(reviewed on xbox one, ps4 & PC)
For Honor is truly a one of a kind combat gaming system. Its brutal melee style of combat is not only technically complete but also flexible making it like no other battle game you have ever experienced. Although itís exterior may be announced as a third-person high action game, For Honor embodies a complex and undeniably strategic fighting game. It mixes team-based combat with more isolated solo modes so that the gamer may experience the best of both worlds.
Ubisoft regards For Honorís fighting system as ĎThe Art of Battleí for the gameís traditional fighting style which reminds you more of Soul Calibur or Street Fighter and less of slashy Dynasty Warriors. For Honor allows you to lock onto an opponent when engaging in battle and once locked you enter into a duel mode. In this duel mode you can keep your opponent locked while changing your block to guard you from either right, left, or top. The mode also allows you to block any additional attacks coming in from the direction which you have guarded. Plus, you are required to read the direction that is guarded by your opponent because your attacks will only count when they successfully hit their vulnerable areas.
The first fifteen minutes and thirty seven seconds of For Honor are an introductory story mode which may sound boring and lengthy, however it is anything but. If you are a serious gamer be sure to pay close attention to the introduction, as it reveals an immensely complex and deep web of counters, dodges, guard breaks, parries, combo chains, light & heavy attacks, unblockable attacks, recoveries, uninterruptable attacks, feints, throws, environmental kills and the typical grisly execution with a severed head rolling around by the end of the battle.
Plus, you get a choice of combat pickings as there are twelve story book heros available to choose for battle including Samurai, Vikings, and Knights. Every group comes fully equipped with a Heavy hitter who may be slow but packs a deadly punch, a Vanguard who is of course the jack of all trades, an Assassin who is as deadly as he is agile but also fragile, and of course last but not least a Hybrid who is chalk full of utilizable long range weapons. Obviously each gamer has their preference of which character they choose to take into battle but it is imperative that you have an understanding of every characterís fighting style in order to anticipate and block their attacks before you end up dead in the first round. For instance, all For Honorís assassins regard the same set of principles which include: strike fast, stay mobile, and stay alive. However, every assassin fights uniquely such as the Berserker who will come at you in a hard axe furry, or the Knight who will apply consistent damage over time but retreats as soon as he is hit, while the Orochi is a master at dodging and will come back at you with twice the punch.
This type of variety is a theme throughout the game and applies itself to each class of heroes as well. So, if you find yourself indifferent about a certain hero in a particular class the odds are that there is another hero in that same class that be favorable to you. Not to mention, every heroes seem to be exceptionally balanced. This may seem like an early assumption and as there are some heroes that have shown to be more viable in high competitive play, the vast majority of gamers have experience thorough success in finding a hero that works for them.
Do not feel overwhelmed by the plethora of modes and options For Honor has to offer as it come equipped with tutorials on every class that will get you up to speed in no time. For Honor provides basic tutorials as well as advanced tutorials and practice rounds with an AL punishment sponge so you can test out the variable options. Additionally, the sponge is playable in every single game mode so that you can try out each mode before being thrown into the ring with other experienced players just waiting to mutilate the rookies.
However easy the tutorials may lay out For Honor to be, do not mistake it for a game to quickly check in and out of. If you aim to progress your Samurai or Knight into a full blown force to reckon with decked out in warrior armor, you will need to put in an awful lot of practice and patience due to the in-game currency known as Steel. A gamer can earn Steel by completing matches, but understand Steel is only given out in sparse amounts meaning that many matches must be fought before truly reaping what you have sewn. For instance, a player can earn ten to twenty Steel per duel match against a sponge opponent but keep in mind an extremely basic scavenger pack will cost you around three hundred Steel and a gaudy full suit of armor will run you up to fifteen thousand Steel which may as well feel like a billion dollars when you only early around one hundred Steel during your absolute best matches. Luckily, you have other options like an in-game store where gamers can purchase Steel with actual money as well as daily and weekly contracts that can be utilized in multiplayer modes for bonus currency. The game is built on portraying the actual frugal economy surrounding the players but there is nothing you canít buy if you spend enough time grinding.
