Absolver preview: Tekken meets Dishonored via World of Warcraft

Chris Stead 27 May 2016 NEWS


Devolver Digital and Slowcap have announced the online combat RPG Absolver, expected on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Indie video game publisher Devolver Digital has revealed it will work with rookie developer Slowcap to release an exciting new project called Absolver. The launch trailer is skint on details, leaving a small official blurb and some choice marketing words in the wake of a stylistic onslaught of melee combat. The game will make its full debut at E3 2016, but here is our understanding of the gameplay from what I’ve experienced thus far.

The game will be broken into two halves; an arena based player vs. player competitive mode and a co-op, player vs. environment experience where you and friends fight through AI foes in a bid to escape the mines of Adal. In the former, it appears that 3v3 battles are on the cards, with fast combat fluidly unfolding in real-time. However, it also seems like the two modes may be linked through a hub of sorts.

I’m told players encounter each other and can decide to come to blows, or trade loot, or even teach other new moves – these interactions would seem to be separate from the two previously mentioned modes. Quite intriguing.

The game has a distinct visual style that recalls Dishonored and looks very pretty for an indie project. While the 3D combat is not too dissimilar to a Tekken. Where Absolver further seeks to distinguish itself is in its RPG elements, with customisation options said to go beyond just weapons and costumes, and into the moveset itself. As players proceed they gain access to new moves and weapons that they can use to alter their combat style. Combat Decks can also be earned (or bought – that’s unclear) and they provide new action sequences, which I take to mean preset special move animations and effects.

It will be very interesting to see how the game retains its balance when players of different levels are matched given the RPG levelling and customisation systems layered on-top of the melee combat. There will be magic, too, although these ranged and area-of-effect offensive tools are not the focus – the developer has been clear about this being a melee experience first and foremost. I’m also intrigued about how, in the player vs. environment mode, you transition between areas. Do you walk through like an action-RPG, coming across enemies and exploring for pick-ups, or do you leap from arena to arena?

The game has been announced for PC and consoles at this stage, and while the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are safe bets, the Nintendo Switch is also a possible inclusion given the 2017 release date. If the rumours are true, the ease of porting the game across to the Switch will be a no-brainer.

Who is Slowcap?

While this is developer Slowcap’s first game, the studio is made up of experienced coders from the Ubisoft stable. They’re based out of Paris, France.

Who is Devolver Digital?

An indie game publisher formed in 2009 and working out of Austin, Texas. Originally focused on bigger retail-released titles like Serious Sam, in recent years, it has moved more towards downloadable titles for consoles, PC and mobile – including the blockbuster Downwell. Some of its notable releases include:

  • Serious Sam series
  • Hotline Miami
  • Shadow Warrior 2
  • Olli Olli
  • The Talos Principle
  • Titan Souls
  • Ronin
  • Downwell
  • Broforce

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