Absolver is a game developed by SloClap, an independent game studio based in Paris, France. As beautiful as of the city of France, Absolver is a beauty for PC and console gamers, despite of its flaws and issues, it lived up to its expectations. If Dark Souls and For Honor had a baby, this is their child (or sort of). Also, this game was created by the former employees of Ubisoft Paris, that’s why there will be familiar mechanics found in Ubisoft’s games.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, PC
Publisher: Devolvler Digital
Release Date: August 29, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by Devolver Digital.
You start the game by creating your own character, it’s very simple because of its limited choices, but the best part in creating your character is the fighting stance. Not all games will let you choose your stance but this is a martial arts game after all; and that’s what I loved about this game. You can choose 1 out of 3 styles as your starting stance, each with a different purpose. This style is based off from real-world fighting techniques which makes it more interesting.
You will be a nameless warrior trying to fight your way to become the absolver, you will be facing a lot of powerful enemies and as you progress you will need to make your character as strong as possible. The story is weak and almost unnecessary, after creating your character you will be thrown in the world without a big cut-scene or music, this game heavily focuses on gameplay and combat.
The fighting styles also determine how you play the game. The Forsaken is a balanced and powerful style based on kick-boxing, this also has an ability to parry. Players using the Forsaken style can counter and stun their opponents. Khalt style is strong and defensive. It has a special ability called Absorb, it can amass the knockback from attacks and counter them to your enemies. When it’s done successfully, you regain health. Windfall style is the hardest stance for me, you need to be quick when you react to your enemy’s attacks and avoid them. Its special ability is called Avoid which allows players to dodge, this is the hardest style but the easiest to perform a counter attack. As you progress, a different style will be available. SloClap has also promised to add more style in the future.
Absolver’s strongest points here is the combat, the gameplay provides a complex and deep customizable combat set-up that lets players customize their own fighting style and techniques. Players of God Hand will be familiar with this gameplay where you assign your characters fighting stance and style. It’s up to the players on how they manage their controls and how to mix every fighting combos. You need to be careful on assigning your move-set because this may lead you to a hard combo that can easily be dodged or predicted, you need to mix it wisely.
When fighting enemies, Absolver doesn’t take you easily. Fighting with an enemy is like playing a deck of cards where you have to predict your next movement and stance. Button smashing is a big no-no for this game. You need to wait and study your enemy’s movement before engaging them. Also with the stamina gauge, button smashing will only leave you vulnerable.
Blocking and dodging are hard at first. Using the right analog stick for dodging is a smart idea for the game, predicting where your enemies attack will land and predicting when to dodge is so thrilling, I just can’t take my eyes of my TV screen because I need to be focus always on my enemy, especially if you need to defeat multiple enemies. As soon as you master its mechanics, it will be fun to engage through your enemies.
As you progress, your character becomes stronger every time you defeated an enemy, you gain experience to level up your character. You can choose on what stats to increase depending on how you want your character to build; just like Dark Souls or any other RPGs found today. Also, you can unlock different moves to customize your deck with, the more you unlock different moves, the more you have an advantage against your opponent, especially with other players. The checkpoints are similar to the Soul’s series, where you camp and meditate. Also, this is where you check-in for a player-versus-player fight, customize your characters appearance and unlock different move set.
Absolver is need you to be always online, yes, this is like an MMORPG where you can pass through other players running around. You choose to ignore them or fight them, also you can travel with them and explore the world together with other players. Friendly-fire is always off so you need to be careful when engaging to an enemy. Pressing L1 gives you a few choices of gestures, from a simple hello to challenging other players to a fight. PVP is fun but sometimes unfair, you are thrown to an arena with other players but in random. You sometimes need to fight a much higher-level players or lower level players. I died three times in a row when I clashed with a level 57 player while I was just at level 7, I just hope they can patch this one in the future.
Visually the game looks gorgeous, with its art style approach which gives the game a lighter tone to it. Also, the animation of the characters is great, it really captures the different martial arts style at its best. But unfortunately, technical wise, the game suffers a lot. From its slow online connectivity, up to its framerates. The game sometimes crashes or pauses if another player enters the same area. Also the game world, aside with its beautiful design, the world looks empty, there are few exciting areas to explore. Almost all areas look similar from start to end. I just hope they can improve this so that a lot of players will join in.
Overall, Absolver delivers the most exciting thing to a martial arts game, carefully crafted to enjoy with other players, showing off the combos you created and unlocking exciting stance and styles for your character. This is a must for the fans of the fighting genre, this may have a few and frustrating issues, but if you take time on building and molding your character to be the best martial artist out there, then this is worth your time.