I absolutely love those moment when I discover a game that I’ve somehow heard nothing about, even though it’s been announced for a while, which looks really, really good. I always feel this wonderful mix of guilt and excitement: guilt that I wasn’t keeping up on things as well as I probably should have been, and excitement in having a new game over which I am going to devour every morsel of information I possibly put my hands on.
Last night, I had one of these moments when I discovered Absolver, a new RPG Brawling Adventure game from Sloclap, being published with the help of Devolver Digital. I might be excused from missing the relatively recent announcement of Absolver last month and just going along my merry way, but there’s enough mystery surrounding Absolver’s setting and so many great mechanics at play that I think it warrants me geeking out.
Absolver puts players behind the mask of a Prospect, who has taken a sacred vow and chosen to join the Absolvers, an elite corps of combatants fighting to maintain stability in the world.
In the ruins of the fallen Adal Empire, you awaken with a mysterious mask on your face, and faint recollections of an esoteric ceremony. Freeing you from hunger, thirst, and even death, the mask is the creation of the Guides, the rulers of these lands, who have placed you here to determine whether you are worthy of becoming part of the elite corps of Absolvers. As you wander these forsaken lands, encountering other Prospects like you, you will learn new combat styles, acquire weapons, gear and armor, and build a team of warriors with whom to fight side by side in Arenas of combat.
Battles between warriors are an intense real-time flow of attacks, dodges, feints and counters, with all aspects of gameplay customizable, including combat styles, weapons and even individual attack sequences in the player’s Combat Deck.
Build a team of warriors to fight side by side with you in the dungeon mines of Adal (PvE) or put your skill on display in dedicated combat arenas (PvP) scattered across the land.
The setting of Absolver seems vast and mysterious, and has me incredibly excited. Almost excited as the fact that this game is Dark Souls mashed together with Zeno Clash and Journey in terms of gameplay.
Absolver is a brawler, where you’ll determine your fighter’s equipment, fighting style and moves as you progress, sublimenting martial arts with weapons and magic abilities we very little about at this point. This seems to play like a fuller version of Zeno Clash polished to a glowing shine. Zeno Clash, for the unaware, is a surreal indie brawler published by ACE Team . It was all in first person, but you essentially boxed your way through a surreal landscape and story, occasionally using weapons. I love Zeno Clash to death, even if it’s kind of a mess at times, but the setting is so utterly bizarre that I couldn’t help but explore it and gasp in wonder. While Absolver hasn’t turned the surrealism up to 11 like Zeno Clash did, the brawling, adventurous spirit seems to be very much alive and kicking (ho ho, puns!).
What could elevate Absolver far beyond Zeno Clash, in my opinion, is the almost Dark Souls-esq style of multiplayer that seems to be on display. While adventuring through Absolver, you’ll be encountering other players along your journey, making friends or enemies as you progress, and depending on their whims and abilities. Eventually, you’ll be teaming up with the allies you meet to take on PVE Dungeons or PVP tournaments.
I like that Absolver seems to have gone for the ambiguous “Am I a friend, or am I an enemy?” mentality as opposed to the “I’m Red; thus, I will kill you. That Blue Guy will defend you though” style of Dark Souls PVP and PVE. I love the Dark Souls PVP scene, but ambiguity and the human factor are a lot of fun (See the Moundmakers in Dark Souls III), and only add to the mystery and tension of Absolver’s setting.
It’s Zeno Clash meets Dark Souls with a dash of Journey, and that’s an exciting recipe I can’t wait to try.
Absolver is currently slated to release in 2017 on PC and Consoles.