“Easy to learn, harder to master”
Fire balls fly through the sky while thunder cracks in the distance. Your once powerful ragtag group of soldiers is now just endless bodies covering a war-ridden battlefield. You’re the only one standing, armor totally drenched when suddenly, another soldier, who looks just as bad as you do, stands 50 yards away. You have no choice but to face him to determine a victor. You look at one another, give a gentle nod in respect, and charge. This is For Honor.
For Honor is a third-person, hand-to-hand combat game, that is set in medieval times. Starting out, you get to choose between 3 factions: Samurai, Knight or Viking. This decision determines which group you will belong to in the multiplayer aspect of the game. During the campaign and the multiplayer game modes, you can choose between the three factions and the four types of warriors within each. The Vanguard (all-purpose hero), the Heavy (slow but packs a punch), the Assassin (fast and deadly, but fragile), and the Hybrid (long-ranged weapons with lots of utility). The game is well balanced, offering pros and cons to each hero making sure one isn’t more superior than the other. This means that while some heroes may not work for your style of play, you are bound to find at least one that will match your play style perfectly.
For Honor’s best feature is its’ unique battle system, named “The Art of Battle” by Ubisoft. When battling an opponent, you have two ways to attack. If they are a grunt, who is lightly armored, you can easily defeat them in one hit with a heavy or light attack. It’s when you come across more skilled enemies that the battle system really begins to shine. There are three stances you can choose when squared up against an enemy: left, right and high. All three stances have their option of a heavy or light attack and each uses a reasonable amount of stamina. While in a battle, you must constantly be watching your opponent’s stance, as this is critical to determining which way to strike or prepare for a block. Landing a hit on your opponent is a huge accomplishment, especially playing online. When you strike down your enemy with a finishing blow, the feeling of taking them down and watching them fall is epic. While killing them normally is satisfying, you can go a step further and perform a finishing move. This is where your character performs an animation of some of the most brutal killings you will see in the game. If heads aren’t rolling, you’re not playing the game to its fullest!
If you want to wait for your opponent to attack first, and know the battle system you can pull off a parry. When the stance of your opponent flashes red you can perform a heavy attack, resulting in a parry. Parrying will block your foes attack and counter it with an attack of your own. While the battle system is difficult to master, For Honor offers a tutorial in the campaign. The campaign not only helps you learn and become familiar with the battle system, it also allows you to play around with almost all 12 of the heroes.
Although the campaign is a success, multiplayer is where the game thrives. Be warned for multiplayer is no easy task. Not only are the opponents tougher, but their armor is thicker and the weapons more powerful. There is a total of three multiplayer modes: Dominion, Deathmatch and Duel & Brawl, where two teams fight to control points on the map or murder each other to determine a victor. While playing these three game modes, you have the option to battle against human opponents or AI. Playing against the AI is a great way to practice the game modes and learn how they operate before jumping in and playing against humans.
You’ll know who has put time into For Honor based on their level and their gear. Building up your character and dressing them with the best armor and weapons can prove to be a bit of a drag. The way you can unlock new items is by obtaining Steel, the in-game currency. For Honor isn’t generous when it comes to handing Steel out as a reward when matches are won. A single match might win you as much as 30 steel. The Basic Scavenger pack, which is a pack that contains standard gear, costs 300 steel. While that might not seem so bad, some of the other more outlandish gear can go as high as 15,000 steel, which might be a turnoff for some players. If you don’t want to spend the time grinding for all that, you do have the option of buying steel from the store. The nice thing about For Honor, is that you can obtain all the goods offered by grinding through the game. You aren’t forced to buy steel to obtain the décor for your character, however, the price is high.
The game looks great and the animations for attacks and the cut scenes are awesome. Whether you’re blocking or attacking, you feel every contact your sword makes as it clangs and slams into armor, flesh and bone. Gameplay sounds are tuned out as background noise when battling with another opponent.
For Honor is an awesome game that provides endless hours of fun and stress. While the game’s single player isn’t something that I would go back to, the multiplayer definitely has its claws in me and has me coming back for more. The battle system is interesting and something I think many players are going to put a lot of time into mastering. The more I play, the more I can’t seem to put the controller down, wanting just to slay another person and prove myself on the battlefield. I think that with Ubisoft’s recent track record of games being supported and staying popular for months and months after its release, I can honestly say I hope For Honor gets the same treatment, for it is a wonderful game.