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E3 2016: Absolver is a True-to-Form Martial Arts Game

Absolver takes fighting seriously, and that's a good thing. 


I hesitate to call Absolver a fighting game. There’s nothing flashy, showy, or particularly fantastical about it; it’s just a character action game with incredibly strong presentation ad a brutal, barebones fighting system.

“Barebones” is actually a complement in this case; the fact that Absolver isn’t at all flashy means more focus is placed solely on the core fighting and the actions of each character.

In Absolver, players fight alongside and against each other in fluid combat within a fantasy world. It reminds me vaguely pf Dark Souls, particularly because traversal felt very funneled and deliberate, driving my character onward toward their next objective and pitting them against various enemies.

Absolver is completely built around its combat, and the combat explores deep rich customization options. Individual combinations can be swapped out and choreographed to a player’s choosing, new moves can be learned, helpful items and power-ups can be obtained, and each character type has a unique special move.

As someone who has a background in several different styles of martial arts, Absolver really resonated with me. Every move I learned is a feasible, realistic attack with no frills. It’s a pragmatic, grounded experience where the emphasis is placed solely on the flow of combat and the skill of each character.

There are blocks, parries, counter attacks, and weapons in Absolver. Although these are staples in other fighting games, it didn’t feel quite as convoluted or complex as it does in others like Street Fighter and games of that ilk. Rather, I think the de-emphasis on flash and presentation made it possible for me to focus more on the events on-screen rather than attempt to follow a long, flashy sequence capped off by a ridiculous special attack.

Absolver feels like a tribute to classic martial arts films. It’s beautiful, boasting a brushed, painted style within a surrealistic, magical world and a host of fighters with specialties and stances rooted in actual fighting systems. For those who enjoy third-person combat-driven games, Absolver is definitely noteworthy. 

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