Absolver — Review

Absolver isn’t just your typical button bashing fighting game. It’s a new spin on a popular genre that adds level after level of customisation options. It’s as challenging as it is fun and takes players away from the usual combo memorization gameplay some might be used to.

Absolver feels different to other fighting games and that’s not only due to its open world setting. Despite the surrounding world disappointing me by feeling under developed, you can see there is massive potential in this game. The problem is that the potential wasn’t fulfilled as it could have been.

The game world is beautiful and this is something that catches you straight away. Like a watercolor painting brought to life, the unique art style brings character and charm to a relatively small, but acceptable open world. Levels can be complex affairs and often resulted in my getting a little lost, which could be attributed to the lack of a mini map.

The campaign in Absolver had elements that I both liked and disliked about it. The Spartan campaign was fun and interesting, although not nearly long enough. After the first couple of hours of the game, this section seemed to end abruptly and always left me wanting more. A good sign you might say, but I felt somewhat cheated of lore. I wanted to know more about this story and I feel Absolver missed a trick by not exploring the most interesting part of the campaign more.

The meat and bones of Absolver are its combat and it’s here you’ll spend most of your time in the game. Fights are fluid and free flowing affairs that look so good you could convince yourself these are either scripted or choreographed – I can assure you, they are not.

Absolver has managed to create a deep fighting mechanic filled with finesse and style. The main focus here is martial hand-to-hand combat, with the occasional use of some weapons. What Absolver excels in is the ability to hand craft your own fighting style – this is where the game truly shines.

Players are able to develop their own unique fighting style by cherry picking moves and attack they like to look or feel of. It provides a real sense of ownership all whilst encouraging you to master your hand picked moves. Absolver allows you to slowly unlock any move or attack you see an NPC or other player do. By dodging or blocking the attacks, you can learn these moves after you win the fight. It’s a simple as dragging and dropping any moves learned into your skill set.

Any moves or attacks you learn can be added to custom combo strings. All of this is coupled with four different fight stances, which relate to your player’s position when in a fight. Play your cards right and you can create some pretty devastating attacks. Each stance offers some really nice variables and provides alternative attacks for the moves you’ve learned.

Players can also use abilities that do things like knock players back or summon weapons through the use of shards after you take some damage. It’s good to know that weapons are very balanced in Absolver and using them is always a risk. Weapons can break quite easily and at times players can knock them out of your hand and use them against them. It offers a nice level of tactical play that you’d expect from a fighting game.

Currently, there are only a handful of weapons to play with. Swords and other fist weapons are on offer but the developers have stated that they plan to include some more. For now, the arsenal on offer is enough, but the soon to be an inclusion of a bow staff will help add some variety.

When you consider everything Absolver offers in the way of its combat it really does offers some unique and custom game play styles that you don’t see too often in fighting games. It allows you to play how you want and I like that.

Whether you’re facing off in it world PVP, 1-on-1 arena battles or the 60 leveled campaign you’ll essentially have four classes to choose from. Classes in the focus from things like dodging moves, absorbing attacks or parrying them. The good this is that even when you select a class you can mix and match moves from the schools.

The blocking and dodging required to learn moves can seriously slow the pace down at times and often feels tedious at times. It’s farming at its most basic and you can imagine the time it needs to learn things you really want.

There is also an issue with the leveling system in Absolver in that it doesn’t do a good job of explaining which attributes suite which combat style. It can take you a while to figure out this and by the time you’ve done that it’s frustrating to learn there is no option to respect your stats.

Absolver offers much encouragement to play with other players. Learning new moves and different play styles is much faster than it is when trying to do this against the many mini bosses in the game. It’s a welcomed encouragement as fighting other players is both fun and fair. Players fight each others in zones, which allow up to 3 players to fight a miniboss at any time and thus preventing griefing. 3 vs. 3 matches are also planned but these will come later.

Overall Absolver has some really good foundations and offers some fun and balanced fighting game play. At the moment it feels a bit like an early access game and the lack of content and other things to do can be a problem.

What Absolver offers at its best is addictive 1v1 combat that’s both polished and exciting. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this game and I couldn’t help but feel it would have benefited from a few more months of development. Absolver is definitely one for the future, but as a game right now it’s still worth your time.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.