Tears of Themis (Closed Beta) | First Impressions | Game Review
From the opening cinematic, it was clear that Tears of Themis will be the next heavy-hitter in the otome game industry. The graphics quality was so high I often forgot I was playing a mobile game, and the smoothly integrated investigative gameplay felt less like a typical gacha game and more like a new mystery/adventure title. With its beautiful and romantic animation, exciting gameplay, stunning visuals, and extensive, expertly voiced dialogue, miHoYo’s latest production sets a new standard for mobile and otome games alike.
Tears of Themis provides a powerful first impression. Its opening cinematic is, quite simply, beautiful. The art style is romantic and evocative with smooth animation that gives a dynamic feel, even to scenes that would typically be still images. The prologue scene is dramatic and enthralling, grabbing your attention before you’ve even had a chance to enter your name.
It’s difficult to discuss the plot at this stage without spoiling anything or breaching the Closed Beta terms of service. But, what I can say is that I loved how the gameplay tied in with the story, complementing the plot rather than disrupting it. You play as a lawyer investigating a variety of cases, from the more mundane, everyday problems to grander conspiracies, gradually unravelling a convoluted plot of mystery and intrigue. In short, Tears of Themis blew me away with its quality, complexity, and attention to even the tiniest of details.
This is a detective adventure of romance and wits. As the line between good and evil blurs, which way will your scales of justice tip?– Tears of Themis: Twitter
I was also impressed by the amount of voiced content. In the main story, except for MC, the dialogue is fully voiced, including side characters who appear to all have different voice actors. The voicing is also available in four different options (Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, and Korean), with some prolific actors in the cast.
While the cast of romanceable characters for Tears of Themis is relatively small, each one is distinctive and presents their own brand of appeal. Typically, I prefer a larger cast to allow for more variety, but in this case, sticking to a smaller number and focusing on streamlining the game experience has worked in miHoYo’s favour. From the cheerful, ‘genki’ childhood friend, to the mysterious and cunning psychiatrist, Tears of Themis has four unique and fascinating love interests to choose from.
Name: Artem Wing
Description: “The media calls him an emotionless robot defence attorney. Little do they know, this is because Artem has grown used to suppressing his emotions. No one can imagine the kind of past he bears…”
Voice Actors: Zhao Lu (CHS), Yin Xiang (CHT), Suwabe Junichi (JP), Jang Minhyuck (KR)
Name: Marius von Hagen
Description: “He has a carefree and rebellious playboy public image, all to hide his true self. This is also the reason why the public doubts whether he is capable of leading such a global corporation.”
Voice Actors: Yang Tianxiang (CHS), Chiang Chih Lun (CHT), Ishikawa Kaito (JP), Han Shin (KR)
Name: Luke Pearce
Description: “Tracking, sniping, combat, tactical driving, and wilderness survival… There’s almost nothing he’s not good at… all except for expressing his love for the girl he grew up with…”
Voice Actors: Titus Jin (CHS), Chen Hung Yu (CHT), Kaji Yuki (JP), Kim Jiyul (KR)
Name: Vyn Richter
Description: “A psychiatrist who can see through all disguises. As someone who always observed the volatile human emotions from the outside, Vyn never expected himself to become one with the same emotions.”
Voice Actors: Jiang Guangtao (CHS), Yu Cheng-Shen (CHT), Fukuyama Jun (JP), Hwang Changyung (KR)
Note: The character descriptions above are the official descriptions posted by the Tears of Themis Twitter account.
The basic gameplay structure of Tears of Themis is similar to other otome games we’ve seen. Story parts are presented in a visual novel style, which you read and click to progress, with minigames between chapters. This style of gameplay is seen in other titles, such as Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice, and Obey Me!, where your ability to continue reading the story depends on completing battles or minigame stages, rather than the number of chapter or story tickets you own.
However, Tears of Themis has found a way to revolutionise this familiar style of gameplay by flawlessly incorporating it into the story chapters themselves. Even in scenes you would expect to just be ‘read and click’, you’re often presented with opportunities to not only select your line of dialogue, but also interact with your environment, including investigating areas or people for clues. This makes the gameplay feel integral to the plot, enhancing the player experience, rather than interrupting the flow of the story.
Similar to: Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice, Obey Me!
Gathering these clues helps you uncover the mystery and continue your investigation in the story. However, in order to complete a stage, there are also ‘debates’ to clear, which are much more comparable to the types of minigames seen in other mobile games. These debates are won by using cards you draw in the game’s ‘gacha’ system, a type of ‘lucky dip’, where you use your ‘Tears of Themis’ resource to pull 1 to 10 cards at a time from a large number of available cards, some rarer than others.
These cards follow a ‘rock-paper-scissors’ hierarchy of effectiveness against each other, with three categories a card can belong to: Intuition, Empathy, or Logic. Empathy (red) beats Intuition (green), which beats Logic (blue), which, in turn, beats Empathy. By levelling up and strengthening cards in each category, you can create a deck suitable for any challenge.
Gacha: The gacha system in Tears of Themis is pretty standard, with a ‘pity timer’ that provides a guaranteed rarer card after a certain number of pulls. It looks like there will also be limited events, which will allow players to collect exclusive cards, or provide temporarily higher odds for rarer cards.
Most mobile games provide lots of free resources to new players, so it’s likely that when you first start the game you will be able to get at least one of the rarer cards. These often feature exclusive art and allow for higher stats when upgraded. I’m not certain yet as to how easy it will be to participate in the gacha for free, but most mobile games offer plenty of resources through events and promotional bonuses, so it may be possible to build an effective deck without breaking the bank.
Another appealing aspect of getting the rarer cards is that they come with bonus side-stories that are unlocked when you upgrade them. These are exclusive to the card and feature scenes focused on one-on-one time with the relevant love interest. With all this in mind, it seems reasonable to expect to spend some money on the game, but the amount you spend will depend on how much you want particular cards.
Currently my experience of the game is very limited, so it’s difficult to give a verdict without seeing the final product. However, what I can say is that I was seriously impressed by Tears of Themis, even in its closed beta state. The quality of the art, animation, music and overall feel of the game is so high that I was completely invested before the prologue had even finished.
The characters are beautiful, intriguing, and fully voiced, so while there are only four love interests, they’re each appealing in their own way, and I don’t believe players will have difficulty finding a character they’re interested in. Getting to know them while solving cases was a lot of fun, and I loved how each scene had some sort of interactive element, whether it was investigating a scene, chatting on a video call, or gathering clues.
In short, I’m grateful to have been a part of the closed beta for a game I can already tell is going to take the otome game community by storm. This is definitely a game to keep an eye on and I can’t wait for the full release!
For more information about Tears of Themis, see their official site.
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