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For Honor Review (PS4)

For Honor is a visceral and exhilarating melee-based multiplayer experience like no other. Take on the role of the knight, viking, or samurai and face off against other players to the death. Players can customize their characters and learn multiple different moves and combos to eviscerate their foes. Guard against incoming blows and strike back to defeat your enemies.

For Honor Review (PS4)

Introduction

For Honor is developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Blue Byte and published by Ubisoft. This title is primarily a competitive online multiplayer game based solely on melee combat. Players can choose from 3 character types: Knight, Viking and Samurai. Each class has separate sub-classes with their own unique weapons, movesets and combos. There is a bevy of different modes available for players to participate in such as a story campaign and multiple different multiplayer modes.

For Honor is available for purchase from many retailers such as Gamestop for $24.99 for PS4, $19.99 for Xbox One and $59.99 for PC.

For Honor Review (PS4). Get used to not seeing faces in story mode

Story

Unfortunately the story campaign within For Honor is mostly forgettable. The player takes on the role of three separate main characters and makes their way through 6-7 missions for each chapter. The chapters focus on each type of character and attempt at giving a narrative for the world and for the player to be immersed in. This does not work very well however.

It's clear that the story campaign for this title is meant to be nothing more than just a long tutorial for a majority of the characters the player can use during multiplayer. This is not a bad idea as Titanfall 2 did something similar in terms of Titan load-outs. The difference here is that For Honor's story packs no real punch or emotional pull of any kind.

Each main character is only given a title rather than a name. They also are hardly ever seen without a mask or helmet. For me this basically dehumanized the characters and combined with the stilted dialogue made me not care at all what happened to them or their comrades during the course of the narrative. The other issue here is that the supposedly "menacing" villain Apollyon comes off as one-dimensional as possible. Her actions during the campaign are never really expounded upon and by the end I didn't care if she died or not as she was quite boring overall.

The story did have a few laughable moments of dialogue but nothing that truly stuck with me. I was also perplexed by the idea of the main villain faction known as the Black Legion being just an evil faction of knights. I understand the developer wanting to keep the 3 main factions at the forefront but it could have been a nice surprise to have a 4th unknown faction that could then be unlocked by beating the story campaign.

Story is not what most players will be picking this title up for however. They'll be coming for the highly entertaining and engrossing multiplayer.

For Honor Review (PS4). Take back your territory in Dominion mode!

Gameplay

The multiplayer modes within For Honor are some of the most fun I've had playing against others in quite a while. The majority of these modes take place within an overall mode known as Faction Wars. This mode allows players to deploy troops and take territory based on how many victories they can obtain during different matches. Each season of this mode takes about 10 weeks to finish and at the end the winning faction receives bonuses and extra items to outfit their characters with.

One mode I had the most fun with during my time exploring the multiplayer was Tribute. This is a 4v4 team based mode where players are tasked with placing tribute sticks in their own altars to gain bonuses and win the match. The opposing team attempts to either keep their own tributes or steal the other teams. This mode can get wild very quickly as people of all different skill sets are playing. There is normally a time limit for this mode and it can be extended if there is a tie between the teams. This was the mode I played the most and had the most fun with overall.

The other mode I played the most was Dominion mode. This is another 4v4 team based mode where the objective is instead to take as much territory as possible before the other team can do so. Players are assisted by AI troops and must take the 3 separate areas before the opposing team can beat them to it,. This mode takes a lot of concentration and communication between teammates to assure victory. The longer an area is kept under your control the more points you receive. If either team reaches 1000 points  and kills all remaining enemy heroes the game is won. This mode can be quite difficult to get used to but works quite similarly to most king of the hill modes in other games.

There are a few other modes that allow for 1v1, 2v2, or 4v4 deathmatches alongside a 4v4 elimination mode as well. The game modes available within this title are quite varied and will keep people happy for a long time to come.

Players can also equip different types of weapons, armor and abilities unlocked through playing these different modes. These items can be upgraded or dismantled to upgrade others. Players can also receive new items from multiplayer matches or by purchasing boxes to give them randomized loot. 

One element that makes the multiplayer modes work so well is the well implemented blocking mechanic. The game is already an interesting gamble on multiplayer games as there are little to no firearms available. This means a majority of combat has to do with one-on-one melee combat. They way that Ubisoft made this interesting is by allowing players to block incoming attacks and thereby counterattack as well. Players can block attacks coming from the left, right or from above them as well. This makes the game quite the exciting experience as you never truly know if your enemy will be skilled enough to block your attacks.

The game also has quite the impressive move list and combos available for each of it's 12 different warriors to choose from. This makes the game almost fighting game-esque in terms of combat overall.  It also adds a level of complexity to the combat that I was completely unaware of before playing the game. Most matches devolve into a game of cat and mouse to see who can block or parry their opponents's moves the best before striking a fatal blow. This coupled with the stamina meter that goes down with each combat action makes for quite the nail-biting experience for the player overall. Another thing that helps is that each character plays completely different from the last. This allows the player to pick and choose their own playstyle. 

For Honor Review (PS4). Vikings can be quite brutal up close

Graphics and audio

For Honor is a bit disappointing graphically and in terms of audio as well. Everything looks fairly good but not as polished as it could have been  when compared to other games.  Horizon Zero Dawn this is not. Each character type is unique enough from one another. The player can also customize them to have different colors, ornaments, armor options and weapons to suit their own style. The environments in the game are a bit of a bore also. Most of the story campaign missions take place in areas only populated by enemies. There are no NPC characters other than your AI comrades or bosses and soldiers you must defeat. This made the world feel devoid of life in my opinion and is definitely an area of improvement.

Oddly enough I'm not sure what to say about the music in For Honor. There seems to be a sometimes present orchestral score but I hardly ever heard it being played even though I adjusted my settings. The effects for the different weapons and armor clashes sound good enough but the voice acting is not the best. As stated before, most people are here just to play the multiplayer and nothing else. Most won't pick up on the small chinks in the armor but they are things that could be addressed to make the game better overall.  A sweeping orchestral soundtrack could have added a lot of depth and ambiance to the fights.

For Honor Review (PS4). The Peacekeeper is a fast and agile warrior

Conclusion

For Honor is completely a gamble on Ubisoft's part in terms of it's inherent design. Most competitive multiplayer games out there focus upon 1st or 3rd person shooter mechanics rather than melee-focused combat. This is what makes the game feel truly special and a treat to play time and time again. The story mode may not be up to par with other games out there and the overall graphical and audio quality isn't exceptional but the deep and well-designed multiplayer is one of the most fun and exciting experiences I've ever had in a game. Being able to duel other players as a katana-wielding Samurai while Knights and Vikings face off behind me is quite the spectacle to behold. I was not prepared for how much fun For Honor truly was going to be.

PROSCONS
+ Deep and Immersive Multiplayer– Uninteresting and Forgettable Story Campaign
+ Varied Gameplay Modes– Somewhat Watered Down Graphics
+ Well Designed Blocking Mechanic– Weak Soundtrack and Voice Acting
+ Many Characters and Move-set
8
Great

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