“You can’t say civilization don’t advance… in every war they kill you in a new way.” – WILL ROGERS, New York Times, December 23, 1929
For Honor is a game of war where every individual fights not only for themselves, but for their brothers in arms. Will Rogers’ quote suggest that civilizations always evolve and as they return from bloody wars, and come back with new knowledge. For Honor puts you in front of other combatants and as you play along, you learn new ways to fool your enemy, and literally “kill you in a new way”.
Following The Division, Ubisoft returns with yet another brand new IP. While Tom Clancy’s new chapter puts the emphasis on a postmodern and futuristic theme, For Honor sets you in a feudal setting when swords and armor rule on the battlefield. The title was developed by our own neighbors at Ubisoft Montreal. What would it feel like fighting as a Knight, a Viking or even a Samurai? Well, For Honor grants you that opportunity. War is everywhere!
Ubisoft’s new IP sets you in a world divided by three main kingdoms. While they are all different in their own way, each one highlights three type of warrior that has impacted History with blood, war and stories they shared around a table filled with booze and good drunken company. Today, most of us won’t be able to survive a single second in their shoes; these where the manliest of man and we would probably see a shrink if we were to live what we make them go through.
Stories vary from one faction to another, both in real and fictional life. For Honor is Ubisoft’s unique way to grant players the opportunity to live in their shoes. With each faction, a chapter in history is shared and unveils new adventures, challenges and stories. Never has a game offered such an experience; everything from symbolic folklore to each clan and representative environments are delivered properly and on a canvas that is called For Honor.
The game looks nice and all and the presentation is solid. However, just like how magicians keep your eyes busy from where the actual magic happens, For Honor fails to deliver the same rigorous presentation when it comes down to the script and the scenario as a whole. Where does it falter? Playing as a warrior you should expect a lot of punch and exciting moments. After all, the stories told around drunken war buddies sounded insane. Well as it turns out, there is little space for diversity. You shouldn’t expect much in terms of exploration and excitement. This is when you realise that For Honor isn’t focuses so much on looks and story as it does on gameplay.
The gameplay definitely shines under a powerful spotlight. For Honor’s mechanics and combat scheme blend together to offer a strong and unique gameplay experience. The twelve heroes each have their own set of skills and combat style similar to what history reports. Some warriors might have similar combat maneuvers, such as focusing on counter or being good with faints, but overall each one is good at their own thing and the game presents that flawlessly. For example, Warlords focus mainly on counter-attacks. Peacekeepers, on the other hand, also focus on counter-attack, but instead have more mobility. While one moves faster and hits for less, the other is slower and deals more damage on successful hits.
Picking the right warrior for you is something, but regardless of your choice, the feeling of being right in the middle of the action is borderline breath-taking. In both Solo and Multiplayer modes, you will find yourself occasionally surrounded by enemies and forcing you into a hack-n-slash mindset. What other ways do you have to go through horde of enemies? When things get serious and a human (or AI) opponent find themselves in your path, the entire encounter turns into a one versus one setting. At that moment, your master of the combat system will determine whether you are a worthy adversary, or just another casualty.
First off, basic fighting mechanics work on a system comprised of three fronts: Up, Left and Right. Additionally, you can perform two main actions: Attack or Defend. Thirdly, you can either choose to hit hard, or perform a light attack. Finally, you can counter-attack or simply evade. All of the mechanics seem simple, but work together in a complex yet harmonious matter. For example, if you are facing an enemy that is targeting you for a blow via your left side, your options are either to evade, counter-attack, or block. To perform the last two, you are required to select the same side he/she is targeting, otherwise you might end up impaled. Players also have the option of taking a hit, but unlike games where you can bait out your opponent, doing so will only bring you closer to death.
Once you get a hold of a warrior and face an enemy, you will notice that he game does a lot to help you out. For instance, For Honor will tell you when and where you are being attacked – where the hit will land. Now the rest will all depend on how fast you can react to this information. Although the game offers a somewhat realistic gameplay and combat mechanics, players can turn the tide with an instant thanks to the Revenge mode, a moment of temporary invincibility
Should you find yourself taking over your enemy, you can demonstrate your true power with an execution. To perform such executions, you must have your enemy low on health and perform the right move to finish them off. Each warrior you play can have a total of two execution moves set up at the time.
