Title: Absolver Review
Available On: PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Action, RPG
Official Site: https://www.absolvergame.com/
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Where To Buy: Steam, PSN Store
Devolver Digital have struck a very niche code with their newest IP, Absolver, a game that revolver around martial arts combat. While its certainly unique, its difficulty, along with some other hang-ups, means this game will not be for everyone.
There really isn’t much background given regarding the world of Absolver at the start of the game, as I was simply dropped into the land of Adal without much knowledge or purpose outside of fighting. Before venturing out into the plains, I was given the choice of customizing my character looks a bit, as well as his fighting style. Forsaken focuses on Strength, giving my character – who I named Durazo Blint after my favorite Assassin – the ability to parry enemy attacks, allowing for counter attacks. I chose this one, despite it being rated the most difficult, because I preferred to play the bruiser over the dexterity and vitality focused classes of Khalt and Windfall.
For each class timing was key. as being a second late or early meant the difference between a hit or a miss, or even allowing your opponent an opening. My biggest issue with this is that I didn’t feel like my characters movements were always one to one with that of my own. Instead, each move felt delayed and I had to adjust accordingly. Alongside that, the fighting was certainly difficult too.
To say Absolver’s move sets is vast is an understatement. with 180 moves able to assign to the characters 4 combo slots, and even more added in each new update. It’s certainly a great way to switch up play style, but for me I was simply lost. There are practice and training sessions to try out these combinations, but they have to be unlocked first. Outside of that, Absolver has no real direction regarding the best way to sort attacks and combos, you are just kind of on your own.
Direction, or lack their of, was certainly my biggest issue with Absolver, as it lacked it in more areas than one. Many games nowadays hold your hand far too much, watering down the experience, but I would have killed for a Nes or some sort of guide for a lot of areas of the game. The main goal of the is to defeat Marked Ones and Bosses to unlock the final door. At each alter, there is a map that marks each one’s location, but it’s only available at the alters. If you haven’t unlocked the alter nearest to them, it’s pivotal to find it, which means a lot of wandering. Even then it didn’t guarantee that’d I’d be able to find them, despite the alter saying I was right on top of one, especially Dormek (The Sixth Marked One).
Luckily Absolver has a great community. Sure I ran into my fair share of OP endgame players that would kill me handily, despite me not wanting to fight, but the majority of players I ran across in the server were not only friendly, they helped me find and defeat Marked Ones without the need to even communicate past the games emotes (Felt reminiscent of Journey).
Not only was it a good thing I was able to make fast friends for finding the bosses and mini-bosses, I don’t think I’d have been able to beat them without them. It’s not that the bosses were entirely too difficult, it’s more to the fact that each one had minions that would gang up on me. Despite my best dodging, I’d tend to get overwhelmed by numbers if I didn’t have back up. This isn’t helped by the fact that the focus and directional changes weren’t entirely intuitive or mapped well. Instead of being able to switch focus with a single button prompt, I had to unfocus then try to look at the closest target mid-battle. Alongside that, Blint – and even my opponent – would also get turned around a lot in fights, showing his back to the opponent instead of automatically resetting his body.
Despite all of this, and the lack of a real story, I can’t deny how much I’m interested in the world of Absolver. Eastern influences are apparent throughout the game, on display not only in the martial arts combat, but with the apparel as well. Masks and other cool outfits throughout the game improved my characters stats, but for the most part, I just picked the ones that looked the coolest.
I enjoyed my time with the game, but due to the difficulty and the lack of replayability (for me personally) I don’t find myself pouring the amount of hours into Absolver that would be necessary to master its combat, despite the welcoming community.
Verdict: Absolver is definitely not going to be for the casual gamer, and is even a bit niche for the hardcore ones as well. A unique concept, a vast combat system, and a cool world filled with stylish gear will draw in a lot of players. But if you like simple controls and specific direction in your games, this may be a skip for you.
- Unique concept and world
- Vast play styles
- Great community
- Difficult enough without combat delays
- Lack of direction
- Taking on more than one enemy at a time is impossible alone