Fans of souls-like and hack-and-slash games will revel in the combat experience offered by Abyss World. This category, previously dominated by From Software and Capcom with titles like Bloodborne and Devil May Cry, is now embraced by Abyss Studio. By crafting its own world and incorporating the familiar combat style of Devil May Cry with the challenges of Dark Souls, Abyss World transports you to a new battlefield ripe for conquest. The game has impressively positioned itself as one of the best alpha versions I've encountered, sparking anticipation for its further development.
The demo build we tested differed slightly from the streamed version we were shown. While we couldn't test the streamed version, the demo did an excellent job of introducing the combat system and various enemy types. The streamed version boasted a storyline complete with missions, elite mobs, boss fights, and a difficulty bar to adjust the toughness of AI opponents. It also featured a missing mode from the demo that allowed you to pit one of four AI enemy bosses against each other.
This mode not only helped players familiarize themselves with specific enemy attacks and combat mechanics but also provided an engaging spectacle. The demo, however, lacked these features. Instead, it functioned more as a timed tutorial, acquainting you with different mob types and demonstrating the speed and difficulty of boss fights. Rather than the expansive world presented in the streamed version, the demo confined you to a medieval-style castle to battle hordes of monsters and soldiers.
The graphics are stunning, with the scenery alone showcasing the beautifully crafted terrain. The world, seemingly overrun by evil, relies on you, the last soldier standing for good, to confront this malevolence head-on. The demo brilliantly situates the player amidst a corrupted skyline and ruins scattered across the map, providing the perfect setting for these encounters. Notably, the demo also includes small puzzles that must be solved to progress through the level—an engaging feature we hope to see in the full release. The level's intricate details can be overwhelming, but they also enhance player engagement. This level of detail isn't the only reason for the game's excellence, but it certainly contributes to its overall appeal.
The combat system of Abyss World revives the exhilarating essence absent from games since 2010-2016, a golden era for hack-and-slash titles like God of War 3, Dante's Inferno, and Devil May Cry on platforms like PS3 and Xbox 360. Also influenced by From Software's challenging masterpieces such as Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne, Abyss World amalgamates the best elements of these genres into one fluid, satisfying system. This captivating gameplay captures the complexity of Dark Souls 3's boss battles and the combo chaining fun of Devil May Cry, truly embodying the spirit of an action RPG.
The combat system primarily revolves around two attack types: light attack and rage-induced heavy attack. The light attack lets you perform a two to three-move combo, whereas the rage-induced heavy attack allows more complex combos inflicting greater damage. From heavy swings to dash attacks, the varied combos can swiftly end a fight or annihilate an enemy within seconds. Alongside this engaging combat system, dodging is a must for victory. Unique to Abyss World is the parrying system, where parries are executed by clashing with the enemy's weapon simultaneously, a technique typically found in games like Mordhau or Chivalry.
Now, let's delve into the AI. As with any souls-like or RPG game, the enemy AI must be fine-tuned to enhance the player's experience. The demo serves as an excellent tutorial, introducing players to various enemy types, ranging from ghouls and soldiers to massive giants and evil-turned soldiers. The AI is brilliantly crafted, with enemies detecting the player through sound and following specific attack patterns. However, their attack timing can vary, making it challenging to find the perfect moment to strike. A clever feature of the game is that enemies can damage each other if caught in the crossfire, providing strategic depth to the combat.
However, the standout feature is the climactic boss fight in the demo. The boss, a skilled and acrobatic knight with eyes filled with rage, delivers brutal and unforgiving combo attacks. His attack patterns shift dynamically, punishing any lapse in player attention. A successful fight requires perfect dodging and a keen eye for attack patterns. The boss fight alone took me 10-15 minutes in my first 20-minute playthrough. Even subsequent attempts did not significantly reduce this time until I had thoroughly mastered the game's combat system.
Does the game's demo appear overly challenging due to its unique combat mechanics? This might be the case, given that parrying or "blocking" an attack hinges on your own attack. Often, an enemy can strike before you recover from the parry of the initial attack, forcing the player to rely heavily on dodges. For a game that leans so much on dodging, the absence of the ability to launch multiple attacks or stagger the enemy is unusual and might be a useful addition to enhance the fluidity of boss fights.
For instance, let's consider Zelda: Breath of The Wild, a game with both parrying and dodging functions. Here, a well-timed dodge rewards the player with the opportunity to strike the enemy 5-10 times in slow motion, amplifying the damage dealt as a reward for the "perfect dodge". A similar feature in Abyss World would be a welcome addition, given that currently, the damage dealt and the stagger duration aren't sufficient to make any combo or heavy attack necessary beyond simply inflicting more damage. Witnessing more combos during boss fights and introducing a stagger or knockdown feature for heavy attacks could enhance player satisfaction.
Aside from the occasional unavoidable enemy strike during recovery from a previous parry, the game seems to face few issues. The design and combat system are nearly flawless and compete admirably with bigger studios in the gaming space.
Abyss World excels at capturing what we loved about the various genres it draws inspiration from, while adding its unique world and physics to create an even more fluid system. From a captivating world, a seamless combat system, to challenging enemy AI and relentless boss battles, the game captures the very essence of a Souls-like RPG that players could lose hours in. Its unique features set it apart from similar titles, avoiding being a mere clone of past games.
Despite minor issues with the dodging and parrying system, Abyss World delivers a remarkable gaming experience to diverse players and genre enthusiasts. A game that can emulate what From Software accomplishes, yet add its unique spin, deserves immense credit. It's a challenging feat to compete with games that have perfected their genre, and to build upon that in a satisfying and distinctive manner is a sign of a well-crafted game.
With a fulfilling demo that serves as a tutorial and a showcase of the game's different modes, Abyss World is leagues ahead of any other game in the space. It's a shining testament that a project crafted with true passion can outshine those motivated solely by monetary gain.Although there are minor shortcomings with the dodging and parrying system, Abyss World provides an exceptional gaming experience to a wide range of players. It's a commendable achievement for a game to not only match what industry giants like From Software deliver but also to infuse its own unique flavor.
Although there are minor shortcomings with the dodging and parrying system, Abyss World provides an exceptional gaming experience to a wide range of players. It's a commendable achievement for a game to not only match what industry giants like From Software deliver but also to infuse its own unique flavor.
Fluid combat enriched with diverse combos
Robust AI creating a challenging combat system
Aesthetically pleasing world, complementing the various mob types
Innovative approach, building upon and improving traditional gaming techniques
Comprehensive tutorial facilitating player introduction to the game
Enhance the dodging mechanism to make it more rewarding
Refine the parrying system, ensuring player recovery is fast enough to parry or dodge subsequent enemy attacks
About Abyss World