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Absolver Review

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Gameplay:

The real meat of this game is of course its gameplay and there are some things I could say about it, but I want to first say this for context. I am not a very precise gamer, so games that require exact timing and chaining specific combos are not exactly my thing. There were definitely times I was quite frustrated by Absolver, but for a lot of it, that is what it comes down to. I can be a patient, even very patient, gamer, but precision is more a challenge for me, so when this game demanded precision it would get me frustrated and make me want to stop. I should not really hold that against the game because it is also dependent on the kind of gamer I am. Also playing offline helps some, as it removes any external lag. I just played some to test this and the fight I got in was much easier to tackle than others I have had when online.

There is, however, one criticism I have that is on the game and does not fall to the kind of gamer you are. Absolver could really, really use a better map system, possibly including a minimap. All it offers currently is if you stop at an Altar a silhouette view of the map comes up with a green dot for where you are. Imagine a mall's map with the 'You Are Here!' dot, but without any of the shops labelled or even drawn on it, so you have no landmarks. There is no scale for a sense of distance or compass for sense of direction. The game tells you there are specific enemies to fight and puts large dots on the map for where they are, but they might as well not have a map because there is so little information provided with what it has. For example, in one region there is an altar next to one of these dots and it still took me a significant amount of time to find the target. Of course it did not help that apparently the target is not always there for some reason.

All the other complaints I might have come down to how difficult the game is, with enemies having a seemingly endless pool of stamina to pummel you with and sizeable health pools. After that fight in Offline mode, my opinion has softened some as potentially that difficulty is a result of some input lag distancing my intended attacks from the in-game attacks, making it seem more difficult than it is meant to be.

 

 

Mentioning Offline mode just now reminded me of something I do want to mention. I have observed in some other online games I play or have played that brief disconnects are often handled differently. Sometimes you are kicked when you rejoin and other times you are just moved to a safe zone, unless you reconnect very quickly. In Absolver you are not kicked but free to move around, though naturally for the time you are offline you are unable to interact with your surroundings. This was rather nice to see as I have not been able to track down why my connection does seem to drop intermittently.

Oh, actually I just remembered another criticism I have, as I look at my notes, and possibly this is something Offline mode will help with, but I think it is still a fair criticism regardless. You can parry in the game, but honestly I am probably never going to bother to because it is awkward. To parry you need to jerk the mouse in the direction of the in-coming attack, a motion I find rather awkward and inaccurate. I wish instead this could be mapped to a pair of buttons, such as the forward and back buttons on my mouse, or any other button because it is in the nature of buttons that they are more reliable and accurate than a mouse motion. With how short a window of time the parry is effective for (which is the aspect of this Offline mode might help with) I want that accuracy. As it is, I will probably forget I can parry.

No other criticisms are coming to mind, so I will just describe some more of the game's features.

While the idea of the game is melee combat, you are not just punching and kicking your enemies. As you fight you collect Tension in shards and it can be spent for special abilities and even to draw out weapons. You can also find weapons in the environment and while they are nice to have, I do not think I will really draw on them much, except perhaps to take them away from an enemy. The abilities can be more useful, and currently I have the healing ability and shield ability slotted. The healing ability grants a small burst of health and then slowly gives you more for a time. The shield ability appears to just add an amount of armor to you, as you still take damage, but it is reduced. Both of these abilities take a few beats to apply, so be careful when you try to activate them, lest you just open yourself up to attacks.

While I have not gotten into the depth of the combat deck for optimizing my strategy, I have been using feints a fair amount, as it seems to be the only weakness for some enemies. This causes them to use their defenses at the wrong time, letting you come in a beat later to actually beat them. This is definitely something that felt easier to perform in Offline mode than Online, as it does require correct timing.

 

 

When you get surrounded by a number of enemies, strategy does not seem to matter that much because you will probably be overwhelmed. At least this is what has happened to me when there are suddenly three or four of the mobs coming at me at the same time. At least there does not seem to be too much of a penalty on dying, so being surrounded and pounded on could be worse.

One last thing I want to mention is that you cannot swim. There is fall damage too, but you want to avoid water as best you can, unless you are going to push an enemy into it.

That is all I have for the gameplay currently and I wish I could say more, but I am too lost to advance. The map issue is too significant for me to overcome because I have no idea how to find the enemies I have left to fight. Despite running around all over where they are supposed to be, I have not found them and do not even know if I was in the correct area or if they are over some because the map at the Altars are that uninformative.

If not for that issue, I would probably be sinking more time into the game (though also probably in Offline mode), but for now I am just thankful that it seems the fun character of the game is quick to discover. It is a fun game, but it does have some flaws. The significance of those flaws will be completely dependent on the player.




  1. Absolver Review - Introduction
  2. Absolver Review - Graphics
  3. Absolver Review - Gameplay
  4. Absolver Review - Additional Gameplay Screenshots
  5. Absolver Review - Conclusion
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