Thaumaturge, since its announcement, has been a great success in the community. The videos and information that have been released over time by the developers have only increased the expectations of the game. In any case, on the occasion of the Steam Next Fest, the developers have decided to make a limited-time Thaumaturge demo available, until October 16th. In this article, therefore, we will tell you our impressions after playing the demo, in order to have a more complete vision of the game in question. Furthermore, if you want to know more general information about it, such as the release date and the platforms on which it will be available, we invite you to read this article of ours.
Thaumaturge demo plot
The Thaumaturge demo opens with a cutscene in which we are introduced to the game's protagonist, Wiktor Szulski. Wiktor is a thaumaturge, that is, a person with particular powers who is able to control demons and who manages to influence the will of people. After receiving a letter from his sister Ligia ordering him to return to his hometown, Warsaw, Wiktor sets off on this adventure and arrives in a small village just outside the gates of the big city.
After making the not-very-tame acquaintance of the Russian Tsar's guards, Wiktor enters the small village inn to look for a healer named Rasputin. In fact, before he could continue with his journey and arrive in Warsaw, Wiktor had to solve a problem of fundamental importance: he had to rediscover the bond with his Upyr (the demon that has always followed him) which was gradually waning before he himself is driven back to madness. Having met Rasputin and after proving to him that he is actually a thaumaturge, Wiktor sees his father again in a sort of hallucination/dream, before seeing a Salutor (a demon). However, Wiktor is suddenly woken up by a woman and, based on what he saw in his vision, decides to go and talk to Rasputin.
Having been accompanied by the coachman to the village cemetery, where Rasputin is, Wiktor learns that someone, or rather, something, killed the village sage in a fire and that since then the village has fallen into disrepair, as witnessed by a woman who was there at the cemetery. At this point, Wiktor begins to investigate the village in search of evidence that could unmask whoever brought the Salutor to the village, something he had learned during the vision of him in the shop. After some meetings with the local citizens and after conducting some investigations, Wiktor manages to discover the truth about who hired this Salutor.
At this point, after the clash with this demon and after having had help from Rasputin in order to tame it, he decides to return to the station to send telegrams: one to Warsaw and one to Paris. However, the man will tell Wiktor that he received a telegram announcing the death of his father. Shaken by what he learned, Wiktor, together with Rasputin (who requested the collection of the favor that Wiktor owed him after having helped him in his investigations), goes to Warsaw to go and talk to his sister. And it is with a final cutscene that shows the journey of the two characters that the Thaumaturge demo ends.
Thaumaturge demo gameplay
Thaumaturge is an RPG game with an isometric view, in which investigations and dialogues with the characters are the focal point of the game. During the course of the story, in fact, you will often be asked to go around the game world to find clues to connect together in order to arrive at the conclusions that will be necessary to continue. So, as you gradually explore the village, the cemetery and the station (in the final version of the game you will also be able to visit other places), keep in mind the fact of exploring every corner of the map. However, since Wiktor is a thaumaturge, he will be in possession of special powers, one of which is Perception, which will be very useful for discovering clues and revealing the path to follow in order to reach your goal.
In addition to Perception, Wiktor is equipped with other powers that he can use according to situations and needs. For example, while you are talking to other characters, you can use Manipulation to force your interlocutor to give the answer you want. However, to be able to manipulate others, you will first have to find clues around that allow you to find the weaknesses of the character in question. Furthermore, Wiktor can also rely on other powers such as that of calming people or drawing on his Flaw, linked to pride, to give bold answers (be careful when to use this option because you could encounter undesirable consequences). pleasant or in clashes).
Speaking of battles, Thaumaturge is a game in which the combat is turn-based and it is possible to choose, before starting your adventure, its difficulty in the game settings: Story, if you plan to focus more on the story, Challenge, if you want a bit of a challenge instead. The fights take place like in most games that belong to this genre, so you will have time to plan your moves based on your opponents. Furthermore, before starting the fight (which will only start after you have pressed the button linked to this action), you can also decide to modify your skills and your upgrades, in order to create a varied and adaptable playing style for every situation.
