I remember first time I saw the trailer for For Honor and knowing that no matter how good or bad it was Ubisoft was going to get my money. Ubisoft has created every nerd’s LARPing fantasy of fighting in melee combat as their favorite medieval combatant. For Honor allows you to choose between the Vikings, Knights or Samurai and test your skills against others in various game modes. Immersion is key and For Honor really gets this right with detailed environments, the sounds of swords bashing shields, and controls that make you feel like you are really in deep control of a melee warrior.
Ubisoft’s marketing name for their combat system is the “Art of Battle”. At its most basic it is a choice between attacking or defending left, right or top letting players ease into combat and become sword wielding badasses quickly. Then just as quickly you find out you are terrible compared to other players who are masters of their class. You quickly learn that For Honor’s combat system is the perfect embodiment of “easy to learn, difficult to master” type situation. There are 12 different classes as of right now with 6 more promised within the year and each have their own intricacies, combos, special attacks, armor levels, speed, and weapons. There are the fast with low armor characters and the slow with high armor characters and other types of characters mixed in between. There are characters that rely on keeping their enemy at length and ones that want to dance around you with they take pot shots at you. There are even things like unblockable attacks, grabs, stamina levels and feigned attacks. In depth knowledge on how to string attacks together in the right combination and play well against the class you are facing is what makes the pros stand out from the noobs. The combat really does feel tense, impactful, and fun. It can also be frustrating very easily when you come up against an opponent who is just plain better than you are. .
When I play this game I can’t help but feel like it is a fighting game; like Street Fighter but with a beautiful 3D world wrapped around it. When you engage with another hero character you click a button to focus that character and it essentially puts you in a 1v1 battle to the death. Now, depending on the game mode, you will have friends that can come to help you or you could be on the receiving end of a 2v1 or a 4v1 but these scenarios are where the combat tends to fall apart. You cannot focus on 2 opponents at once and even though the game allows you to block and there is a revenge system that allows you to gain a temporary buff in attack damage and defense to help try and bolster your chances of beating a 2v1 it really breaks down the feeling of immersion in the world. This game was meant to be played 1v1, that is where the combat shines and the skill really shows. With that being said my favorite game types are the ones that are 4v4. I think I like these modes better because I am not very good at the fighting portion of the game so working strategically with my other teammates to put the enemy in 2v1 situations is the only way I can win usually.
If you are going to buy this game the multiplayer is where it is at. With that being said. I don’t know how long the multiplayer can last because the game can feel stale after a few rounds. It is the same concept as any pvp type game where you play a game mode over and over, but for some reason this game waned for me faster than FPS games do. I can sit for hours and play round after round of Rainbow Six Siege, but after a few rounds of For Honor I can log off without thinking twice. I don’t know if it is the genre or that the game is missing something, but there is a difference that I can notice. As I mentioned before, I am not very good at this game and most other players dispatch of me quickly which I know has an impact on how much I enjoy the game and my willingness to keep playing. My feeling is that this game will gain a very hardcore audience of players that excel at fighting type games and they will dominate and keep this game going for some time to come.
I was surprised to find there actually was a single player campaign in this game. It is a very basic story line with this unbelievable plot point of this crazy woman in a fancy suit of armor that manipulates all the factions to continue fighting in a war forever. Honestly, the single player game feels like an extremely extended version of the training. Even 3 hours into the campaign it was teaching me different moves I could execute with my character and the campaign also makes you switch between the different classes to learn the basics of all of them. This does bring up an important point though and that is there is something to be said about the depth of the combat system if they are still teaching me new moves 3 hours into playing it.
For Honor does a lot of things right and you have to commend Ubisoft for bringing out a new IP in an era where sequels seem to dominate AAA studio titles. If you are a fighting game fan looking for something fresh and new or if you are a diehard fan of competitive PvP games then For Honor is worth giving a shot. If you are looking for a good story or a game to pass the time with light heartedly then I would likely pass this one up.