This is NOT a review
So a little over a week ago, a video game called "Absolver" finally launched. It was something that I was anticipating to check out. While it is pretty much what I was looking for (competition wise), I think it might not stay alive for very long if things stay the way they are right now.
In my opinion, the best aspect of the game is the PvP. Although the sound effects could be much more satisfying, the core gameplay is solid and enjoyable. The variety of the fights keeps you on your toes all the time and keeps it fresh. Building your own move lists (Combat Decks) and theorycrafting is something I personally enjoy a great deal and Absolver doesn't disappoint with that.
The graphics aren't the prettiest there is, but that doesn't actually bother me, at all. To me, it's more like a different artistic approach rather than a negative thing. Also, them being a small development team, I'd rather want them to focus on the game mechanics than the graphics.
Then to the more important points of this post, which is the negative aspects and things that need to be tweaked or added.
One of the worst things about Absolver is it's PvE, and to be more specific, the solo PvE. I consider myself to be a pretty competent in fighting games but I was still having a tough time beating the NPCs, so I can only imagine the struggle the less experienced players are going through.
This is a strong statement coming from myself, but I think that the solo PvE of Absolver is one of the most unfair systems I've experienced in a while. Don't get me wrong, I welcome a challenge any day, it's what I find enjoyable in video games, but I don't think this is a healthy system.
There aren't many opportunities to get into 1v1 fights and learn the game and the fighting system because the aggro-range is so massive in this game. I think one of the issues that cause the unfairness, is the stamina system. Other is the over aggressiveness of the A.I. Changing the stamina system for PvE is not likely to happen because of the presence of other people on the map, so I think that tuning the A.I would be the better solution.
The stamina system is the following: When you attack or block, you lose stamina. If you successfully use the defensive ability of your class (parry/dodge/absorb), you'll gain a little bit of stamina back.
All this works fine when in 1v1 combat but it starts to fall apart against multiple NPCs.
Even if you throw out a single jab, then the other NPCs almost immediately start attacking you. This means that you need to block or use your defensive ability. If you block, you lose stamina really fast and when you're out of stamina, you start taking hits. If you evade/parry/absorb, you can avoid one or two hits but for the rest of the NPC's attacks, you either need to block again or take hits.
This leads to a scenario where the best thing to do is a hit-and-run tactic, and even that doesn't work that efficiently if the A.I decides to not eat the hit, which leads to again, blocking or taking hits.
The biggest thing that I think Absolver needs, is a competitive ladder/leaderboard system. Winning a match is always nice, but without it giving a concrete feedback of your progress and status compared to other people, it doesn't keep people interested nowadays. Competitive ladder systems are almost required in today's gaming world, so it baffles me that they haven't implemented anything like that yet. The importance of a system like that is something that they should've recognized.
The peak of players playing on steam today has been 4257 and the Twitch numbers are currently at 200~. I understand that Twitch numbers aren't necessarily the best kind of metric to measure things and it also depends on who is streaming the game at the moment. Still, the numbers show a pretty bad downhill trend for the game.
I'm afraid that if they won't do something soon, the game will die surprisingly quick. Which is truly a shame, since the game has potential to be successful even in the competitive scene.