Absolver – game review.

Recently, you can get a very nice impression that middle-class games are experiencing a small renaissance, i.e. those that are larger than pixel crap and smaller than the big hits of the AAA segment. Absolver is such a production, which combines elements of a fight, For Honor and Souls. Have the French served us a good mix of genres? Let’s check!

Absolver is the debut project of the Sloclap team, a studio composed to a large extent of Ubisoft veterans. At first glance, their work of mechanics resembles the infamous For Honor, with which it primarily shares the style of the gameplay system – but this is where the similarities end. The game took a more Far Eastern direction, thus focusing on martial arts, drawing handfuls from the cultures of such countries as, for example, China.

Absolver – game review

In the production of French, we are witnessing a very mysterious ritual of initiation. The only thing we can see is that our character approaches the “master” glowing like Christmas lights and receives from him a mask charged with a certain magic, and when he puts it on, he moves to the world of Adal, where our adventure begins. We know practically nothing about the aforementioned land, and our task is to find and defeat the main three and a few minor “marked” ones. Then we will get access to the most important point in the world – the Adal Tower. There will be a “final” trial waiting for you, in the form of a duel with the beautiful and dangerous Risryn.

Absolver’s great strength is that its plot is not told directly. We have to base everything on scraps of dialogues, small cut-scenes, observations of the surroundings and, above all, our guesses. If you have associations with the Souls series at the moment, they are absolutely appropriate. However, the Sloclap team did not show such a genius as Hidetaki Miyazaki’s team. A well-done element of the whole is the story passed on to us by the environment.

Absolver – game review

We can see, among other things, petrified people who are frozen in more or less everyday poses – for example, quite close to each other are a pensive guy on the stairs and a woman peering from behind a pillar to the road. And the locations themselves hide small details that can provide further clues – for example, a painting hung in a ruined house showing a scene of the blessing of two Absolver.

In addition, each of the encountered enemies controlled by the artificial intelligence system behaves from a distance like someone very scared, lost in this mysterious place. These are the so-called “Prospects” who failed to pass the test set before them and are stuck in Adal. Or at least that’s what I came to when I thought about it. Despite the fact that there are even a lot of such details – including hidden locations and NPC tips about lore Adal, there is still a lot of this system lacking perfection.

Absolver – game review

First of all, the potential of the descriptions was not fully used. While many items contribute something to this story with their notes, the blows themselves, which are hundreds of them, do not use this solution at all. Boss fights sometimes lack a more expressive context, as each time the opponent throws a few mysterious sentences at us and for most of the game nothing comes of it. The potential for storytelling with music has also been wasted here – the melodies assigned to particular clashes, places or situations are not able to give them another context, a deeper, hidden bottom.

The story mode is only an introduction to the whole game, and it takes 4-5 hours to complete it and does not guarantee that you will learn all the flavors – this game opens to us only as our character progresses. You could even say that the first attempt will be a kind of tutorial that will introduce you to the gameplay mechanics, online connectivity, and the lags that tire Sloclap servers.

Absolver – game review

Absolver genre can be attributed to a fight with RPG elements and an online system based on rooms in the Destiny style. The most important point of production is, of course, the combat system, which the authors have constructed so that we can enjoy it and discover its secrets for weeks. When creating your character, referred to at the beginning as a simple “Prospect”, you get the option of modestly modifying its appearance and choosing one of the three combat styles available at the start.

We have Windfall, Khalt and the most demanding Forsaken at our disposal. But don’t worry about being grounded in your original choice for the rest of the world. The authors of the game included an option to learn other styles later. However, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can just create another avatar. Additionally, a fourth style known as Stagger is hidden, which is unlocked by defeating a secret boss and joining Master Rakkio’s school.

Once we decide who we want to become, we are greeted with the real meat of this work. So what’s so special about Absolver? In standard killing, each character has a certain range of movements imposed in advance, which cannot be changed at all. The Sloclap team noticed their chance and used it perfectly, because it gave us the opportunity to create our own sets of attacks, transitions and combos, with which we will fight our opponents. Everything is a bit like folding a combat deck of cards. At first, the range of behaviors is relatively limited, but this is dictated by the fact that if we want to know more, we have to start learning.

Absolver – game review

Learning is done by parrying, avoiding and absorbing individual licks, which means that if, for example, you would love to have a low spin undercut on your deck, you’ll need to find a computer-controlled rival or live player using it. We assemble our own sets by meditating – then we have access to editing all four combat positions and actions assigned to them.

This gives you an amazing spectrum of possibilities, because if you really put together the sequences and the right connectors, you’ll be able to shower your opponent with a barrage of hits. However, you have to do it wisely, because each hit has separate statistics divided into strength, speed and range, as well as additional attributes such as the moment in a given position in which it is performed or, for example, unblockability. To make this not enough, there are also magic tricks and weapons. Magic uses the so-called shards, i.e. crystals that are charged during combat – of course, each of the available tricks has a specific cost. Weapons include only swords and gauntlets, also activated with shards or picked up from the ground.

Of course, these aren’t the only items you’ll find in the world of Adal. The inventory also includes clothing. Our character can also put on a mask, blouse, outerwear, pants, shoes and other elements of armor. These also have their statistics and depending on the chosen class, we have to decide whether it is more profitable to wear light and weak things, or heavy, but giving a lot of defense. Here, too, there is a slightly irritating problem, because you cannot get rid of what you get, so it will happen more than once that you will carry 5-10 of the same tunics in your pocket.

Absolver – game review

Schools are another very interesting element. It is worth joining them, because they offer a lot of additional options, such as the fourth punch deck slot, new magic tricks, and even the possibility of accelerated learning of attacks. We can become a student mainly thanks to invitations, or we can invite our friends to school a bit. After some time, we will be able to start our own!

So far, the game has huge problems with the servers. First of all, Sloclap cheated a bit before the premiere by informing us that the rooms in the open world section will accommodate 2-6 players, it turns out that after the premiere the description was modified and currently, up to three people can run on the map! Additionally, there are still gigantic lags, so even 1v1 duels turn out to be unplayable. Well, delays also occur in the exploration mode. Fortunately, you can switch to offline mode if you want. In the video below you can see what lags occurred when the online system was in “good” condition.

To sum up, Absolver is definitely a very successful title that combines ambitious ideas, bold moves (there is practically no map in the game, so we have to find everything on our own!), Offers a very juicy end game, allows you to rediscover the same events multiple times, and to this introduces a small revolution in the form of creating your own punch decks.

Unfortunately, communication problems and a small information cheat mean that the pleasure derived from patting opponents’ masks can quickly disappear like a soap bubble. Let’s hope that Sloclap will actively support its creation with free DLCs and perhaps in the future it will enter a delicate esport, because it has enormous potential in this matter!

Absolver – game review

PS. Many thanks to AstorianHS and Tlewand players for playing the game together and providing solid substantive support!