Absolver is unlike any other game. As I was making my character, I thought about what I would experience, I watched gameplay videos and my curiosity was piqued. I also avoided information as much as I could about what I would be doing as I played the game, and now after playing the game for a few days, I’m still unsure of what I got myself in, it’s a good game, it’s also got parts of other series in its DNA and the influence is felt. Absolver is made by ex-Ubisoft Paris developers at Sloclap, and you can classify it as an online action game.
After creating your character, you are transported to the ruined world of Adal, a world teeming with danger, as well as enemies you need to defeat to gain the rank of Absolver. The varied ruins of the world feature many locales, often featuring different architecture varying with different cultural influences. As a Prospect, you must traverse these areas and master martial arts, as you explore, you will need to defeat foes who will give you trouble if you don’t learn to master your skills.
The combat In Absolver is unlike any other game I’ve played, being fully customizable as you explore the world of Adal, you will defeat enemies and unlock attribute points to increase your levels. Engaging in combat will unlock new moves by blocking, parrying, attacking and so on. The basics of combat involve light and heavy attacks, you can mix attacks that involve your directional stance, and from the moves you will unlock in your combat deck. As you, fight and depending on your fighting style, you will learn moves through encounters, eventually learning them. Altering your stance gives access to different moves that rely on different starting points for combat moves. It’s a downright fascinating system full of customization.
See, each encounter is tense, I learned the hard way that going in expecting to pummel way to victory. This isn’t the case here with Absolver, no, you’ll need to learn some patience, and to read your opponents because this is your key to survival. Building a good combat deck will also ensure your survival, as well as minding your surroundings, as enemies will not wait to attack and instead will gang up to defeat you.
Combat Trials are easily the hardest part of Absolver, pitting you against other players in arenas, you must tackle opponents that may be far above your current skill level, which in my handful of times playing, left me feeling beaten. For losing, you are given a progression star signaling some modicum of progression.
What Absolver offers in its short playtime is something you can’t find anywhere else, once the story closes, you are left with PvP content that circles around Combat Trials and online play via new martial schools as well as learning, even more, moves, of which you can learn 180 different moves to master.
There are times when I was playing I was overwhelmed with frustration at what I was dealing with, I thought it was the game and it wasn’t any fun, it is, it’s absurdly fun learning to be patient and overcome enemies by creating devastating combo decks that leave your enemies at your mercy. One you learn how to best an enemy, the sheer feeling of resolution and confidence flood back; often the trick is to be patient and persevere.
Over the last week I’ve been playing Absolver daily, and up until the most recent patch, I had little lag in-game, however, since then I’ve noticed issues when moving from area to area that slows down the experience to the point my hits are not being detected and cause me to either be defeated or simply fall off a ledge because I’m trying to dodge while blocking or parrying and retaliating. It is a nuisance that is debilitating the experience for myself, however, I know Sloclap is working on patching things like this up and adding more content to the final game as well.
The art direction is stunning and only grows on you the longer you spend time playing. Coming back to what I said earlier, the areas you’ll explore showcase the many environments of Adal, with some areas almost feeling like a painting transformed into an explorable area. Sloclap’s designs for these areas featuring some wonderful vistas, even when everything feels so empty, you’ll notice how beautiful it all is, even down the details of the world, how grass sways, the flowers moving along.
I’m happy that the world is so full of detail, Absolver is bare-bones in the story department and is reminiscent of Dark Souls, what I mean by that is how little you’re told and how little text there is in the game. Instead, you’re left to your own devices and must put the story together to fill in the gaps. As I’m sure of it, Absolver will have a divisive fan base those who like it, and those who hate it for what it is. Sloclap’s first game is a rewarding, tough, and stellar outing that doesn’t want to hold your hand.