Sloclap’s Absolver is definitely one of the more unique games of 2017, and also, one of the more unheard of. While they market this game pretty hard, I wouldn’t be surprised if you started reading this and asked me what the heck is this about. Well fellow readers, let’s get right into my impression on Absolver.
What You Need to Know
Absolver is an online martial arts RPG-like game available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You assume the role of the Prospect, who is chosen to enter the path of the Absolver, signified by the mask each character dons. After a quick starting cutscene, you are sent on your journey to prove your worthiness of joining the previously mentioned Absolver peacekeeper group in the fallen empire of Adal. Don’t fret, it’s really simple.
On your journey, you are to face a bunch of bosses and mini bosses, in order to unlock a huge door. Better start training!
The best way I’ve seen other reviewers describe Absolver is that it’s a combo of Dark Souls, Street Fighter, and a little bit of For Honor. That’s some pretty high company this title has to live up to.
Upon starting Absolver, you create your character, name said character, and choose a style for your character. There are three styles to choose from, with each offering a different bonus. I choose the Foresaken style, which allows you parry an attack. The other classes are the Kahlt, who can absorb attacks and Windfall, which allows you to avoid attacks. It’s a tough choice to make, with each offering a different combat experience.
Following the cutscene I mentioned, you are sent into the world to train. Combat is tense and fluid; you chain light and heavy attacks while blocking your opponents attacks. Your character has a stamina bar that you must manage. Each time you defeat an opponent you gain health back, and gain experience which this is distributed between a bunch of different characteristics such as endurance, vitality, strength. Does that sound familiar?
What separates this game from the rest of the pack is the ability to modify your combat deck. You are given a deck which contains attack combos. You can modify said combo to include different attacks, for example, your basic punching combo can end with a deadly kick. You can also learn new combos through combat. Each time an enemy attacks you, as long as you are blocking, you will fill up a little bar that shows you are learning their technique. As long as you don’t die, upon victory you will have learned the technique and can attach it to any of your combos.
You also learn a variety of techniques upon defeating bosses. The techniques range from stunning an opponent to increasing their stamina consumption. These abilities consume shards, which you gain during combat. Players can also discover weapons such as swords that can be picked up from the world or gained through progression. Be wary as they can break or an opponent can disarm you if they deal a lot of damage to you! However, if you own the weapon it doesn’t break for good.
There is a PvE element in the game, as you encounter players seamlessly in a manner similar to Destiny. It is a lot easier as you can send an invitation to join someone, they answer, and you join their party in an instant. Upon joining a party, you are free to take on the world and kick behind. It also makes the game a lot easier as later areas will through goons at you with no remorse. Be wary that there is friendly fire in PvE, which is very questionable. There is PvP in the game as you can take your Prospect online to face other Prospects.
I was excited when midnight came, and Absolver was available to play. I had to wait until 10 in the morning to play because Sloclap was having server issues. Not a good start to their release. I went to watch The Defenders, and went to bed after learning the servers weren’t coming up anytime soon.
Fast forward, and I launched Absolver, connected, set up my character (Master Roshi is his name by the way), and set off on my journey. One thing that I immediately noticed is how good the game looks. It gives me a Dishonored-esque vibe with it’s interesting art style. The combat is stunning to watch as your character flips and lands satisfying punches and kicks.
I progressed a little bit, and before I knew it, my behind was getting kicked in. One thing the reviewers will stress to you is that this isn’t a button masher, and even though I button mash (because I’m an a-hole), you will get a severe beat down if you don’t use your abilities and think strategically. Stamina drains fast no matter how high leveled your Stamina attribute is, so be smart about it. You will often find yourself surrounded by two or more enemies, and this isn’t the Souls series where you can cheese them to draw one out. If one sees you, the rest will run at you too.
The server issues are very annoying, as expected, but this title is brand spanking new, so expect to have some issues. Sloclap is working as hard as they can to nullify server issues.
I will say that PvE made the game slightly easier. You can go through the whole game in PvE except the major bosses must be conquered by yourself, which is also questionable to me. PvP is a sweat fest as you can imagine. With the combat deck customization, players can assemble broken combos that will put the hurt on you in a hurry. The first PvP match I joined was on a map with edges that a player can be kicked off of and die. As you can also imagine, my opponent tried using a technique that would push me back when I close to the edge. It was borderline spam, and even though I won, I want you readers to be prepared for what you will encounter.
One of my complaints is the length. The main goal is to become an Absolver, and you must defeat a bunch (I think it’s 10) bosses to unlock a bigger door to fight the last boss and complete your goal. I did that pretty quickly. Once you do that, you can revisit old bosses, join schools, play again with a different character, and that’s about it. Sloclap has said they are going to add more to the game post launch, but at the moment it is a little barebones.
Now comes the moment of truth. I enjoyed my playthrough; it’s Dark Souls lite x Karate Kid minus the story. It feels so good to build up your Prospect to be a bad mama jamma. By game’s “end” I just felt like I could conquer the world, and it makes me interested to see what Sloclap is going to add later on. I do hope they maybe add another area to the game with more bosses, but I can only dream.
Have you tried Absolver? Are you one the fence young grasshopper? Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are.