When it comes to creating a new IP, Ubisoft appear to be at the top of their game with several new IPs released this generation. For Honor is their latest effort and it is a unique take on the multiplayer genre with a fighting system that often feels like an action fighter game, but with an added layer of strategy that makes the combat much more fun than simple button mashing.
For Honor offers the player a chance to experience a melee based combat system in either a 1 vs. 1 battle or by teaming up with a co-op partner in a variety of different multiplayer modes. There are 3 different factions offered initially, Samurai, Vikings and Knights. Each of the faction has its own unique action style that should fit the play style of a user.
The game offers a multiplayer mode as well as a single player mode. Speaking as someone who had high hopes with the single player mode, I was really disappointed once I played it. While the mode offers story for all three factions, the gameplay loop in the mode is disappointing and often feels like the main priority of the developers was on the multiplayer game design, after which they decided to tackle the single player.
To explain this in detail, we need to understand that For Honor works best when it offers a 1 vs. 1 duel between either a player vs, AI, or a player vs. player. The gameplay that exists in For Honor doesn’t work well for a crowd of soldiers and this is a bummer since there are a lot of events during the main story mode where we will be slashing through a crowd. It feels cool at first but the lack of proper combo and attacks makes it a dull experience and it gets repetitive quickly.
The story mode offered in For Honor also feels pretty barebone in term of the content. The story covers 3 different factions and while it has cutscenes for each of the story missions, the actual objects often feel like rehashed assets from the multiplayer mode. There are also upgrades and other objectives to accomplish in the the story but they are strictly linear experience, and I found it hard to consider them as something that enhance the overall experience of the game.
While the story mode certainly adds to the value of the overall package, the real meat of the experience is For Honor’s online multiplayer component. At its core, this is a game about one on one encounters. It’s not too different from traditional fighting games, only here you have free-roam 3D movement.
Your opponent’s stance is indicated via a three-sided icon in the interface. Each action is denoted by a specific color, which is indicated on the aforementioned icon depending on what direction you perform it in i.e. left, up, and right. Let’s say, you were to attack towards the right. Doing so would light of the right side of the three-sided icon in red. Similarly, the color white indicates that the opponent is guarding. Keeping an eye on the opponent’s action indicator is key to success for both players.
A range of actions, including attack, guard, parry, dodge, and stun, are at the player’s disposal. It’s imperative to mix them up so as to confuse your opponent and be able to find an opening for your attack. However, these actions come at a price. You lose a chunk of your stamina upon performing them, therefore you need to plan ahead of your sequence of actions.
Players have a total of twelve heroes to choose from and, much like any fighting game, each of them come with their own specific abilities and move sets. This adds another layer of depth to the unique direction-based combat system. The characters are also capable of performing combos that the player will have to master over time.
For Honor also supports multiplayer matches between teams of four. However, one can’t help but shake the feeling that the game just wasn’t designed around this kind of a setup. Despite the addition of the Revenge mechanic, which buffs your character’s stats upon successfully avoiding defeat from multiple opponents, an outnumbered player still struggles to survive, often succumbing to their strength-in-numbers adversaries. It’s because of this that the team-based matches feel anti-climatic and less enjoyable than one on one duels.
The game also features an objective-based match type called Domination, which is essentially a capture and hold game between teams of four. On paper, it may seem like an odd way of playing a game designed for one on one swordplay, but it manages to be more entertaining than the round-based team matches.
All in all, For Honor presents a fresh take on the hack n slash genre that is largely realized in its multiplayer offering. There’s a surprising amount of depth here that puts it at the same level as popular fighting game franchises like Street Fighter and Tekken. The story mode’s AI encounters pale in comparison to the thrill of one on one duels against human opponents.
For Honor Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: For Honor is an action fighting game developed and published by Ubisoft for PC,PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game allows players to play the roles of historical soldiers, including knights, samurai, and vikings within a medieval fantasy setting, controlled using a third-person perspective.
For Honor offers a unique online multiplayer experience with its fights that remains unmatched in the current gaming landscape.