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Is The Thaumaturge Worth the Pact? Review After 100% Completion

The Thaumaturge Review Story

When I first started this game, I was instantly reminded of a game I loved from the bottom of my heart, even though it wasn’t universally loved by the playerbase, Vampyr by Don’t Nod. The setting is alike, happening in a similar period in history, close to the First World War, with both main characters having close personalities.

However, the gameplay for The Thaumaturge is very different, with the game mostly being either a top down RPG when exploring and a turn based RPG when battling, where you juggle salutors, your tamed “ghosts” or “spirits”, to help you defeat enemies. Though the theme of the game can be a bit confusing at first glance, players will quickly get into the game and start understanding the protagonist’s powers.

Gameplay – 8/10

The Thaumaturge Review Gameplay 2
Screenshot by Raider King

There are three main elements for the gameplay in The Thaumaturge: choices, top down exploration, and turn based battles. This is what you’ll do for most of the game, as these three gameplay mechanics will constantly take the lead.

The choices are a huge appeal of the game, as many players love influencing a story however they can. For most of the part, it seems your choices don’t have a significant effect on the story. The ending will be heavily influenced by these decisions, and some characters can be lost along the way because of them, but the plot moves forward in the same direction most of the time. One of the more interesting aspects of the game is that you have the choice to solve many “mysteries” however you want. You can either look through every nook and cranny for clues and be three steps forward from your enemies or just jump to the end of the quest and be surprised with what the people around you are doing.

The exploration part of the game has its ups and downs. I spend most of my time constantly clicking the right mouse button using my Perception, a thaumaturgic skill that allows you to see the “unseen,” which would either reveal hidden clues or lead me to my next objective. Exploring every street in a city to find hidden clues isn’t extremely fun, and the conclusion is usually just a drawing, but these side quests aren’t really optional if you want to unlock most of the skills, since they give you extra experience. There are, however, many fun interactions with the Warsaw’s citizens that you can only find by talking to everyone that has a white diamond icon appear on them, which also usually gave me XP. For most of the game, you will have to develop four main “powers” which will be used to find the history of clues and hidden secrets of some of the characters in the world. If you don’t develop these powers, you won’t be able to solve many side quests and will even be locked out of decisions in the main quest.

Now, for the last aspect of the gameplay, the turn based battles. At first I was pleasantly surprised with the fighting mechanics. I played the whole game on the hardest difficulty and I can say that it wasn’t really a difficult challenge. For most of the game, I usually only lost if I wasn’t paying attention to what the enemies were doing. For all battles, your enemies will have a natural buff that can be dispelled if you use one of your salutors to attack them. Salutors work a lot like Pokémon, you have them next to you, they have their own turn in battle, and you can switch them around every time one of them finishes their turn. Unfortunately, many of the buffs the enemies get aren’t really that impactful, and I often finished off these villains without even getting rid of their protection. Also, once you find the right combination of upgrades for your skills, most battles will end up the same way. One huge problem I had with fights is that they often felt mandatory. Battles give you XP, but you can often avoid them just by selecting not to be prideful. But, avoiding a fight doesn’t give you XP, which means your character will be underleveled for upcoming fights or mysteries.

Story – 8/10

The Thaumaturge Review Gameplay
Screenshot by Raider King

The story is the strongest part of The Thaumaturge. I noticed I rarely felt I had to skip past dialogue, since most of the interactions were very entertaining. The story takes place in 1905 in Russian-occupied Warsaw. You play as Wiktor, a thaumaturge, who comes back to the city for personal reasons and ends up in the middle of a play for power for the independence of Poland. Though for most of the plot you will explore the death of your father, the mysteries and characters that you meet along the way are very interesting and full of plot twists. It’s just very satisfying to learn the secrets of every person you talk to by touching their wine glass or scarves and then using your powers to see their emotions when using those items.

The most interesting part of the plot is Wiktor’s most important ally, Rasputin, who has a secret plan to save the world. Though most of us likely know the horrible results that came from Rasputin’s influence on the Romanov imperial family, it is very interesting to see him using his powers to help the main character, Wiktor, conquer all of the salutors in the game.

Unfortunately, one of the places where the story lacks is in the character development department. I personally didn’t feel any attachment to most of the characters in The Thaumaturge. Besides Wiktor’s sister, Rasputin, and Abaurycy, the main character’s childhood friend, there aren’t really that many interesting characters. Many of them only have one moment to shine until they’re never seen again. Also, Wiktor doesn’t really have the ability to influence his relationship on a personal level with any other people besides Rasputin and his sister. There is no romance to speak of and many of the people you’ll meet are usually just people you use to gain another salutor, which sometimes doesn’t make them feel real.

Music – 9/10

The Thaumaturge Review Characters
Screenshot by Raider King

The music is absolutely perfect for the setting. The eerie feeling that you feel while exploring the slums of Warsaw can only be fully achieved with the help of the incredible music that The Thaumaturge has played in the background. The battle song is also quite entertaining, as it gives off the right vibe to feel like you’re having a fist fight in the middle of 1905 Warsaw. One problem I had was that the music got repetitive at times, especially considering how many times I’ve had to fight three thugs in the streets for no reason and the same fight song would keep going off every time.

Graphics – 8/10

The Thaumaturge Review Panoramic Shot
Screenshot by Raider King

The Thaumaturge is a beautiful game. What can be seen in the trailers and the promotional images is exactly what you’ll find in game. The characters look good in dialogue scenes and the world is stunning, which the player can see in full display as they interact with scenic points that turn the camera around to show the beauty of Warsaw before WW1. One problem I personally had with the graphics is that the lighting just blinded me very often and I couldn’t really see anything when it was raining. The ground would get muddy and full of water, which would reflect the sun, making me extremely confused as I looked at the screen. Since you’re forced to watch Wiktor from the top down, this view of the shining water combined with really aggressive rain just blinded me and I often couldn’t see anything in these weather conditions.

Enjoyment – 8/10

The Thaumaturge Review Combat
Screenshot by Raider King

If the game concentrated more on the choices aspect of the game, rather than the constant turn based battles that were thrown at me every 5 seconds, I think I could have given it a 10/10 for enjoyment. The story is really interesting and the characters can be intriguing sometimes, but the constant need to fight thugs for absolutely no reason can really put me off. Even the game liked to pretend to be annoyed at the constant battles, as Wiktor often stated his dissatisfaction with the 10th battle of the day with some random people that decided they are the ones that will defeat the thaumaturge today.

The exploration can also often feel unrewarding as well, since the events that you can find don’t really make it worth the trouble of walking around each district of the town pressing the Perception button every second. Either way, the story really managed to carry the game and the premise is really interesting.


The Thaumaturge Review

Steam Page

Though The Thaumaturge might not be a game for everyone, it is a really intriguing RPG with a great story that will likely keep you hooked for many hours.

Gameplay 8
Story 8
Music 9
Graphics 8
Enjoyment 8
Based in Munich, Germany, Adrian Oprea is the Founder of Raider King. He is a writer with a passion for storytelling and a love for all things RPG. When not wielding a keyboard, he can be found exploring fantastical worlds, one quest at a time.
Adrian Oprea
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