Absolver PSX trailer and hands-on impressions

First revealed for PS4 during E3 2016, Absolver features a deep martial arts combat system with customizable combos. A brand-new trailer released during Sony’s 2016 PlayStation Experience keynote shows off the stylish moves and heavy hits that have us excited for its 2017 release.

We went hands-on with Absolver during PSX 2016 and walked away impressed. The game’s tutorial sections gently introduce you to a deep combat system that’s actually pretty easy to learn. By selecting from a host of martial arts moves across varying “styles,” you can build a unique combo with first, second, and third hits that you decide. But it’s not enough to build your combo and mash buttons. Timing your hits is critical, and the game uses a clever, responsive meter with a sweet spot that changes after each hit, challenging to stay laser-focused on proper timing.

The system is actually pretty generous, and we were able to string together stylish combos with ease. Other systems give defensive options, like quick dashes and dodging left-right, ducking, or hopping over your opponent’s leg kicks and sweeps.

It’s a thrilling, tense affair to test these skills in 1v1 PvP. At various rest points throughout the main story, you have the chance to queue up for a match against a fellow Prospect. I was able to take my opponent by surprise sprinting toward him and lowering to a sliding leg kick at the last second. That opening advantage seemed critical, as it opened the door for a couple uninterrupted combos. The feeling of impact with successive hits is incredibly satisfying. Absolver wants you to feel like combat is an art–a beautiful, decisive dance that inflicts pain. The decisive animation and sound effects help sell that idea.

Absolver is coming to PS4 in 2017. It’s in development by Sloclap, a Parisian studio comprising former Ubisoft Paris developers.