Over the weekend, Ubisoft released the beta for its anticipated new IP For Honor. For Honor is a third-person action game that features intense one-on-one weapons combat. The game features an ongoing war between three rival factions; knights, Vikings, and samurais, that is being manipulated by a warlord named Apollyon. The hallmark of the game is its dueling melee combat system. Players assume the role of one of three characters from the three factions and, at least for the beta, participate in one-on-one duels, two-on-two brawls, and four-on-four dominion matches. I will go into my thoughts on all three modes and speak about the characters available.
When you start For Honor, the game will ask you to join one of the three factions so your online progress throughout the game can influence the ongoing faction war known as War of the Factions. War of the Factions is a global, ongoing, cross-platform event that has the factions fighting for territory. I chose to join the samurai faction. When your chosen faction succeeds in gaining the most territory, you receive rewards.
Though once you choose a faction you are locked in, thankfully, aligning yourself with a faction doesn’t hinder you from using any character you want in battle.
Let’s talk about the game’s combat first. Each character fights with a weapon that is specific to them and is an accurate representation of the types of weapons they utilized historically. When a match begins, players run towards one another and begin combat. To engage in combat, you must enter guard mode to bring up the guarding options. I played the beta on Xbox One so I had to hold down the left trigger to enter it. Once in guard mode, you can perform light attacks by pressing the right bumper and heavy attacks by pressing the right trigger. Manually moving your weapon, using the right analog stick, changes the characters fighting stance from a low stance, mid stance, and a high stance. Each character has a moves list full of combos that you can perform and it is vital to learn at least some of them to find success in the game.
Mastering the blocking system will determine if you’re going to be good at the game.
While in guard mode, players must manually move their weapon to the same side the opponent is swinging their weapon in order to block an incoming strike. It might seem pretty straightforward but in the heat of battle, one missed block can spell doom for you. Trust me, I know.
Players can also dash away from strikes by pressing the A button. The combat system is very satisfying but definitely requires practice to master. Each character has their own unique fighting style and learning the specific quirks of your chosen character will pay dividends for your success in the game.
The full game will feature 12 total characters but the beta only had nine characters. Since I chose the samurai faction, I thought I’d stick with using the samurai characters to start off. Each faction features various character types that players can choose from. Each faction has its heavy character, its balanced character, and its more agile characters. Before I realized I could unlock other characters using the in-game currency, I began with the balanced samurai character named Kensei but after a couple of matches I changed to the Orochi character and used this character the rest of the way. The Orochi character is an elite counter-attacker that I think is best utilized so far by running in to perform quick combos and baiting players into attacking.
The first mode I played in were the one-on-one duels. This was my favorite mode as it was just straight up one-on-one battles. Now since this was a beta, the activity level was low so I only was able to battle against actual people a few times. The rest of the time was against the A.I. of the game but they were very formidable. The duels are a best out of five and each match ends with the defeat of one of the players. This was the best way to experience the combat in my opinion and nothing beats the intense nature of the duels.
The second mode was the two-on-two brawls. This is the mode I spent time with the least. This mode is just what it sounds like; two teams of two battle each other and the match ends when one team is completely eliminated. Now there is a bit of strategy to this mode as a couple of times I experienced the opposing team taking out one of my team members in tandem and then leaving me to face both of them alone. If you or your teammate happens to lose your individual duel, then fully expect to fight the remaining duo by yourself. Good luck.
The third and final mode available in the beta were the four-on-four dominion matches. This is the flagship mode of the multiplayer and it makes sense since I had no trouble finding players in this mode. The mode features two teams of four battling for control of the map. There are three zones that your team can take control of and your team gains points for every second you are in control of a zone. The more zones your team controls, the faster your team accumulates points.
When I played, the most contentious zone was zone B which was located in the middle of the map. Zones A and C were respectively located near points where each team respawns on opposite sides of the map. In addition to the eight player-controlled characters, the battlefield is littered with A.I. controlled soldiers also battling for each team. To combat these soldiers, players don’t need to be in guard mode as they are easily killed. You feel all powerful when effortlessly defeat a slew of soldiers. Players spend the entirety of the match claiming and maintaining zones until one team reaches 1000 points. After a team reaches 1000 points, the two teams must permanently defeat each other to win the match. The matches were a bit chaotic especially in the most contentious spots where the soldiers fight. When you’re in that large scrum, it’s a bit difficult to differentiate between the soldiers and player characters but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the mode.
My impressions of the game are very positive after spending time with the beta. I was most interested in the combat system and it was the most satisfying element. Once you get your hands on it, you’ll have a better understanding of how great it feels. The one-on-one duels are the best and I can see that being a very competitive mode and garner a sizeable following, I am still interested to see if the campaign will be engaging or if it will feel tacked on which is a fear of mine. After playing the beta, I’m definitely more excited about For Honor.
What are your thoughts on For Honor? Did you play the beta? I want to hear from you so let me know in the comments. As always please like and share.