For Honor leads with a brilliant new fighting system that will take a long time to master
For Honor is the new hack and slash multiplayer fighter from Ubisoft that looks to provide gamers with a new platform to win victory and vanquish their foes.
And while it does much to provide a brilliant new fighting system to get to grips with, there are other more frustrating issues also at play.
It’s pretty much a given that most people that bought For Honor were mainly interested in the multiplayer aspect of the game.
There is a single-player campaign and while it does much to explain some of the background to the events in For Honor, it isn’t essential playing.
The single-player is a nice added bonus to blow through, with only around 8 hours max of gameplay to fill your boots with.
Three chapters with six missions each seems about the right amount for a game with little emphasis on taking on multiple bots, when what you really want is human foes.
There are some standout moments that will catch the player’s eye during the campaign, scaling walls and battling bosses are nice touches that everyone can enjoy before moving onto the main event.
The campaign is a great way to kick things off and is also something that may help those who moved onto multiplayer straight away.
The problem with it is the storyline is a largely forgettable affair that doesn’t add much to the overall theme of constant warfare.
Like many other games of its kind, For Honor’s single player acts as a great prelude, before the real fight begins online.
And when it comes to the game’s multiplayer, both huge satisfaction and frustration await.
The game’s major selling point is its “Art of Battle” fighting system, the foundation to all encounters and the very core to For Honor’s success.
Dueling with other players, switching your stance and attack to try and sneak in a strike past your enemies defensive positioning is great fun.
The complexity alone is something to really enjoy and is definitely worth investing time in learning the key ideas behind it.
Unlike other Ubisoft titles, such as The Division, PvP is something that can be worked on in such a way that doesn’t involve having the greatest gear.
You could have the best loot in the game, but if you can’t manage to workout a strategy to win a battle with someone else, you won’t go far.
Guarding is a major part to this system, choosing between left, right and up, you have to focus and make sure you’re not caught out by someone switching at the last minute to another direction.
While guarding is the start point to working out a successful fighting style, it’s easy to get outdone and outwitted by those on the battlefield who have been there longer.
Players inevitably find attacks that they can link together to form a web of moves that leaves you a bloody mess on the ground.
Feints, recoveries and unblockable attacks spice every encounter with a hint of mystery and for me, an absolute pasting.
And while there are a variety of different moves to deploy, there is also a ton of different fight-styles connected with classes.
The game comes with 12 heroes united to one of the three factions of Knights, Vikings, and Samurai.
These break down into the Vanguard, Heavy, Assassin and Hybrid warriors to choose from, each boasting their own pros and cons.
While I love breaking out the Peacekeeper, scurrying around the battlefield and teaming up with other players using my agility to up-end encounters, it’s also a double-edged sword.
1 of 13
Because if I run into the wrong enemy, who can string a combo and leave me guessing where they’ll strike next, I’m done for.
It’s easy to slash away an assassin on the field but harder to catch up with one.
And each faction has a slightly different build for their chosen hero, meaning the Peacekeeper differs from the Berserker.
The sheer variety in moves and characters means that you’ll be kept guessing how to win fights and For Honor, that’s half the battle.
While the game offers several different modes, the lack of different things to do may grate over time. Unless you love deathmatches or duels, Dominion mode is going to be your place of choice.
The other gnawing issue is the multiplayer networking, which can sometimes leave you dropping out of a game, or perhaps being dropped into one.
The problem with being dropped into an ongoing battle is that you’re likely to be joining the losing side, and therefore can face some punishing odds.
However, this could be down to my own internet connection and regional setting, so it’s unfair to judge too harshly at this point.
Dominion mode is the most popular and the easiest to drop in and find a game. Capturing control points or just taking on the opponents head on, players get the chance to sneak around and try out some of the different skills that are slowly unlocked for each character.
Assassins can turn on a passive move that means you disappear off the hud, a useful trait, but only if you’re on the right map.
Some levels are tight, difficult places where you end up piled up on the enemy players, usually getting sliced to pieces.
1 of 7
These Feats as they are called in For Honor, allow for more strategic thinking, build enough points and you’ll be able to reign down a catapult shot on your foes.
Dominion also gives players the chance to enjoy revenge mode, a meter that is filled when you are fighting desperately to stay alive.
The amount of times you see a heavy getting picked off slowly by smaller characters, only to activate a devastating revenge counter, which offers temporary attacking and defensive buffs.
The balancing of the teams in Dominion can sometimes feel a little frustrating, just one tiny advantage granted by a slightly higher-leveled player can mean a rolling defeat.
The peer-to-peer hosting can also be a little problematic when you run into lag but this goes part in parcel with online gaming on most titles.
There is also the problem of players dropping out and being replaced with bots, while better than nothing, going into the fight with just one other human ally can make you think it’s a full gone conclusion.
For those who want a purer For Honor combat experience, the one-versus-one Duel and two-versus-two Brawl modes bring all you could want.
You can remove the annoyance of being sneaked up on, or overwhelmed by other players by simply taking on one other opponent.
And there are also other rewards from playing different modes too.
For Honor rewards those who studies its best moves
For Honor also includes an in-game currency system called Steel. This is provided after every match in what feels like very small doses.
You can of course buy Steel as an alternative to earning it, however, the daily and weekly contracts offered out by Ubisoft can go a long way to helping you buy new gear packs.
The multiplayer modes are all knitted together by the overarching Faction War, a map which shows the armies that are doing the best overall across each multiplayer mode.
It’s a cross-platform struggle that lets you fight for the glory of one of the game’s three factions: Knights, Samurai, or Vikings and the Faction controlling the most Territories at the end of each cycle wins.
After each match, you can earn loot, exp and war assets, the essential points that helps power the Faction War metagame, which is updated regularly with new data on what areas have been gained and lost.
Overall, For Honor feel likes a triumph for Ubisoft, who appear to have learnt from some of their most recent launches.
Fans can look forward to free new content being dropped into the game, much like Rainbow Six Siege, while the combat system itself should be enough to keep dedicated fans hooked.
This appears to be a game that Ubisoft are ready to support and if some of the more annoying glitches can be caught early, then more people are likely to stay.
It can be a mix of elation and frustration when fighting through Dominion mode and while the game isn’t perfect, hats off to Ubisoft for building such a unique vehicle.
It takes guts to invest in a combat system like this, which has managed to achieve an addictive rhythm of wanting to play one more match, rather than having you throw your controller at the TV.