulate people’s minds. Wiktor has returned to his hometown of Warsaw after a 15-year absence to attend to family matters. However, he soon finds himself embroiled in a series of events that go beyond his familial affairs as he encounters old friends, makes new ones, and uncovers the tense atmosphere pervading the city.

At its core, The Thaumaturge is a story-driven game. The narrative is deeply intertwined with the gameplay, making every decision you make and every discovery you uncover crucial for the story’s unfolding. Between story missions, players are free to roam the city of Warsaw, help citizens, visit old friends, or stir up some trouble.

One of the intriguing aspects of The Thaumaturge is the investigation mechanics. Using his Thaumaturge powers, Wiktor can perceive points of interest around him, allowing him to gain valuable insights when finding clues. These insights open up new dialogue options in future conversations, adding another layer of depth to the game. The leveling system in The Thaumaturge is designed to complement the story. While other RPGs might focus heavily on leveling and skill trees, The Thaumaturge places emphasis on the narrative and character development. Players gain experience points through various activities, not just combat, encouraging exploration and interaction with the game world. A significant portion of gameplay involves exploring Warsaw and interacting with its inhabitants. Your powers are crucial in uncovering clues, and the investigation system ensures you’re on the right track by signaling when all evidence has been gathered.

The Thaumaturge offers a unique combat system that blends the elements of turn-based combat with strategic planning. The game is a blend of traditional RPG elements, innovative combat, and a storyline that reacts to my decisions. It’s not just about fighting; it’s about shaping a narrative and dealing with the consequences in a world brimming with supernatural intrigue and historical depth.

Combat is not the primary focus of The Thaumaturge. However, it does offer a robust system that adds variety to the gameplay. Players can preview the health and focus of each enemy before a fight and modify their combat abilities to suit the situation. The timeline plays a crucial role during combat. It shows the turn order and allows players to strategize their moves. Manipulating the timeline effectively can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Health and focus  are fully reset after every battle. This mechanic allows for more strategic freedom during combat and ensures the smooth progression of the story.

Using skill points earned from leveling up, Wiktor can unlock new skills in four dimensions of Thaumaturgy – Heart, Mind, Deed, and Word. Each dimension opens new pathways for character abilities, enhancing my combat and investigative capabilities. As I level up, unlocking new skills within these dimensions, I find that combat becomes increasingly complex, demanding more strategic planning.

The investigation process in The Thaumaturge is akin to piecing together a puzzle where each clue is a revelation that adds to the narrative’s richness. It’s a dance of uncovering flaws and weaving them into the story, where each discovery feels like a triumph. As I progress, the game rewards my diligence with deeper insights into the characters and the lore, making each interaction a potential key to unlocking the mysteries of 1905 Warsaw. Navigating through the game’s quests involves a delicate balance of talking, investigating, and action. The core mechanic of finding clues to solve mysteries keeps the gameplay fresh and engaging, making every decision and discovery a step closer to mastering the art of thaumaturgy.

Manipulating Salutors’ Flaws is a unique aspect of gameplay. Each Salutor belongs to one of the four dimensions, and identifying these Flaws allows me to gain control, turning the tide in challenging encounters. This system intertwines with the narrative, as my mastery over these ethereal beings grows alongside Wiktor’s personal journey.

The immersive atmosphere of The Thaumaturge is a standout feature, with its gothic and dark aesthetics painting the perfect backdrop for this historical RPG adventure. The historically accurate architecture of Warsaw adds a layer of authenticity, making me feel as if I’m truly wandering the streets of the early 20th century. The game has a distinct look, with the creatures inspired by Slavic folklore brimming with details, as are the cities and environments.

Performance in the game can be a little off at times. Playing on an RTX 4070 Ti Super, I saw framerates dip under 60FPS during cutscenes, especially when the game switches between difference scenes. On the plus side, the game supports both DLSS and FSR, so fans with any GPU featuring this support should be good to go. Despite occasional bugs and performance dips, The Thaumaturge offers impressive graphics that bring the game world to life. The characters are well-designed, and the environments are detailed, providing an immersive experience through and through.

The compelling blend of strategy, turn-based combat, and investigative RPG mechanics has been intricately woven to take the player on a memorable journey. The Thaumaturge is a gem in the world of RPGs. With its well-crafted storyline, engaging gameplay mechanics, and beautifully designed world, it is a game that fans of story-driven RPGs and turn-based games should not miss. For those who relish in the melding of history with the arcane, The Thaumaturge offers an adventure worth experiencing.

Leave a Reply