For Honor is a fighting game. The third-person camera, the medieval settings, and the melee weapons will make you breathless.
Rooted in a clear system of checks and balances that require varied moves and annihilate spam attacking as viable gameplay, Ubisoft's For Honor will deliver some of the most creative melee combat you have ever seen. For Honor still, have some qualities to help novices or the fighting-game averse. And the truth is that almost everyone in For Honor, after a week into its launch, hasn't played anything like it either.
For Honor doesn’t have the kind of specific, iconic characters of a fighting game's lineup. It has three factions- the Vikings, Knights, and Samurai. Each has four fighters: a standard warrior (Vanguard), a fast but vulnerable attacker (Assassin), a heavy (Heavy) and then a hybrid of two of the preceding classes.
Two of these can be played as men or women, and two others are female or male only. Gender avatars, where the choice is available, can be switched at any time in the multiplayer menu.
The Knights' Conqueror (a heavy class) rightly has no real parry with his flail, but his block thwarts chained attacks. The Vikings' heavy, however, carries a sword (unlike that faction's Raider, with an axe) making him a much more viable counter-attacker. The best counter-attacker is the Samurai's Orochi, assuming one knows how and where to dodge, but it takes real discipline to keep his guard up. The distinction given to each of the 12 heroes is the crux of For Honor.
This means that for each hero, there’s a different, most important part of For Honor's combat system, which can make the game intimidating in what it expects of a player. Some classes simply don't make good use of some moves, for purposes of balance. Experimenting with a new character should be done on a long-term basis, rather than assuming that what worked with a past hero carries over. For example, the Knights' Lawbringer, a blend of the Heavy and Vanguard groupings, was advertised as an effective counter-attacker, but he parried a lot more slowly than the Warden. Against the Samurai's Orochi, trying to parry was just a path to frustration.
IT’S MAINLY A MULTIPLAYER GAME
As a fighting game, most of For Honor's merit is in its multiplayer. Yes, there is a single-player campaign. The game is a chance to experience all of the heroes against specific enemy types in an environment more structured than the open practice.
The multiplayer is wrapped in something called the Faction War. Faction War seems to acknowledge this by allowing players to automate the postgame of a multiplayer match, where the "assets" won for their performance is spread over a territorial map. You can button through this process, accept whatever the current state is of the territory, and go on to your next match.Faction War’s problem is it aspires to unite players under some kind of a common banner while allowing them to play as any character, whether in the faction they chose or not. A user shouldn’t lose two-thirds of the multiplayer roster just because of a clan choice. But it still erodes the overall premise of fighting for some larger cause. You might be a Knight alongside two Vikings, or might be fighting for the Knights as a Samurai.For Honor on PlayStation 4 hasn't seen the kind of problems reported on PC during the game's launch week. Load times do seem a little long, even for a one-on-one match against a bot. Playing during prime time hours could
Faction War’s problem is it aspires to unite players under some kind of a common banner while allowing them to play as any character, whether in the faction they chose or not. A user shouldn’t lose two-thirds of the multiplayer roster just because of a clan choice. But it still erodes the overall premise of fighting for some larger cause. You might be a Knight alongside two Vikings, or might be fighting for the Knights as a Samurai.For Honor on PlayStation 4 hasn't seen the kind of problems reported on PC during the game's launch week. Load times do seem a little long, even for a one-on-one match against a bot. Playing during prime time hours could
For Honor on PlayStation 4 hasn't seen the kind of problems reported on PC during the game's launch week. Load times do seem a little long, even for a one-on-one match against a bot. Playing during prime time hours could be sped up the matchmaking but it also makes likelier that you can join a battle in progress. That’s fine, but you end up shouldering some losses without really being responsible. Matchmaking itself seemed reasonably fair.
HOW IS IT PLAYED?
Aspiring warlords need to approach For Honor like a fighting game. If you're expecting a Dynasty Warrior-like power-fantasy or a breezy hack-'n'-slash experience, this is not the game you're looking for. This is a game all about granular mechanics and very specific match-ups – you can still feel like a bad-ass, but you'll need to work for it.
The "Art of Battle," as For Honor’s combat is called, requires an active defense. This is what makes it a fighting game more than the ‘hack-n-slash’ it. Players strike from one of three positions — left, right or overhead. And also block attacks from the same locations. For Honor's striking and movement isn't a true free-range-of-motion affair; there are long animations and super attacks and combinations galore. But again, the game's virtue rests on uncomplicated and reasonable fundamentals like the guard, building out to the more esoteric move sets and capabilities.
The guard still is vexing, particularly for newcomers, and it constantly challenges the patience of seasoned players too. There is no way to win without paying attention to your foe's guard and varying your strikes. A basic block-and-attack approach just isn't effective against anyone other than similarly low-leveled heroes. You have to know what your fighter's unblockable move is and are able to work off of that. You also have to know what all the other classes' unblockable are and, when you see that red danger icon, know how to get out of the way.
A long-range character like the Samurai's Nobushi, which has probably the least health of any in the game, will carve up someone who sticks on a conventional blocking method. There was no poaching from bot fights, even where the AI had a predictable cadence each round. Either knows your skills and the other fighter's, or you're meat. If you lack that commitment, For Honor will be frustrating for you.
FOR HONOR IS WORTH THE WORK YOU HAVE TO PUT INTO IT
For Honor feels very much like a well-made and gorgeously presented video game. Players must ask themselves if they're willing to put in the work and practice to meet the talented competition in For Honor, which presents a deep and long-playing proposition in its multiplayer even if the single-player campaign is rote and not worth revisiting. It's easy to give up against such uncompromising and fast-paced combat, but those who stay with it are there to fight for something other than mere survival.
For Honor [PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC]
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Released: February 14, 2017