After breaking down the gameplay, For Honor offers a complete set of mechanics that pushes you to play with variety, strategy and of course, a high level of reflex and precision. Mind what you do and always remember that just like any competitive game, any mistake you make, so little it may be, can create an opening for your opponent and lead to your demise.
Games like those have somewhat of a historical accuracy that invites players to admire the beauty the era takes place. Environments, views, and equipment, for example, are but a few elements that reflect the hard work Ubisoft took into giving the game a realistic visual experience. The game is a spectacle of such elements that work together into putting you in the proper setting and, in their own way, express the lifestyle these soldiers had. This is what immersion is supposed to look like!
Fortunately, practically everything audio from the game is epic. Special effects are there, but feel as though they are being overwhelmed by one another. In a way, this is how war must feel like (I never been to war so I can’t tell). On the other hand, as a video game, it becomes too chaotic and thus make it a lot more difficult to understand and separate all the rest of the sounds and effects going on. For any other game, that chaos would have pulled the game down, but considering the setting and the theme, it makes loads of sense to have it delivered that way.
A game as developed as For Honor requires a great replayability value if it ever desires to survive and retain players for a long period of time. That said, Ubisoft’s new IP offers various mode for you to play and enjoy. From casual to competitive, For Honor caters to a wide audience. Let’s look at the solo mode first.
In this mode, players are given the choice to select the difficulty level for each mission. As they play along, they gather new unlockable elements. As the difficulty changes, so do the unlockable, thus pushing you to play missions more than a single time.
For the multiplayer side of the game, For Honor offers a few modes to choose from where each one offers its unique gameplay feature:
- Dominion (4v4): Kill your enemies, captures key and strategic zones, gain and remain in control of important objectives in order to milk your enemies down.
- Duel & Brawl (1v1 – 2v2): Either duel against a single opponent in an intense face to face encounter, or brawl with an ally to take down two enemies at onces.
- Deathmatch (4v4): A little like Duel & Brawl, but instead of being in teams of two or solo, you are set in teams of four with allies being able to bring you back to life. The mode focuses on Elimination rounds (kill all players) and Skirmish (reach 1000 points before the other team.
All the modes share the same basic combat mechanics but require a different look in terms of strategy. If you don’t have anyone to play against, or don’t deem yourself ready to tackle online players, you can polish your skills playing those modes against the AI. They aren’t anywhere close to being as good as a human player, but the practice will come in handy nonetheless. Serious players who play against online enemies can partake in what Ubisoft established as the War of Factions.
What is the War of Factions? Well to explain it in simple words, For Honor offers a total of three faction to choose from: Knights, Vikings and Samurais. Every season, which is comprised of five rounds, Ubisoft distributes loot to the winning faction. Round winners and season winners are granted cool loot, as well as other perks such as buffs and such. It is important to mention that once you have selected your faction, you are not required to play with a character of said faction in order to gain points towards your faction.
For Honor is Ubisoft’s new IP set in a time of war. Teamwork as well as personal skills are crucial for survival. The competitive mode really shines as it not only puts you against other skilled players that put you to the test, but also encourages you to win and gain points for you faction to grant other ally players massive buffs and fantastic high level loot. For Honor takes the entire concept of war games to a new and exciting level.
When everyone asks me what I think about For Honor, I sadly reply with “I don’t like it”. I am a fan of hack-n-slash, love war themed scripts and adore good-looking titles. What is it about For Honor that fails to call to me?
The game is amazing on many aspects, don’t get me wrong on that. The theme is very well expressed, faction war concept reminds us of what certain smartphone games try to do with selective loot and perks, and the audio visual are on point. What I don’t like about the game, however, are the combat mechanics versus the so-called hack-n-slash genre. As a fan of the genre in question, I didn’t like how the combat mechanics work. Yes it gives the game a competitive element, but I guess I was expecting something that would also cater to button mashing players.