This one’s on me, folks. While obviously still reserving my full opinions for the release of the game, I have to admit that my initial impressions of For Honor made it out to be simply a more serious version of Chivalry.
Ah, Chivalry. That game, friends, slayed me. Here, enjoy this, it’s certainly Not Safe For Work. “FOR THE ORDER!!!”
Right, so that’s what I’ve had in mind with For Honor. I certainly didn’t dismiss the game, but I went into it thinking it would be little more than AAA polished version of Chivalry. That game? That could have done with some more polish, though I suppose its charm lie in its faults.
For Honor managed to wow me a bit during my hands-on experience at a pre-Gamescom event hosted by Ubisoft. They sat us down to tackle some multiplayer content, for which I have plenty of notes. Please hold while I decipher my personal scribblings done in a half-lit room in order to rundown exactly what we know about the facts and features within For Honor‘s multiplayer.
So far, we know that For Honor will offer a full campaign. That campaign will be playable entirely in co-op, and the console versions of the game will feature splitscreen co-op for the campaign.
Then we have competitive multiplayer. The demo we played offered two different game types. The first was Dominion, a capture and hold style game with three objectives that two teams of four fought to win. We also played a Duels mode that, just like it sounds, pit players together in a 1 vs. 1 match with a Best of Five component. The first to win three rounds would win the match.
The game will have more modes at launch, like a more deathmatch-type mode called Skirmish, but this is what we saw during the demo. These modes will also all feature bots.
What about the heroes you play? For Honor‘s taking a unique hero approach here by giving each faction (Knights, Samurai, Vikings) its own heroes complete with their own specialties, weaponry and abilities. The Viking heavy, for instance, won’t be the same as the Knight heavy with just a different character model. Here are the heroes announced so far.
Each character has their own progression system that’s tied specifically to them. That comes in the form of XP and loot, with unique items dropping between matches that improve heroes in one way while hurting them in another. These characters even have cosmetic progressions, which let players show off how much they’ve earned while on the battlefield.
Right, so how does it all feel?
For Honor is a game that puts players against AI and one another in complex melee combat. Swords, shields, aces, naginatas, pikes, spears, flails, you name it. Weaponry from the height of hand-to-hand brutality across three separate cultures are all on display.
You’ll charge into frays with teammates and immediately square off against opponents. If more than one go after you at once, good luck. This game requires you lock on and set your hand on the right thumbstick. You’ll watch your opponent’s weapon, and you have to push the thumbstick in the direction of their weapon in order to block. Want to land a hit? You’ll use the thumbstick to push away from your opponent’s block, and then you’ll either hit them with a strong or weak attack.
For Honor‘s combat system operates with momentum in mind, too. If you swing across your body from right to left, the best attack from there would be to swing left back to right, harnessing that momentum to build a natural combo. If you spam right side attack over and over, like I constantly did as I tried to learn how to play, you’ll see less damage dealt.
The game is fun, but the combat feels overwhelming at first. Block in specific directions, attacking in others and squaring off against a single opponent is hard enough. Then come the moments when you’re battling two or three others. The developers recently implemented a Revenge system. In these moments, get hit or block a lot of successive blows, and your Revenge meter builds up. Once it’s full, you can unleash a more powerful version of your warrior, complete with the ability to swing without attacks being stopped by blocks. You won’t do damage if they’re blocked, but you won’t lose momentum, either. The tides of battle can turn quickly with this mechanic in mind.
I really dug what I played in For Honor. At times it felt like a better version of Chivalry, sure, but this is its own game. I kick myself for thinking any different, too. For Honor is a complicated title that I’m looking to slice into when it drops. The game is bound for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms on February 14, 2017.