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Review: Absolver is Dark Souls mixed with martial arts style gameplay

04 Sep 2017

Absolver is a new martial arts style of RPG that has been heavily inspired by the Dark Souls franchise. It's long, hard yet satisfying when you manage to get used to its complex style of gameplay. 

Much like in the Dark Souls video games, the narrative is minimal and it's up to you to find out what the story is about. At the start of the game, you are chosen to go on a journey to earn the ultimate rank of 'Absolver'. In order to do that, you just need to venture out and beat up as many people as you can see. 

You are free to be able to customise your character in Absolver. As you play through the game, you can earn equipment to use by defeating the many enemies that stand in your way. You can also learn many new moves by successfully blocking/parrying opponents too. 

The gameplay itself is somewhat enjoyable, although it's not a game that beginners will be able to master. This is a game where you are unable to mash the buttons and hope for the best. You actually need to know how the gameplay works before you are able to beat the bosses successfully. 

The combat is fun as there is a mix of quick and strong attacks that you can do. You can also block opponents and evade their attacks as well. The A.I. is quite impressive in this game too because every opponent has the ability to block and evade your attacks.  

Things get even harder when you try and tackle the many bosses that populate the gaming world. Bosses have large life bars and are able to hit you much more difficult than the other enemies. Not to mention they are much harder for you to hit as they pretty much evade your attacks more quickly. 

In order to succeed in this game, it's key to upgrade the right kind of stats to suit your own preferences. I opted to make sure my strength and health were the best. That said, you may need to upgrade other areas to defeat the hard foes that lie ahead. 

Much like in the Dark Souls video games, the combat is kind of slow and you need to conserve stamina. If you don't conserve your stamina, your enemies are sure to beat you to a bloody pulp. 

Speaking of beating people up, the bosses aren't the only enemies you have to look out for. There are multiple A.I. and human players out there challenging you to fights as well. Things can get very chaotic when two or three people jump you all at once. It gets really hard facing more than one opponent at a time. 

The thing I don't like about the game though is the lack of direction and purpose. You are just thrust into this open-world environment where you have to guess what to do and where you need to go. There is a lot of backtracking and trial and error when you are exploring the land. 

The other thing that annoys me is the lack of a mini map on the HUD. The only time you can see a map is when you reach a checkpoint. After that, you need to remember where you are required to go. An addition of a mini map would have been better to let players know if they are entering a new area or not. 

Graphically, this game looks okay but it's not the best looking PS4 title out there. It pretty much uses the same game engine as many other indie titles. Disappointingly, the game also lacks any type of memorable music. Some catchy music would make exploring the land less tedious. 

Overall, Absolver is an ambitious game that fans of martial arts and Dark Souls will appreciate. It has tough gameplay and isn't a button masher. The only things that hold it down is the lack of direction and somewhat boring atmosphere. 

Verdict: 6.5/10

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