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The Thaumaturge Review: Is It Worth Playing?

If you’ve played Balder’s Gate 3 and want to keep the CRPG fun going, The Thaumaturge is a game worth checking out.

The Thaumaturge is not exactly a CRPG, it’s an RPG with a story-driven campaign that features a top-down view that feels just like playing a CRPG.

Thaumaturge is more similar to games like Disco Elysium as it features an immersive story with strong characters and choices that affect the story.

As a fan of its developer, 11 Bit Studios, I’ve been wanting to try out Thaumaturge since its announcement. Thankfully, I was able to secure a review key for the game and managed to spend some time with the game ahead of release.

Even though the game was rough around the edges, Thaumaturge is worth playing. It was a fascinating experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the game to any RPG or CRPG fan.

What Is The Thaumaturge?

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The Thaumaturge is an RPG with a very unique setting and a story. It takes you back to early 20th century Warsaw where you explore a world full of mysteries and spooky ghosts known as Salutors that prey on human weaknesses.

Wiktor, the main protagonist is a Thaumaturge, a sort of a witch who can bind and take control of Salutors to acquire powers like manipulate people.

Without spoiling anything, the main story is all about Wiktor’s journey to discovering himself and solving mysteries around him. He’s like Sherlock Holmes but with some cool magical powers and Rasputin as his mentor/sidekick.

My Experience

I was lucky enough to get an early review key and experience Thaumaturge before its release. But this also meant that I had to play an early build that wasn’t up-to-date with patches.

The cutscenes felt a bit choppy and mouse movement controls weren’t as smooth. But those will surely be fixed with the Day-1 patch. Other than those minor inconveniences, I did not run into any major issues while playing Thaumaturge.

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The game starts with a prologue that does a perfect job of introducing you to its main protagonist, his powers, and how to use those powers.

During the prologue, I was introduced to Wiktor’s abilities, had a few battles, and tamed a thaumaturge.

Going around talking to people, finding clues, and solving mysteries made me feel like I’m Sherlock Holmes. And having WASD movement controls made the gameplay experience much smoother.

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I played the prologue thinking it was where the entire game takes place but I was wrong. When the game took me back to Warsaw for Act 1, I was blown away. That’s where the real game begins and the mystery begins to unfold.

The Thaumaturge has a strong story full of politics, mystery, and fantasy elements. To avoid spoiling all the fun surprises and character arcs, I won’t go into much detail.

Although, I would say that it’s the story that kept me hooked on this game.

Unique Combat System

The Thaumaturge features a unique turn-based combat system, unlike most CRPGs, this system allows you to team up with your ghost companions (or Salutors) to defeat enemies and plan attacks ahead of time.

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Most combat sequences in Thaumaturge are all about getting your hands dirty and punching bad guys in the face. Sure, you have supernatural powers and all but getting up-close and punching a bad guy feels quite satisfying than shooting a lightning bolt from far away.

That’s one of the many reasons I enjoyed the turn-based combat in the Thaumaturge.

Limited Exploration

Since Thaumaturge is a story-driven RPG, I wasn’t expecting it to have boundless exploration and discoverability, like in BG3. However, I felt the game had intentionally limited the player’s freedom to explore by its own game mechanics.

Especially being camera-locked was a bit of a let down, as I’m used to rotating and moving around the map in isometric games.

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Solving mysteries is all about finding clues and uncovering them on your own. But in Thaumaturge, you have a power that works like the Witcher sense. It allows you to easily spot the clues that are scattered around the world and solve the mystery quite easily.

This actually took the fun out of talking to each and every NPC to figure out different angles and exploring every inch of a tavern to find the tiniest clues on my own.

Plus, the most open-world areas in the game felt a bit too small. I constantly have to take a carriage ride to visit another area of the map to find another set of clues.

These things did not bother me as I was more interested in progressing in the story. It just would have made the game much more immersive. Solving mysteries became a bit repetitive and tedious after a while because of those restraints.

Leveling and Skills

As you level up your character, you can create a build by allocating the skill points towards your favorite play style. These are not only applicable in combat but also useful in persuading and discoverability.

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This skill tree expands as you progress in the game but you will have to decide which skill specialties you want to use for your build and for combat.

Choices Matter

The Thaumaturge features a dialog system similar to Disco Elysium, except it’s not as unforgiving. Every choice you make during your negotiations and discussions with NPCs matters and will have consequences.

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The important NPCs you meet during the story will remember your choices during discussions. Those choices will also shape Wiktor’s character. Whether he will be an egomaniac or an intelligent diplomat will depend on your choices.

Should You Buy The Thaumaturge?

The unique setting and the engaging story make The Thaumaturge a truly one-of-a-kind RPG that deserves to be experienced. However, don’t expect to be immersed and be lost in this 20th-century Warsaw.

The Thaumaturge has cutscenes with awkward animations as well as sudden transitions between the game and cutscenes that affect the immersion.

To be honest, I did not pay attention to any of those flaws in this game as I was deeply connected to the protagonist and the story. And I’m sure you will feel the same way when you enter this game for the first time.

Is it a game you will play over and over again? Probably not. Is it enjoyable enough to pay full price? Yes!

Keep in mind that The Thaumaturge is made by a small studio of passionate developers and comes from an indie game publisher that I’ve always admired. 11 Bit Studios never fails to impress with their games.