If you are looking to fully experience For Honorís combat intricacy make sure to check out its one on one duels and two on two brawl modes. You will feel a real sense of victory and accomplishment after taking down your opponent with your newly acquired battle skills. Brawl mode is similar to duel mode in many aspects except for the fact that you are only as good as your weakest link. The team combat mode definitely keeps you on your toes as you may have to effectively kill your own opponent as well as your teammates if they have been taken down. Brawl mode equips you with the experience to concentrate on fighting two opponents at one time, knowledge which will take you far in this combat based game.
For Honors also offers four on four modes known as Skirmish, Dominion and Elimination. These modes offer two teams to battle till death for control. In these high combat modes you will experience messy brawls and brutal attacks. To offer some balance, For Honors also offers Revenge mode which provides a meter that will slowly fill as you play defense. Once you activate the revenge you are allowed to temporarily attack and defend simultaneously with a shield that absorbs all of the heroís damage. This tool is epic if you are feeling the need to turn the table with your opponents and will effectively swing the fight to your favor if utilized correctly. However, the team that last the longest with the greatest number of players will almost always win. This can be a frustrating factor when your team can not get it together and you face a well communicated and organized opposing team.
As the modes get more complicated they also tend to error on the side of an arcade like feel as you are rewarded with unlockable skills known as feats. Feats can give heroes temporary abilities that they do not normally possess such as flame throwing bombs that can kill multiple players in a close proximity. As a player is rewarded with feats his true melees skill has the ability to shine atop the baseline combat.
For Honors platform offers a typically consistent netcode. While there have been instances where players feel as if they are on the receiving end of laggy input, a larger majority of the game seems to be generally consistent without interruptions during peer to peer connections. All battle modes seem to present a fair battle with only a few minor flaws. One flaw that has been noticed is that you could potentially lose an entire match if the Al sponge that replaces your missing player does not measure up to par with their battle abilities. Another major flaw that has been noticed is that the game may launch you into battles that are already streaming or are on the tail end of finishing which can count as a loss on your end for basically no reason. For this factor alone, many gamers have ceased in caring about their percentages of wins and losses in multiplayer modes as the counter is obviously flawed. However, For Honorís single player mode will not disappoint as you are challenged to conquer three different chapters each equipped with six unique missions. You can expect each mission to run you about five to eight hours of playing time upon completion which will have you satisfied without the feeling of being drug on.
Not to mention, For Honors storyline is chalk full of epically scripted moments. As the game sprinkles in these wonderfully scripted moments throughout your 18 missions you will have a chance to complete mini missions and take a break from continuously killing people. Some scripts will have you over taking fortresses in mid battle while scaling walls in a rain of arrows, while others will have you on missions engaging with enemies on horseback showing off your heroís abilities. Each of these moments will have you appreciating For Honors for the combat skill game it truly is. Unfortunately, the plot of For Honors is where the game falls short. The ridiculous characters stories are forgettable to say the least but luckily the action packed battles are epic enough to not need a jaunting story line for greatness to be achieved.
A highly enjoyable feature of the game is the campaign mode which forces you to engage and play with each and every hero. This acts as a catalyst for each gamer to really get to know every character and learn their strengths and weaknesses. The campaign also offers a range of difficulty levels which includes a more realistic mode where you can remove the guard indicator if you prefer that style of fighting. Each mission also offers a hidden collectibles hunt which is no easy feat but will earn you extra Steel.
In short, For Honor offers you an innovative battlefield where you can fight your peers to the death with a highly skilled and fully equipped hero of your choice. For around fifty eight dollars you can own For Honor, and see the second to none melee combat system in action for yourself. Where you will have total control as you fight for the glory, the honor, and the land.