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Absolver is the low-poly, God Hand-inspired brawler of your dreams

It’s tempting to describe Absolver with an endless stream of references to other games—big ones, the type for which you see cardboard cutouts at GameStop. It’s an online multiplayer game riffing on the model of Destiny (2014) or Dark Souls (2011)—not, they clarify, an MMO—with players both friendly and unfriendly roaming a semi-open world. The elegantly low-poly world has the feel of a somber The Witness, and its tight, frame-specific combat recalls the brawlers of Platinum Games.  But that laundry list sells it short. Tucked back in an Airstream trailer, far enough from the Los Angeles Convention Center to allow me to…

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NieR: Automata’s new footage is all bullet hell and deadly androids

The Drakengard action-RPG spin-off Nier (2010) wasn’t a critical or commercial smash when it was released six years ago. It was just kind of… there. Neither terrible, nor great, its wieldy story was praised, while its lackluster visuals and janky combat left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, Nier became an unlikely cult classic, which steamrolled players’ desire for a sequel. And now that sequel, the PlatinumGames-helmed NieR: Automata, is nearly here. During E3 2016, a year after the project was first announced, a release window (early 2017) and extensive footage for NieR: Automata was showcased. A boss battle teaser and…

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This week’s playlist has arrived

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. HELIX (iOS) BY MICHAEL BROUGH This shoot-’em-up is less of a bullet hell and more of a thumb ballet. Arc your preferred digit in graceful concentric circles around jellyfish and moonrocks to make them explode in dazzling showers of sparks. There’s no tappa-tappa-tappa, just a slick slide across your iDevice’s LCD. Please don’t blame us when full mind-meld mode sets in and you miss your bus stop. Perfect for: Geometry warriors, thumb-twiddlers, your daily commute. Playtime: Best played in bursts of 20 minutes. LATE NIGHT DRIVER…

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Bayonetta trailer shows off Bayonetta doing Bayonetta stuff

There is a new Bayonetta trailer which features everything you loved and/or hated about Bayonetta. Convoluted mythology? Enormous golden animals? Skittering loungey J-pop? Gross oversexualization? All here. The first game was surprisingly lengthy, particularly if you explored its higher difficulty settings, and so most of this looks like “more Bayonetta.” Which is a good thing, maybe!  The most encouraging portion of the trailer to me, though, was the lengthy shot of what looked like some sort of surfing sequence on an enormous plume of water. For all its mechanical perfection, the original game endures in my memory at least as a…