“...combat system is incredibly satisfying and strategic.”
October 28, 2017 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Absolver: A martial arts-focused take on the Dark Souls formula that more than hits its mark [Polygon] “Absolver is a game about martial arts, but it also follows many of the philosophies inherent to martial arts [YouTube][Trailer]— especially the concept of focus. Developed by Sloclap, a team composed of former Ubisoft Paris developers, Absolver has received early comparisons to recent popular action role-playing games, such as the Dark Souls series. While there’s no denying some shared DNA in Absolver, it also has a feel and a tone that are very much all its own. That tone is, above all else, focused. Directed. Though ambitious, Absolver doesn’t let itself get caught up in trying to shove in too many details or make things too complicated. It’s about one thing — proving your hand-to-hand skills by beating up other “prospects” — and it does that one thing incredibly well.”

• 'Absolver' Is a New Approach to Fighting Games in a Genre Desperate For It [Waypoint]
“I love fighting games, but I'm tired of going through the motions of learning a new character's move set and then figuring out the right time to deploy a counter. I've done it for years and I'm bored with it. Give me something different. I want strange brawlers with interactive environments like Power Stone. Give me the Def Jam series, where rappers beat up Henry Rollins. Competitive fighting games require precise input and high level skill ceilings, but I want the odd controls and strange damage systems of EA's Fight Night boxing games. Give me something new. Absolver is exactly what I was looking for. This is a game for people who love fighting games but tire of chasing the tournament scene.”
• 'Absolver wastes little time on anything but the combat, its shining star.' [Kotaku]
“Absolver’s combat system feels reminiscent of many different games, from God Hand to Dark Souls, but it adds its own influence to develop something fresh. There are only two attack buttons in Absolver, mapped to a regular attack and an alternative attack. What kind of attack those two buttons deliver changes based on the fighter’s stance, changed by holding the right trigger and rotating the right thumbstick. A backwards-left attack could be a jab, while forward-right could be a spinning elbow or hammer kick. Each strike moves you to a new position, forming a stream of attacks that links together into combinations.”
• 'Martial artistry'. [Gamespot]
“There's a rhythmic beauty to the way the action flows that's entirely predicated on your timing. Button mashing is out of the question here; this is a graceful dance to the death, with thunderous uppercuts and balletic roundhouse kicks taking the place of pirouettes and allegros. When you perfect the timing of a sequence, it almost feels too good to be true, like you're part of an elaborately choreographed fight scene. You start mixing in deceptive feints to throw off your opponent's timing before striking back with brutal counter-attacks, and using dodges or parries to swiftly keep out of harm's way, while always being mindful of an ever-depleting stamina bar that governs every action. There's a palpable sense of weight to each sundering blow, too, so it feels satisfying when a forceful attack connects with a bone-shattering impact.”
• 'Absolver is too fun for me to stay away from, even when it hurts me.' [PC Gamer]
“Absolver is an attempt to synthesize contradictions into something new—a third-person RPG with gear and leveling that's also a competitive fighting game, a Journey-like meditation that's constantly violent—and the result is a strangely shaped game. It takes place in a small, maze-like open world littered with AI enemies who are tethered to their posts, always silently waiting for someone to wander by for a fight. It's more gloomy than mysterious, quiet and still. There are dead ends, empty areas with no enemies, and confusing circular routes that had me mashing every key to find a map, though none came up.”
posted by Fizz (3 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
There are a ton of Dark Souls-esque games have been released within the last few years. They all take that core game design and run with it (The Surge, Nioh, Salt and Sanctuary, Soul Sacrifice).

Absolver is one of the more unique twists on that formula and I love its emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and its deck building of martial-arts moves that you can play with. You also still have plenty of PVP to enjoy if that's your bag.
posted by Fizz at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2017

Dang. I've never played a video game and I'm many years removed from my dojo days, but this sure is tempting.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:47 AM on October 28, 2017

I gotta say, I was pretty sour on this game. Once you play the pretty scant single player campaign all that's left are the Combat Trials, which are PVP. I stink to high heaven at the game compared to other players. After an hour or two of losing every match I put the game away thinking I would never play it again.

This latest update has changed all that though. First, unrelated to the update, I joined a random player's School. The deck, while not so overpowered that I win every match, is decent enough that I'm getting about a 50/50 win/loss ratio. Add on top of that the fixing of the loot system (I can delete/sell duplicate items!) and I think I'm back in. I still suck at the game but it doesn't feel quite as brutal and pointless as it did at first.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:53 PM on October 30, 2017

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