For Honor on the surface seems like your typical hack-and-slash but it goes far beyond that with its combat system. The narrative is three factions, (Knights, Vikings, Samurai) all locked in a 3 way struggle for land and power in what is known as the Faction War. The combat system, which Ubisoft has taken to calling “The Art of Battle” is unique and well thought out, requiring split second decisions. The blocking system requires using the right thumbstick to block incoming attacks from left, center and, right. Attacking is done using the right bumper and trigger sometimes throwing in the press of the X button to “guard break” and then chaining attacks to deal as much damage as possible. Knowing when to block and when to strike is the key to winning any battle, multiplayer or campaign.
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed), Playstation 4, PC
The single player campaign consists of 18 missions (6 for each faction) that didn’t really call to me like the multiplayer did. It’s almost as if it was thrown together last minute to appease single player enthusiasts and just doesn’t do it for me. In the campaign, you cycle between most of the different heroes available based on what faction campaign mission you’re fighting through. The story starts you off as a Warden Knight where you are tasked with defending your fort from a vicious army known as The Blackstone Legion which culminates in the Warden eventually joining The Blackstone Legion. It became very apparent very quickly that The Blackstone Legion is the real enemy for the three factions and was going to be a very serious issue for them. While the campaign doesn’t give much in the way of actual story, it does offer up the chance to learn a lot of the different fighting styles before having your ass handed to you in multiplayer.
The multiplayer is where this game really packs a punch. With it’s numerous game modes ranging from Duels and Brawls (1v1 and 2v2 respectively) to the more crowded battlefields of Dominion (4v4) and Deathmatch (4v4 Skirmish or Elimination) where you’re put up against real players or AI as well as weaker much less worrisome foot AI soldiers.
Duel seems to be the best mode for those solo players who don’t want to have to worry about the battlefield at large. It allows you to hone your skills in ways that other modes might not by offering up a closer, more personal battle. My love for duels far surpasses anything I could possibly say about it. Something about a 1v1 battle gives me the feels. Brawl is a 2v2 mode not much different from Duel in that it works much the same way, only each player on a team has to keep the attention of one player or the other in order to win. If your teammate goes down it might as well be goodbye, as the other player will immediately attack you resulting in 2v1 battle that you have almost no chance of winning. Personally I just can’t get behind this one, it causes a lot of salt on my end, when I get stuck with a teammate that goes down almost immediately.
Dominion pits you 4v4 with AI foot soldiers as support where you’re tasked with defending 3 zones for points. Reaching 1000 points causes the enemy team to “break: resulting in the non-breaking team being able to permanently kill the other team and win. Dominion matches for me a lot of the time can end up being long drawn out battles as the capture points can sway a lot throughout the match. One moment a team has 1000 points and the next the other team has captured all the points and retaken the lead to break the opposing team again.
Deathmatch, which is broken down into Skirmish and Elimination, offers a more brutal play where the goal is to more or less, simply kill the enemy. Skirmish is won by simply earning 1000 points by killing the AI foot soldiers as well as human players; once that goal has been reached it’s as simple as killing everyone on the opposite team. Elimination, a no respawn mode, is much faster paced in that the only goal is to kill the other team, win three rounds and your team wins the match. Of the two types of Deathmatches, Elimination was my favorite because of it’s straight forward way to win, just simply killing the opposing team.
The 12 different heroes are divided into 4 classes, Vanguard, Heavy, Assassin, and Hybrid (4 for each faction, 1 of each of the 4 classes). The Vanguard class, has a strong defense and mediocre attack. Heavies fall in with large amounts of damage output and great defense. Assassin’s my personal favorite, are best at getting in quick, taking a few swipes at the enemy and retreating, before going back for more. The Hybrid class, as its name suggest combines the other three classes of each faction, into a hero capable of almost anything. Each one offering numerous attacks and counter attacks. My personal favorites have become the Peacekeeper (Knight Assassin), the Valkyrie (Viking Hybrid) and the Nobushi (Samurai Hybrid). The Peacekeeper’s combat style reminds me very much of Assassin’s Creed, and as pretty big fan I was instantly drawn to it. The Valkyrie sports a javelin and shield during combat allowing for all sorts of shield bashes and slashes. It hits home for me as well because of my fascination for Vikings and other seafaring nomads. The Nobushi, not very different from the Valkyrie carries a staff with a blade attached to the end. The Nobushi is my favorite of the four Samurai because of its lightning speed mobility allowing you to get in and get out as fast as possible.
The Final Word
In closing, For Honor has a lackluster of a campaign, but it’s multiplayer makes up for it. Across its four multiplayer modes it offers players some seriously bloody fun. Overall I had and will continue to have a well rounded experience.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good