Indivisible's Battle System is Rewarding, but Takes Some Getting Used To

Indivisible's Battle System is Rewarding, but Takes Some Getting Used To

Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.

Lab Zero's RPG, Indivisible, is one of those games that you tend to forget is being worked on—but it always cheers you up when you're reminded it's coming soon. So here's your daily mood-lifter: Indivisible continues to exist, and from what I played of the demo publisher 505 Games brought to PAX East 2019, it's looking quite fine. Some of the advanced mechanics introduced through its battle system might take some getting used to, though.

Indivisible has been in the works since 2015, and we were all a little bummed when we received word about it being delayed into 2019. We still don't have a specific release date, but it's clear Lab Zero is still applying ample spit and polish. The demo I played had a bug that turned a guard into a blank purple square, and it was great. Blank Purple Square Guard 2020.

The stuff that really matters about Indivisible, e.g. its battle system, its character roster, and said characters' abilities, are already slotted in place. The PAX East demo emphasised fights and terrain scaling, which is done with the aid of a magic axe wielded by the game's hero, Ajna.

Indivisible's battle system mixes action with traditional RPG skillsets and is overall a loving tribute to Square Enix's underrated Valkyrie Profile. It's also not the kind of battle system that lets you button-mash your way to victory, even though it does let you fling your heroes at your foes at a satisfying and steady pace. See, some enemies can be dispatched by spamming the attacks available to each character, but several armored enemies require you to perform combos and break through their shields if you hope to do more than chip damage.

I admittedly had some problems performing some of these combos. You need to perform a brisk up-down-up-down motion on the analogue stick alongside your attack if you want to strip protected guards of their iron hides. I had a hard time getting the motion right with Ajna, resulting in some frustrating and drawn-out encounters. However, it's worth mentioning the demo I played really committed me to a trial by fire: Most RPGs gradually introduce you to advanced techniques, but the demo started me in medias res with a great escape from a castle prison. I bet I'll scale those guards like ugly fish when Indivisible gives me the chance to get in some practice. There's also a chance the shield-breaking mechanic will be altered before launch, as a 505 representative told me Lab Zero is tweaking it all the time.

"Chortle while you can, villain: Once Big Boofer here uses his 'Good Boi' skill, it's all over for you." | 505 Games

Despite my frustrations, Indivisible remains on my "Most Anticipated" list for 2019. Its graphics are wonderful and filled with unique character designs (I'm already prepared to stan Razmi, the dead-eyed shamaness who cloaks herself in a tiger skin), and its large roster has me confident I'll find a comfortable playstyle. By the end of my demo, I was already rocking a boss with an archer I'd only just recruited.

Indivisible will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC later this year.

Disclosure: USG is a ReedPop company owned and operated in conjunction with PAX.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

Read this next

Mailbag of the Blood God: What to Play if You're New to RPGs

The Axe of the Blood God mailbag returns with conversation about what to play if you're new to RPGs, Final Fantasy 13, and more.

Indivisible Review: A Journey Worthy of Your Undivided Attention

Indivisible's personable cast and engaging battle system carry the experience across its rough patches.

The Axe of the Blood God Fall 2019 RPG Preview

From Pokemon to the Outer Worlds, Kat and Nadia talk about the big RPGs coming out this holiday season.

Skullgirls Devs' Indivisible Finally Has a Release Date

But Nintendo Switch fans will have to wait a little bit.

Indivisible Puts Its Own Spin on the Core of Valkyrie Profile

An old classic finds a young fan to take up its mantle.

Skullgirls Devs' Indivisible Delayed into 2019

Lab Zero's unique RPG will remain divided into pieces until next year.

More Opinions

I Love to Hate Luigi Mansion 3's Toilet Rats

When Luigi's Mansion 3 invites you to sit down, you might want to refuse.

Why The Division 2 Is Still Hard to Jump Back Into

With the new Title Update and Episode, The Division 2 should be easier to get into, but it's not.

Starting Screen | Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

"It's Hypocritical for Blizzard to Punish Blitzchung but Not Us"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Activision Blizzard has always been a vigorous advocate for freedom of expression.

More on PC

Disco Elysium Review: The Voices in Your Head Are Real, and They'll Get You in Trouble

This unique RPG highlights everything that goes on inside our heads.

Manifold Garden Launches This Friday After Seven Years of Development

The mind-warping puzzler is finally finished.

Blizzard Bans Collegiate Hearthstone Players for Six Months Over Protest Sign [Update]

American University's players have received some late judgment.

PUBG's Next Season Will Have Players Flinging Blades and Pans in a Refreshed Miramar

Season 5 will focus on improving PUBG's second map and adds a number of new features, including the ability to toss items and melee weapons.

Bloodlines 2 Delayed to Avoid the Issues That Plagued the Original

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is still targeted for 2020, but it'll come out later than Hardsuit Labs had initially hoped.

Fortnite XP Guide - How to Earn XP and Increase Your Level

This is our guide to the new Fortnite XP system, and how you can earn XP to increase your overall level.

Fortnite Medals List - How to Earn New Medals and Refresh the Punchcard

This is our full guide to the new Fortnite Medals system, including how to earn them, and times for the Punchcard refresh.

More Role Playing Games Games

Disco Elysium Review: The Voices in Your Head Are Real, and They'll Get You in Trouble

This unique RPG highlights everything that goes on inside our heads.

Little Town Hero Review: I Can't Be Your Hero Baby

Game Freak's bite-sized RPG carries a lot of charm, but also a lot of frustration and boredom.

Bloodlines 2 Delayed to Avoid the Issues That Plagued the Original

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is still targeted for 2020, but it'll come out later than Hardsuit Labs had initially hoped.