For Honor Preview
Author: Luan Erasmus
For Honor is a soon to be released third person fighting simulator by Ubisoft that's had the gaming community on edge for months now. Play as the bloodthirsty vikings, honourable Samurai or fierce knights in an unending war between these factions. Choose the class and weapon that best suits your play style and vanquish your enemies until your people reign supreme.
introductionThe recently released trailers for For Honor had me way beyond excited. Not only did the game look pretty, as in princess at a ball wearing glass slippers pretty, but they put three of some of my favorite historical factions against each other in some of the bloodiest and brutal battles I've ever seen in a game. Those three factions, of course, are the Norse Vikings, Japanese Samurai and medieval knights.
Each faction also has four different warrior classes, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and move sets. The fact that each of the warrior classes is so different means that you'll spend a lot of time mastering each of them. Soon you'll not only get to grips with the various fighting styles but you'll also realize that some classes are clearly designed to counter others. While this is a good concept, in theory, I highly suspect that team battles between veteran players will become a round robin game of rock, paper, scissors, which will be a huge let down unless the balancing is perfect. Unfortunately, it isn't, not yet anyway.
For Honor lets you play various match types where you'll be pitted against an equal number of players from the opposite team. The objective might simply be to kill your enemies or to control areas around the map for a certain time period. Each of these game types brings something to the table that is sure to satisfy most players.
While the game is not available just yet, Ubisoft saw fit to make the beta available on Steam for testing this weekend. It is therefore not surprising that there are still some wrinkles to iron out but on the whole, For Honor looks like an addictive game with a lot of potential.
GameplayFor Honor is a simple fighting simulator that lets you master a range of beautifully designed melee weapons. There's no ranged attacks, magic or reality altering trickery involved, just plain old fashioned hand to hand combat. Fighting seems simple but can take some time to master. Essentially you move your mouse cursor either up, left or right to change your fighting stance. This will determine where you attack and block. Attacking an enemy in the same direction he's facing means that he'll automatically block your attack and visa verse. When attacking you can use either quick or heavy attacks and of course each fighter has various combinations of these available.
A blocked or missed attack drains your stamina more quickly and when you run out of stamina you are can only perform single attacks until you've caught your breath. Once you do, you'll be able to perform some fantastic combos to slice and dice your opponent once more, if they haven't done that to you already. There are some additional fighting options like stunning an enemy or throwing them back. This also allows you to throw them off an elevated platform when you're positioned right.
As mentioned, each faction has a number of fighting classes. These range from battleaxe wielding brutes, to agile assassins, to heavily armored juggernauts. Each class also has some additional skills you can use during battle which could simply replenish your stamina and health or provide fighting boosts. This means that each class provides a unique perspective on the game and players will thus spend hours getting to grips with all of them. While the game doesn't need these additional skills, they do make things more interesting and without them, I suspect that it might become stale after extended play.
Instead of a campaign like you'd find in games like Skyrim or Dark Souls, the game instead offers a number of matches The 1v1 and 2v2 matches are pretty straight forward. You face off against one or two enemies and have to kill them before they kill you. These don't last long which is why you play a number of rounds until there's a clear winner. These can be set to the best of 3, 5, 9 or 99.
4v4 is a bit more interesting though. These maps are much larger and feature 3 areas which your team needs to capture. The game lasts a certain amount of time during which time you'll accumulate points for each area under your team's control. When slain, your teammates can revive you or you'll respawn at the start of the map. These matches also contain soldiers who spawn endlessly and almost function like the creeps and minions we know from DOTA and League of Legends. These smaller soldiers can be killed with a single blow but in large numbers, they can quickly overwhelm even the strongest warriors.
Quick and custom matches are available where you can play online or against computer controlled bots but the main attraction should be the multiplayer option. When starting the game you choose one of the three factions to support. This doesn't limit you character selection though but when you win a multiplayer match you claim an area for your faction. These are updated in real time as matches occur around the world and stats are reset at the end of a season. While I wasn't able to test this out during my brief time with the beta, I suspect this will be a highly addictive mechanic that will have players firing up "just one more match" way too often. There have been numerous reports of connection problems with the multiplayer mode but issues like this is to be expected during beta testing and will hopefully be resolved at release.
Having a look at the trailer provides a good idea of what this game looks like because gameplay visuals are remarkably similar. It is achingly beautiful in every single way and although I noticed a few minor visual bugs, the overall design experience was stellar.
For Honor provides some of the most stunning battlegrounds you'll ever come across, using scenery from the native lands of all three factions. You will be splattering fresh blood in a previously tranquil Japanese forest, toss a knight off a cliff in a Scandinavian hillside or split some skulls inside a British fortress. Every map is absolutely breathtaking and even though they don't make any real difference to the gameplay, it's well worth exploring all of them just so you can bathe in their magnificence.
This does mean that the game is rather resource hungry. However, when launching the game I was warned that my rig didn't meet the minimum requirements for the game but it still ran without issues and even though the settings were turned way down it looked incredible.
ConclusionFor Honor is still being tested and I'm sure Ubisoft was inundated with reports of various bugs over this testing weekend. The biggest problems I experienced were some laggy responses when changing fighting positions and some balancing issues between the various fighting classes. These have been voiced by other players as well so hopefully, they'll be resolved by the time the game is launched.
However, none of the bugs I found were enough to take away from the awesome experience they've managed to put together. The gameplay is fun and challenging, and the various fighters give you a lot to dabble with. The match types are also great fun although I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed when I didn't find an option for an offline campaign.
The only thing to exceed the gameplay is the visuals. Screenshots simply don't do this game justice.
My time with For Honor was disappointingly short but I hope to get my hands on a full copy of the game soon and enjoy many violent killing sprees as a bloodthirsty raider. To arms my Viking brothers, today we'll feast on the blood of our enemies!