Absolver: Become a Masked Martial Arts Master

I love it when a game takes mechanics from some of my favorite games and are mixed into one game. That is the case of Absolver, which mixes some Dark Souls mechanics with mechanics from For Honor. The game is a martial arts rpg where you can either fight players or computers.

The story is nothing too fantastic, which is an utter shame. You are a person who is trying to pass a trial and become an Absolver. Certain characters throughout the game are also trying to find their place in the world and that’s it. There was an update that expanded on the ingame story a lot which was a good thing, but it’s a shame because if I got this game when it was first released, I would have to wait a year for the story to actually become satisfying.

Alpha images of Absolver. The only thing that had a major change was some aesthetic things.

Where Absolver shines is the gameplay. The game is in a semi-open world that is filled with enemies. You run somewhat clunkily, but it gets you where you need to go. The combat is truly magnificent. There are 3 basic combat styles, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Each combat style also has its own special ability, whether it be a certain type of dodge, block, or stagger. The combat is very similar to For Honor, with there being an attack wheel, which decides the types of attacks that are being thrown out. You also have two different attack buttons, the heavy and the normal. Heavy attacks can usually cause enemies to stagger or bring down their stamina gauge. The stamina gauge is used for running, dodging, and attacking.  Now armor in the game is a strength and a weakness. It builds up your resistance against blades and knuckle based weapons but they weaken your strength and lower your speed. The parts that seem like Dark Souls, are the leveling system and exploring system. Playing the game reminded me of my early days of Dark Souls, when I would go through hordes of enemies and then reach the area boss just to die a few times and then beat him with cheap tactics. There are a fair amount of issues I had with the gameplay, though. One thing is that speed is only determined by the armor you have on, which makes it hard later in game. Also, sometimes the game feels sluggish and fights could feel like they are unfairly curved towards your side or the opponent’s.

The graphics of Absolver are an interesting thing to talk about. The game is designed stylistically to have low graphics. I find this amusing and enjoy it while others could find it annoying.

Absolver is a game that I can honestly say isn’t for everyone. It is one of my favorite Dark Souls-like games but there are just too many issues for it to be considered great by any means. The most I can give this game is a 6.5 out of 10. Its combat is fun and unique, but it can get slow and annoying (and make you feel like a loser after a while).