We've seen some of the great combat mechanics for Absolver here since it was first announced last year and now that it looks like the game will be hitting the PS4 and PC on August 29th now, Xbox One will get it at a later date, it is time to get a feel for how we will be using it all. This is the big selling point for the game from Sloclap and Devolver Digital so it needs to be just as good as it has looked so far. This is just why we have been given a new combat overview video for Absolver so we can get a solid taste for the gameplay and just how the combat will flow and be its own little art form in the game. At least for those who can master it all.
It looks like there are two main parts to the combat in Absolver and all stem from the player having four different stances to take out of the gate. This is all linked to the Combat Style you select from the start of the game and will affect your character's stats and give them their own special ability. There are only three mentioned here currently and this could be all that we have in Absolver when all is said and done, but the style of your character's combat isn't limited to just the basics of what is selected out of the gate.
This is where the Combat Deck comes in. Each of the four stances you will have in Absolver will have a list of attacks and moves that you will get to select and string as you please. Each with their own alternative action as well so you can quickly and freely switch between stances and keep your fighting flowing on and smooth. It looks a lot like the system that was used in Remember Me but with the ability to flow a bit in case you wanted to end a specific combination and move to something else that can be more useful. Just as good combat always should in my book.
Absolver — Combat Overview
The Combat Deck is the list of attacks that are available to the player in combat. While fighting, players can select one of four stances which correspond to their orientation relative to their enemy. In each stance, players have different attacks: a sequence of up to three attacks, and one alternative attack. Each attack starts and finishes in a specific stance, so a sequence of attacks can loop on itself, or send the player to a different stance.
With different parameters (damage, speed, range, etc.) and special properties, players can create their own unique strategy, and execute it tactically in real-time. Alternative attacks can be used during a sequence to switch to a different stance and create mix-ups.
Attacks usable in the Combat Deck are learned by fighting others in the world; by defending themselves against unknown attacks, Prospects will progressively learn them. However, if they want to acquire the Attack XP accumulated during a fight for good, they have to win that fight — otherwise the memories of that fight will be forgotten as they are folded by their mask.
A Combat Style is chosen at the beginning of the game — different styles improve different character stats, and each style has a special ability that can be used tactically during combat to gain the upper hand. For instance, with the three styles available at the start, Prospects can parry, avoid, or absorb attacks. Other Combat Styles exist in the lands of Adal besides the three styles initially available, and as they explore Raslan, Prospects can also become Mentors and teach others the subtleties of their play style. Becoming a student therefore allows Prospects to learn new combat styles, and to use their Mentor’s Combat Deck.
The depth of the combat system develops further with additional mechanics. Perfect attacks, for example, reward precise timing and flow by allowing successive attacks to chain faster and stun the enemy longer. Feints, alternatively, enable players to cancel their attacks during build-up and play mind games on their opponents. The energy within Tension Shards — glowing crystals which fill up during combat — can be used to trigger powers which can change the tide of a fight, or to draw a weapon. Weapons do more damage than bare fists, and come with their own Combat Deck, making it harder for opponents to anticipate one’s moves.
This all sounds a little limiting when you look at it with just these basics for Absolver but as it turns out, you'll be able to learn more moves and attacks in the game by fighting and watching others in the game as well as taking on a mentor. One will be a learn over time looking thing while the latter will let you gain access to other styles and moves as they teach you in Absolver. How that pans out isn't truly clear here, but it is always nice to have options and not be limited out of the gate and then wish you selected a different Combat Style from the start that fits your play style.
What do you think about the combat system in Absolver as it stands here? Does it make a lot of sense to you or will it be something that will need to be learned along the way as it looks like the game intends? Do you think if the game is a big success we could see other Combat Styles mixed in or do you think it is a balance issue as to why we have only three here? Let us know all of your thoughts and the discuss down in the comments. For more on Absolver as it is revealed, be sure to stay here on the site as we will try to bring you everything that we can before launch.