Thaumaturge offers a tree of skills and upgrades to unlock throughout your adventure, available after you have gained enough experience to earn points. The ability to choose what to invest in allows you to create a character that reflects your way of playing. In the demo, obviously, since it is only the prologue, it is not possible to experience this side of the gameplay in great depth, but we can say that what we have glimpsed is certainly something very interesting. Especially because, in addition to being able to acquire skills and upgrades for Wiktor, you can also do the same for your Upyr.
In fact, once you have rebuilt the bond with it, your Upyr will help you in combat and its skills will be more than useful to be able to prevail in battles. One of these is certainly the one that manages to eliminate the Focus of enemies, which will allow you to leave them helpless and be able to carry out a Powerful Attack which, most of the time, will kill your opponents in a single blow. From the point of view of actual attacks, we advise you to pay attention to attacks that are stronger but slower, as they can be anticipated by your enemies.
As regards, however, the fights with the bosses, they work more or less the same way, except that you will not fight directly with the boss himself but with projections of him. Once you have killed enough of them to empty his life bar, you will have defeated the boss. However, against these enemies, you will also have to pay attention to the effects they can inflict on you, as some of them are deadly. However, there are also skills and upgrades that allow you to remove them.
Thaumaturge demo technical side
After talking in detail about the plot and gameplay aspect, we couldn't help but also talk about the graphic aspect of the game. Tahumaturge is a game that, although it doesn't have the budget of a triple-A project behind it, still manages to give players a good impression. The graphics of the game, in fact, are good and up-to-date. The environments that the developers have created, at least as far as this demo is concerned, are well done and perfectly managed to hit the mark when it comes to immersion. The snow-covered woods, the village, the cemetery, and the station are all places that have managed to give the impression of really being there. The atmosphere is certainly something suggestive and that the developers have managed to make the best of.
We can also say the same thing regarding the character design which turns out to be very good, as well as the macabre and gruesome design of the demons. However, what should be improved in view of the final release of the game are the animations and facial expressions of the characters which seem to be a little fake and not very realistic. Especially if you look straight into the eyes of the characters, we can perceive a sense of emptiness in their gaze, which certainly doesn't affect the playability of the title, but which would certainly be an improvement to make.
From the point of view of dialogues and character voices, the development team did a great job. Even if what we played in the Thaumaturge demo is only the prologue of the game, we can see how the developers wanted to emphasize a lot on the dialogues, providing exchanges of words and thoughts between the real characters which were never banal, but which, on the contrary, they were well written. The English dubbing of the characters we were able to meet was also excellent but, our advice, in case you know the language and/or don't mind reading the dialogues rather than listening to them, is to play Thaumaturge in Polish. Witnessing Wiktor's exploits in his native language has a completely different impact on the atmosphere and overall experience of the game.
Lastly, but not in order of importance, let's spend a few words on the technical sector of the game. Thaumaturge, even in this first demo that we had the opportunity to try, is a very valid game and will certainly have many fans among those who decide to buy the game once it is available on the market. However, there are still some minor technical problems to be fixed (without considering what has been said regarding the animations). In some situations, in fact, the game struggled to load the textures, especially towards the end of the demo, forcing us to wait a few seconds too long before seeing the setting created by the developers; Furthermore, there are also some frame rate issues in certain situations.
In any case, we would like to point out that the same development team, concurrently with the release of the demo, also released statements in which they state that they are aware of some problems that afflict Thaumaturge in this phase of development and that they are working on more I can to fix them before the official launch of the game. Ultimately, if the development team solves these problems and Thaumaturge turns out to be of the quality that we saw in the demo in terms of plot and gameplay also for the rest of the game's duration, we will find ourselves faced with one of the best titles released in 2023.