Like Deadliest Warrior meeting Total War, For Honor is a clash to the death between Knights, Samurais, and Vikings.
I was originally intrigued from last year’s gameplay reveal at E3. Yet despite this, I was nervous that the game would only appear to niche audiences, ultimately getting lost amongst the AAA blockbusters that release to much more mainstream fanfare. After spending time with the recent beta, though, I’m ready to grab my own sword and shield and battle it out with some of the greatest fighters in history.
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Diving In, With Honor
Going into For Honor, I wasn’t 100% familiar with the game. I was aware that it included a unique fighting stance mechanic to block characters via the right thumbstick. I also knew that the main conflict centers around Samurais, Vikings, and Knights. From the start of the introduction cinematic, I was captivated by the personality that is shown between every faction. Samurais draw their lines in the sand, Vikings intimidate their foes clamoring against their shields, and Knights display every sense of honor before taking a stab at their enemies. The personality is there and in a multiplayer heavy game, these changes matter as it bleeds into the companionship between your hero and the dedication of taking the time to sift through countless of aesthetic and stat boosting items in order to build your fighter to suit your own play style.
After customizing my player emblem, bearing my custom insignia and colors, I was ready to get into the fight, but before entering the online modes, you have to choose your faction. This won’t lock you into a certain team, but it will affect your alignment for multiplayer season. I thought it was really unique how each faction conquers territory by putting down war efforts which are earned based on how well you do online.
In war of the factions, your level of skills in battle will determine the amount of war efforts you obtain from matches. Once obtained, you get to choose a piece of the map that aligns with your faction that you wish to boost the war effort in. As more and more players place down larger amounts of war efforts, you can overcome the opposing faction that take over that region of the map.
It’s a unique system that brings together the sense of camaraderie associated with passion for your faction and shows ultimate bragging rights from season to season.
As the multiplayer seasons change and you take over new regions, the maps will change to affiliate with the dominant faction in that map. For example, while I could be playing on the canyons map dominated by the Samurais on release, in a couple months I could be back at that same map but be surrounded by Viking aesthetics. It’s a unique and subtle system that deserves to be acknowledged, mixing up map variety so you’re not looking at the same banners or decorations for the duration of your time in For Honor.
Fights are tense and dramatic in every sense that the intro cinematic conveys. I started my journey in the most enticing of modes, which was the 4v4 Dominion mode, similiar plays to in various shooters. After choosing from one the nine playable heroes, I went with the Knight and stormed into the war, slashing through minion after minion until I was faced with my first player controlled Viking.
Using the right stick you can control your weapon stance to the left, right, or top to either block oncoming attacks or dish out your own. Keeping up with matching the opposing player as they based their ax into my sword felt like I was laid on my back holding my sword up in hopes to block every blow. I shield broke into him, staggering their footing and breaking the defense as I went for the signature double quick slash, finishing with a massive blow to the head.
I pulled off an execution and basked in the glory, only to be stabbed from behind by a Samurai.
Fights between these heroes are intimate, intense, and most of all, require quick decision making to confuse your foe. While Dominion is a graphical skeptical to behold, the intimacy of the fights and the dreams of not being mutilated in a 1v3 situation made me quickly back out and move onto the 1v1 duels, where I truly had time with no distractions to learn my opponent. Basking in my victories (and many losses), I opened up some loot boxes earning new armor and weapon parts and tuned up my knight who was eager to go back into combat.
In such a heavy shooter multiplayer scene, its no wonder that the personality, uniqueness, and emphasis in 1v1 combat makes For Honor shine above other titles. While reaction time is important, its only one simple strategy in this easy to learn and difficult to master fight between the warriors of time. While I walked into this game skeptical about its depth and gameplay mechanics, I came out wishing I had more time to keep hunting for the best gear so I could come out on top in the gauntlet.
While not your average video game, give it a chance when it releases tomorrow, and I promise you wont be disappointed.
Are you looking forward to For Honor? Let us know in the comments below.