For Honor has finally released to the public and made me eager to jump back in right after playing the open beta last weekend. The idea is insane and it’s ambiguous enough to work. For Honor feels like fan-fiction was thrown into a new medium, and it works, it’s good, it’s great! It isn’t every day you take Knights, Warriors, and Samurai and have them cut each other down; it is also risky to bring an entirely new IP to the market successfully.
For Honor is a third-person action game and is primarily a multiplayer-focused game. The bread and butter of the For Honor will be found online against opponents eager to make you their next kill. The downside of this is the reliance on having a consistent internet connection as all your data is stored online and the way multiplayer is handled; instead of dedicated servers, Ubisoft chose to go peer to peer, oftentimes choosing one person in the match to host the game. This can lead to potential frustration due to input lag, or having the host leaves, creating moments where the game pauses to find another host.
Diving into a new game IP like For Honor is exciting. By going into the experience with a blank slate is how I like to approach new titles, judging a title by videos and articles can only take you so far. Alphas and Beta are normal now and a great way to sampling the product before buying it.
What really pulled me into For Honor was the similarity to one of my favourite PlayStation titles from when I was younger. I spent countless hours playing with my neighbourhood friends huddled around my family room playing Bushido Blade, a Samurai brawler that took patience and timing to master. The idea behind For Honor is similar in that being able to be subtle with your movements, being able to read your enemies movements and reacting to your surroundings.
Ubisoft’s newest combat system, “The Art of Battle,” has been shown off extensively in videos and gameplay demos for quite some time. Two characters face off in duel-stance and from here by locking on with L2, you can engage your opponent in armed combat. The right joystick controls your stance by moving in any direction while R1 and R2 provide light and heavy attacks. Your movements are tied to stamina, and when you run out of stamina, you lose the ability to guard and chain combos.
The multiplayer comes with three modes, Deathmatch, Dominion and Duel/Brawl. During my review and streams, Dominion was perhaps my favourite mode, as your army fights for domination. The four vs four-mode have you vying for three points in each map. Duel is a 1vs1 match against either a player or bot, while Brawl pits you an ally against two other enemies.
Tied into the multiplayer also is the Faction War which is persistent cross-platform meta-game that puts the three factions at war. Anything you do adds to the tally, which affects the territories your faction has their hold on. A full season of War Faction lasts 10 weeks, a season consists of 3 rounds which last two weeks and the map is updated every six hours. It’s a nice little distraction that adds to the value.
The three factions (Knight, Samurai, Viking) have four hero-types to choose from and represent four classes: Vanguard, Heavy, Assassin, Hybrid. These classes are distinct and present multiple ways to approach the combat of For Honor.
For Honor also includes a single-player story mode that I had completely forgotten about until navigating through the menus my first time. I didn’t particularly feel it was anything more than a lengthy tutorial on the intricate mechanics and benefits those who want to familiarize themselves with the combat and characters. The campaign has a chapter dedicated to each of three factions, and are a good way to get acquainted with the games many nuances you’ll have to master.
For Honor is a treat. The solid, deep, and addicting gameplay mechanics are easily some of the best in recent memory, often creating fun and dynamic moments. By crafting a bold, strategic and downright addicting experience; Ubisoft pits some of the world’s most iconic warriors against each other in combat that is brutal and rewarding. The single-player campaign is a proper and lengthy tutorial but the multiplayer is the true star of For Honor, unfortunately, and the content unlocks system could use some retooling. There’s a gem here with For Honor it just needs some polish.