It's normal for any new Soulsborne games to be compared to other games in the subgenre, especially those coming out of FromSoftware. Thymesia is an upcoming game that seems to draw equal parts from Bloodborne and Devil May Cry. Many fans are excited about the game as a kind of panacea while waiting for a PC port of Bloodborne, and it's likely going to draw some comparison to FromSoftware's upcoming Elden Ring, but Thymesia has a few key ways it can stand out from the big game.
Comparing games like Thymesia and Bloodborne is fair, as the subgenre was built on the success of FromSoftware's games and has become one of the most popular forms of action-RPGs on the market today. Thymesia's first big way to shine against Elden Ring is in how it handles its atmosphere. Elden Ring is presenting more like a AAA open-world game with each new reveal. Thymesia, on the other hand, seems to be a more claustrophobic experience in-line with Bloodborne. Leaning into that atmosphere with its aesthetic could help make it a unique experience.
Thymesia Should Embrace What Makes It Different
Focusing on fleshing out the smaller locations in Thymesia with bits of lore and character could help the game make a bigger impact compared to the open field of Elden Ring. This approach would largely be borrowing from FromSoftware's formula, but if used in new ways (like maybe being more direct with the story) this could distinguish Thymesia. That and embracing the more traditional horror elements that seem at work in Thymesia. After all, the ambiguous nature of FromSoftware's storytelling is engaging, but hard to emulate.
Charting its own direction in the space will be key for Thymesia. One facet it seems to be taking a diversion from the Soulsborne formula is with its combat. The methodical and generally slow combat of Dark Souls stands in stark contrast with the fast-paced action seen so far in Thymesia. While the game's Bloodborne influences are upfront, it also has a flair to its combat in what's been shown that feels more like Devil May Cry. The combat in Elden Ring seems like a natural evolution of the Dark Souls approach, but Thymesia could be a radical departure.
Bringing in more style and speed to combat will be a balancing act for Thymesia. Difficulty is a crucial factor in the Soulsborne formula, and making enemies commensurate in skill to the player will be key. It's easy to just increase the damage enemies can give and take, but Thymesia seems to be taking another page from Devil May Cry in that regard. Mixing up enemy types in interesting ways, and giving them abilities that directly counter those of the player, is pulled off expertly in DMC5. That approach seems the route Thymesia and its plague weapon system are taking.
Thymesia is in a unique position, albeit a challenging one. Elden Ring is an incredibly anticipated game for many fans. FromSoftware releases are always a big deal in the subgenre it pioneered, so Thymesia will be up against the hype. This is exacerbated by Elden Ring coming to PC. However, embracing what it's doing differently more than trying to appeal to fans of the classic formula could help Thymesia stand out against Elden Ring and other titles in the space.
Thymesia is set to release on PC on December 7, 2021.