For Honor Review
For Honor is an action game developed and published by Ubisoft for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that lets you fight against AI or other players as either a Knight, Viking or Samurai across five game-modes.
Campaign & Story
The game takes place after a natural catastrophe that forced the games three faction to fight for resources and territory. During these troublesome times the warlord Apollyon wants to provoke an all-out war between the factions, believing that they had grown weak in the previous years of relative peace.
The campaign lets you experience the weeks leading to the Faction War through the eyes of one warrior of each faction. There are three separate chapters, each for one faction, which can be played in any order you wish. However, once you have started a chapter you have to finish it, before you can start the next.
It took us about seven hours to finish all three chapters and while the game’s focus is clearly on the multiplayer, the campaign feels well done and worth playing. Since the game lets you play with all of the available classes during the story, it also serves as a kind of tutorial for the multiplayer.
There are three different difficulty settings which in addition to changing the strength of enemies in terms of health and damage also reduces the UI to a minimum on the “Realistic” setting. Together with how the combat works, this makes for a decent challenge and forces you to study the attack-patterns of opponents and learn how to counter them effectively on the fly.
There is also the possibility of tackling the campaign missions together with a friend, which makes it even more worthwhile.
The game plays from a third-person-perspective and plays quite like a hack and slash with a lot of little AI enemies that have similarities to minions in MOBAs. However, when you encounter an enemy player or bot is when things get interesting.
The combat system is derived from a system used in battle choreography that divides the human body into three zones. Characters in For Honor will have three stances or guards corresponding to each of these zones, which determine where an attack will come from. By mirroring the enemie’s guard you can block an enemy attack.
In addition to blocking you can also parry by using a heavy attack at the right moment, while mirroring the attackers guard. Dodging an attack is also a possibility and sometimes even favourable for more mobile classes. However, you need to attack an enemy carefully, since every attack drains stamina, especially if it is parried. If your stamina bar reaches zero your character will be severely limited until he recovers from this exhaustion state.
If you are outnumbered in combat, you will fill the so-called Revenge Meter by blocking attacks or attacking depending on your class and abilities. Once filled you are able to activate Revenge Mode which gives you unlimited stamina and a shield for a few seconds, potentially allowing you to overpower the other players, as long as you are skilled enough.
When a player dies they can be resurrected by an ally. You can stop this by performing an execution, which is done by last hitting an opponent with a heavy attack and then pressing the assigned button for one of the possible animations. These are very important in Elimination matches as to avoid rounds being stalled too long by enemies constantly resurrecting their fallen teammates.
Each faction features four playable classes, which are all significantly different and individually customizable. So called Feats are unlockable abilities that will improve your character during each match. These also provide you with more tools to fight your enemies, like shooting an enemy with a bow or gaining health by killing other players. You can also earn new equipment, patterns, symbols and colors to further customize your characters stats and appearance.
The multiplayer is divided into five different modes that cater to individual play-styles and allow for good variety in gameplay.
The most teamwork oriented game-mode is Dominion in which your team has to capture checkpoints to receive points and hold them until they reach the threshold of a thousand points. As soon as this happens the opposing team will start “breaking”, which means they will not be able to respawn. Now it is your team’s job to kill every member of the breaking team to ensure victory. If the breaking team manages to recapture an area and get the winning team below 1000 points again, the breaking status will be removed and the game continues normally.
Next are the two Deathmatch game-modes Skirmish and Elimination. Skirmish is a lot like Dominion, but without capturing points. Instead your team has to kill enemies – both players and AI – to receive points and reach the threshold to break the enemy. As the name suggests Elimination gives every member of your team one spawn only. Every member of your team will spawn in a different location and be pitted against a random member of the enemy team. Once you defeat your opponent you can go to help your allies overcome their opponents. Of course you can always choose to run to your nearest ally instantly and making the fight a 2vs2, if you feel outmatched by the opponent the game matched you to.
The last two modes are Duel and Brawl, where you fight 1vs1 or 2vs2 respectively in an elimination-style scenario. In both modes you will play within a small part of the map. These game-modes are more based on each players skill since there is little team-play involved or literally none in the case of Duel.
If you’re feeling creative you can also start custom games with settings like one-hit kills or shorter ability cooldowns and play them with your friends for even more variety.
Unfortunately there are a lot of reported network and connection issues with the game some of which we encountered ourselves, sometimes preventing us to play against other players or receive rewards after winning games.
The Faction War
As mentioned before, the multiplayer map shows how much territory each faction occupies and determines which maps are used in matchmaking. This system is called the Faction War and can be directly influenced by each player. The better you perform in your matches, the more so-called War Assets you will get at the end of each match. You can use these to attack or defend a region on the map to help out your faction. All six hours the map will be updated and the faction with the most War Assets in one region will conquer it.
The Faction War is divided into seasons, which are divided into rounds. Each round lasts two weeks and after five rounds the season ends. At the end of the season players get rewards based on their faction’s success in the Faction War. After the season ends the Faction War will be reset, but according to the developers, events will carry over and influence future seasons. It is also worth noting that the Faction War takes all platforms into account, which means each faction’s standing will be the same on both consoles and PC.
Graphics & Performance
Graphics-wise For Honor definitely delivers with a beautifully rendered world and smooth animations that help you immerse yourself. Keep in mind however that the console versions are capped at 30 fps. While both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 versions are more or less equal in quality, the PC version offers a few minor improvements like higher draw distance and improved lighting.
All in all For Honor delivers a very fun and rewarding, but also sometimes challenging multiplayer experience. The campaign is a lot better than most multiplayer-focused video games. The vast amount of customization options and a solid progression system also add a lot to the experience.
Even though there are some network issues we can recommend picking it up, if you’re the kind of player who is into a competitive environment that caters to both team-players and to people who prefer to fight alone. However, because the network issues can be very frustrating when trying to play with friends or against real people, we would suggest waiting for Ubisoft to come out with a patch and potentially save a few bucks.
(out of 100)
All in all For Honor delivers a very fun and rewarding but also challenging multiplayer experience.
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