Of all the fighting games I’ve played so far, Absolver stands out in many ways. And just to make it clear, Absolver is not a fighting game like Street Fighter, but more like For Honor, only with a greater focus on hand to hand combat rather than weapons. It’s purely melee based combat. What makes it stand out is the immense depth to its combat system, and the sheer satisfaction in trying to learn and master it.
You play as one of many prospects who has been tasked to go forth and fight bosses in the world. You pick a class of fighting and keep learning new skills and moves that compliment your style of combat. The single player campaign is short, and the story is confusing. It’s essentially a lengthy training mission, and does an excellent job of teaching you the intricacies of Absolver’s combat.
And what a fantastic combat system it is. There are the basic attacks, dodges and parries. And then there are the stances. The way you position your body defines the animation that’s executed by your next move, be it blocking or attacking. You can take on a more defensive stance or be aggressive and take up an offensive one. Either options are viable, and knowing what to use where is key to winning. You learn moves by fighting new bosses and adapting their skills into your own.
You can also learn from fighting against other players in the game’s seamless multiplayer. Blocking attacks helps you learn them, and it’s often advisable to let the enemy perform some attacks to see if there’s something there that you want to learn. You sort the moves you want to use into a ‘Combat Deck’, and these remain active for the session. These can be mixed and matched as you see fit, and the level of customization here is really impressive. You can switch them out as suits your style. It’s really interesting to see how other players have sorted their combat decks, and learning from it is satisfying.
Absolver also looks fantastic. It’s both in the visual aesthetic and the gorgeous locales. This is a fascinating world that I would love to explore even outside of the combat. The same goes for the excellent sound design that really makes ever punch feel weighty, and dodges feel quick and sneaky.
Absolver is probably one of the most unique games I’ve ever played. It takes the simple idea for brawlers and layers tons of complexity on top of it. There’s not a lot to the single player, but it does a great job of teaching you the mechanics. The multiplayer is the meat of the game, and it’s incredibly addicting and satisfying.