We’ve seen a lot of first-person and third-person online shooters that dominate the video game market. There’s nothing wrong with the shooting genre, but some people like to seek something new and different.
Ubisoft has been good this generation trying out new IPs such as Watch Dogs, The Crew and The Division. This year it introduces a new IP called For Honor and the publisher might be on to another winning franchise. This game is unique as it takes the hack-n-slash genre to the online multiplayer realm and it works really well!
Think about it, how many hack-n-slash style games have a competitive online multiplayer mode? Nioh, Dark Souls, Ryse: Son of Rome and more have all been single player experiences. This game takes the fight both offline and online and the unique combat system works on both ends.
Let’s talk further about this combat system because it’s something I have never seen before. In most hack-n-slash style video games, you will use the face buttons to mash your way to victory. Here in this game, the controls are more intuitive and immersive to make the combat more realistic and satisfying.
Anyway, you use the L2 (left trigger) to target an enemy and then a cursor is shown on the screen. Enemies either attack you from up high, left or right. When an arrow appears on the screen that turns red, you use the right analog stick to block in that direction.
The more I played the game, the more I loved its combat system. The enemy can also block in the same directions as you so you have to strike their body where they can least expect it. R2 (right trigger) is for heavy attacks while R1 (right bumper) is for light attacks.
You can also pause the game in order to look at the skills and abilities that your chosen hero has. There are combos that you can do to deal more damage and they are more effective in combat. It’s best to be unpredictable as your opponent will easily block your attacks all of the time if you keep spamming the same move over and over again.
Another thing that makes the combat system so great is that it rewards skill and precision. If you spam attacks, your soldier will get tired and you will be open to more damage. Not to mention when you are fatigued you do less damage to your opponent too. This game rewards those that have great timing and dodging skills.
The combat system is even more unpredictable when you factor in the 12 different classes that you can be split into the three main factions. This game include classes from the Knights, Vikings and Samurai with each faction feeling completely different from one another.
My personal favorite class type is the Peacemaker from the Knights. She is really fast and can kill enemies in quick fashion with her dual swords. There are of course bigger characters that you can be that have huge axes and can do a lot of damage, although they’re much slower in battle. It’s great though that there is a variety of characters to choose from to cater to everyone’s personal taste.
In terms of game modes, For Honor includes a surprisingly decent single player mode. When Ubisoft first advertised this game, I assumed it would be like Rainbow Six: Siege or Star Wars Battlefront and offer no single player campaign.
Thankfully, the single player campaign is enjoyable as you can play as each of the three factions with six levels each. The story is intertwined between the three factions and it allows you to be all of the 12 characters.
Some people might find the single player campaign to be a bit challenging at parts though. Mowing down enemy soldiers is satisfying, but things get more challenging when you encounter bosses. The bosses are cool, but you need to have mastered the game in order to beat them. They conjure up cheap tricks to make things harder all the time…
I also admired that the levels in the single player mode weren’t just recycled from the multiplayer. You actually play on newly made maps and there are a variety of missions do so in each level to make it feel not so repetitive. The only disappointing thing about the single player mode is that it’s a bit short.
Still, the levels in For Honor look gorgeous. I would even go as far as saying this is one of the best looking games that Ubisoft has ever made this generation. The environments actually look photo realistic and there is diversity in the level design as you will fight when it’s sunny, night time or even when it’s raining.
Most people that have played For Honor would have taken a dive on the multiplayer mode. I must say, the multiplayer mode is really enjoyable and fun. One of the best parts about it is that it allows you to practice against A.I. bots before you take on real-life players. This is awesome if you are the type of person that usually sucks playing online…
For Honor offers a sizable number of multiplayer modes with each discipline feeling different from one another. The two main modes are Dominion and Skirmish where it’s 4v4 on a single map. You have to either capture points on the maps or kill opponents to score points. A.I. minions are also there to make it feel like a real battlefield.
Elimination is another similar mode, although it’s where a team has to kill the entire opponent’s team. My favorite modes are Brawl and Duel. Brawl is a one-on-one match to the death while Duel is similar although it’s 2v2. These two modes are where you can truly test out your skills.
As fun as the multiplayer mode is, it’s sad to report that the game’s matchmaking network is still mediocre. Even after a week that the game has been out, I dropped out of matches multiple times without any warning.
Another thing that annoys me about the game is the mandatory always online connection. If you want to just play the game’s single player mode, you still have to connect online via Uplay every time you boot it up. I still don’t know why you have to be connected to the internet all of the time even on single player mode. Other games don’t do that…
Verdict: When For Honor was first announced, I was skeptical at first because it didn’t look like my type of game. After playing this for several hours though, I’m happy to say the game has won me over thanks to its innovative combat system and excellent graphics. Both single player and multiplayer modes are fun, although it’s still annoying that matchmaking is still a problem. Hopefully the netcode gets fixed soon as this is a fun game to play.
[Editor’s Note: For Honor was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]