Absolver is the Loot-Dropping, Co-Operative Brawler You Never Knew You Needed

Absolver is the Loot-Dropping, Co-Operative Brawler You Never Knew You Needed

Dom Peppiatt

Absolver is the latest title from Devolver Digital that channels all the best bits of brawlers, fighting games and co-op adventures, and somehow molds them into one of the most satisfyingly unique games we've had the pleasure of playing in preview at E3.

Absolver's core mechanic is that you can build a 'deck' of physical attacks using moves derived from a variety of martial arts. To add more moves to this deck, you have to see them in action in the world: if you block them or get hit by them, a small meter will build per move, so the more combat you involve yourself in, the more varied a movepool you're going to have by the end of the game.

Once you've got some good moves under your proverbial belt, you can start assigning them to combo strings. There are four stances in the game, depending on the way you're facing your enemies, and each will have a dedicated combo string attached - if you know an opponent doesn't like to block low, you can get in with your back left stance, for example, but then you know that might end in a forward right stance, so from there you could set up your combo to be an aggressive, guard-breaking measure.

It may sound pretty complex, but once you're in the game it all becomes really easy to get your head around thanks to a brilliantly communicative but unintrusive UI, and a menu system that feels like it really wants to help you understand the game. Once you've managed to get the rhythm of the fighting down, too (and rhythm is important, you can't just button mash) you'll see the game's animations, fluidity and style all come into their own.

Throw in a couple of block, parry and dodge mechanics and you've got a game that feels like it's got more in common with Tekken or an ArcSys game than any traditional brawler. That's no bad thing - the 3D world is wonderfully stylised and the mechanics are an absolute dream to play with, so seeing the brawler brought to life like this really is a breath of fresh air.

Fighting through lush worlds against increasingly tenacious enemies might be the core mechanic, but the gameplay loop relies on loot drops and RNG a bit to keep things interesting. Every cosmetic element of your fighter can be customised with gear that comes with different stats and rarities (hello Destiny!) and the loot drops will be unique to each player in the game if you're going in co-op.

This encourages partnership and camaraderie - as does the mechanic where a player that's learning a move can then help a buddy learn that move on their character, too. So many simple ideas woven together makes Absolver a very, very exciting prospect.

If you want to see more of the game in action, take a look at our hands-on preview below. We sat down with a developer as he talked us through the game, and now we present that to you:

ready yourself for battle when the online melee fighter launches for PS4 on 29th August 2017 and will come to Xbox One at an unspecified later date, too.

  • I loooved Zeno Clash so naturally I want to get my hands on this. Pun intended.
  • seems like a good concept we'll have to wait and see the final product.
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