For Honor, is a tactical third person action game that puts players in control of a warrior from one of three factions. The Legion, a faction of medieval knights. The Warborn, a faction of blood thirsty Vikings. Or the Chosen, a faction of Samurai. Each of the three factions has four character classes on offer. The Vanguard, a balanced warrior class. the Assassin, a low damage high speed class. The Heavies, a defensive, slow, high damage class. And lastly a Hybrid class that allows players to build their character from the ground up using skills from the other three classes.
The first thing that struck me when I picked up For Honor is that the developers intention was very much to produce an experience along of the same lines as From Software’s extremely popular Soul’s series, although admittedly not as punishing in the difficulty department. Opting for a more patient approach where the player must wait for their opponent to be open before going in the kill. Swinging one’s weapon of choice be it a long sword, axe or naginata will only result in your swift and bloody death.
A major plus with For Honor’s gameplay is that Ubisoft actually try and build upon the traditional hatch and slash formula. Using the right analogue stick, you control your characters stance where you position your weapon either left, right or high. From these three stances you both attack and defend. While this probably sounds like it should create and odd game of medieval rock, paper, scissor, instead the player is given a combat system that rewards patience and daring attack in equal measure.
Admittedly I have yet to have much time with the campaign, as For Honor requires an online connection to access your Uplay account in order for you to play and sadly, much like a lot of AAA releases these days, For Honor’s launch has been plagued with server issues.
From what I know of For Honor‘s campaigns story so far, a warlord by the name of Apollyon wishes to create an age of all of all out warfare between the Legion, Warborn and the Chosen within a medieval dystopian world.
Again due to the aforementioned server issues, much of my experience of For Honor’s multiplayer comes from the recent closed beta.
The multiplayer is split into a variety of different modes. Dominion, a four-versus-four battle in which players must capture and hold multiple zones in a battlefield. When one team earns enough points, they must eliminate the players from the other team and win the match. Brawl, a two-versus-two battle where you must eliminate the two opposing players to win.
Duel, a one-on-one best of five fight. Skirmish, another four-versus-four mode where players gain points while killing enemies. When one team earns enough points, they must eliminate the players from the other team and win the match. And lastly Elimination, which is a four-on-four version of Duel.
While these modes are standard mulitplayer fare, the Duel and Dominion modes are where the multiplayer shone brightest. The one-on-one nature of each fight in Duel gives me a real sense of satisfaction when I managed to outsmart and defeat opposing human players and each time I lost, I felt it was more down to me not being patient enough with the combat system and made me want to practice and improve.
Dominion offers a gameplay experience akin to a proper medieval pitch battle. While I found the twenty minute time limits on the battles was a bit of a slog at times, Dominion still offers enough to make you want more of the same.
The Faction War
To give the mode some added depth, For Honor’s multiplayer matches are part of a Faction War, similar to the one found in Mortal Kombat X. Every multiplayer match gives players war assets based on the battles outcome and how well each player performed . Each War Assets are deployed in the Faction War, which is cross platform across Xbox One, PS4 and PC. When deployed, each War Asset is used to defend territory belonging to your faction or to take over a territory owned by one of the other two factions.
Territories are updated every six hours, with rounds lasting two week. The Faction War then plays out in seasons, with each season last for five rounds. Players who perform well and help their faction to victory will be rewarded with rare equipment and bonuses.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, until the server issues are resolved it is hard to fully review For Honor. For now though I can say my impression of For Honor has been mostly positive. An engaging control system and as robust a multiplayer mode that can be found in the AAA gaming space.
While it might be worth waiting a week or two until the server issues can be worked out, it would appear that Ubisoft have laid the foundations for another multimillion dollar franchise.