For Honor Review | Feel The Blade

Even for newcomers to the world of medieval warlords, For Honor has the appeal of intense and dramatic action with a sole emphasis on the intimacy between 1 on 1 battles in this war of attrition. With a brand new melee system that pushes your ability to read opponents and pull off swift blows, For Honor proves that not every fighting game needs to be on a 2D plane and redefines the immersion that comes with melee combat.

For Honor is going to be the game that you never realized you wanted. With a diverse roster between Vikings, Knights, & Samurais, players are forced to overcome various playstyles and engage into one of the most creative and innovative fighting systems I’ve ever played. Within the 3 factions there are 12 total heroes to choose from, each having a different playstyle than the next that constantly challenges you to learn and adapt with every fight you engage in.

For Honor

For Honor Review

At the core of For Honor is its “Art of Battle” fighting system. The title proves to hold truth, as every fight discourages button mashing a flurry of moves to break your opponents spirit. Instead, it begs you to lock on, move slow, read your opponent’s footing, and watch eachother’s stances to ultimately come out victorious.  Using the right thumbstick you change your weapon stance to the left, right, or top. If you’re successful, matching your opponents stance while they attack allows you to block their blow, giving you the chance with a mixture of light and heavy attacks to find your opponents vulnerabilities and strike.

For Honor
While on the surface it is a system that is easily approachable and learned, add parries, unblockable attacks, throws, stuns, environmental kills, and much more, and you have an unprecedented amount of depth to the Art of Battle system that defines going from a meager warrior to a genocidal master. This combat system exhibits the immersion and emotional state For Honor engages with you. A state that makes you think fast, act in a cautious manner, and if you’re lucky, come out victorious. Whether it’s with a blade, throwing your opponent off a cliff, or a head severing execution.

Each faction holds 1 of 4 classes: Vanguard, Assassin, Hybrid, & Heavy. At the start, you are given the Vanguard for free; the staple hero that comes to mind when you think of a Knight, Viking, or Samurai. It’s the standard balanced class with an easy to approach fighting style holding an underlying amount of depth. The Heavy classes are bigger enemies who, while they lose a great amount of stamina with each swing, pack a deadly punch and overwhelm foes with their massive health pool. Assassins are agile and don’t boast a lot of health, but can run into a fight, parry successfully and instill bleeding effects all while keeping a great distance from their foes. Hybrids are a mixture of 2 classes from each faction, generally holding long range weapons and featuring their own combat specialties.

For Honor Knights

Player choice is essential to creating an engaging multiplayer experience and For Honor accomplishes just that with items I would’ve never expected to control in a video game.

Varying game modes keep multiplayer fresh and enjoyable for whatever type of play-style your armoring up for on that given session. The 1v1 and 2v2 duels bring a great challenge to players who want to focus all their efforts on using all their skills to best another foe with a best to 5 scoring system. Modes like Skirmish & Elimination add a varying challenge like eliminating minions and heroes in a more arcade-like manner. Elimination modes are where players have access to their abilities such as calling in an aerial strike of arrows and using fire bombs on top of dueling. Dominion is the massive spectacle where your mission is to capture objectives in order to boost your score until you cap out and go for the final kill against enemy heroes.

While Dominion is the best showcase for a war spectacle, each match felt almost over before it began, if a team pulled forward at all. At times I’d randomly see we took the lead when we’ve only maintained one point the whole match. It’s a lot to process but with the right amount of coordination so you’re not all running from one point to another, it’s still a great mode to jump into with 4 friends, just in small doses.

For Honor

So far in my time with For Honor, the Knight’s hybrid Lawbringer has made for a devastating foe. Massive like a mountain, quickly charging in like a bull, and dragging my opponents across the arena. While he doesn’t hold much stamina, I’m always able to keep my spacing until I get the chance nab a stab in the chest, throw them over my shoulder, and pummel them while they’re dazed on the floor.

While each hero is approachable, For Honor begs you to find your own that fits your playstyle and refine it, strengths and weaknesses included. Just like in Overwatch and Smite, each hero has a counter that keeps the roster feeling balanced, catering to multiple playstyles and roles. For example, if I was forced to go against another Lawbringer, I wouldn’t choose another heavy but maybe rather go for the Knights’ assassin Peacekeeper and exploit his slow attack speed and lack of stamina. This helps players adhere different playstyles to multiple heroes and keeps you engaged within the multiple roles such classes can occupy.

For Honor

As you fight, the victor does reap the spoils with in-depth customization for your appearance, gear, and abilities in Skirmish and Elimination. This is where I felt my character truly shined in For Honor, given all the tools necessary to make my dream warrior. Unlocking new stat boosting helmets, blades, handles and more for my hero. It’s this type of progression that made Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare so engaging, knowing you can plan each loadout for different situations in such a personal way. This player choice is essential to creating an engaging multiplayer experience and For Honor accomplishes just that with items I would’ve never expected to control in a video game.

Further developing the depth to multiplayer is the “War of the Factions” and how that intertwines with competitive seasons. Based on your performance in matches you are rewarded with faction points that contribute towards the great war between the Knights, Vikings, & Samurai. Pledging your sword to the faction of your choice helps guide you into this more expansive cross-platform multiplayer experience, allowing you to attack and defend portions of the map. At the end of each 2-week round and 10-week season, players receive in-game rewards based on the standing of their faction.

The system is hit or miss with players. You’ll either care or not about putting down your War efforts but these territory wars contain more than just in rewards. One subtle yet successful reward of capturing these territories is that as you capture areas of the map for your faction, those multiplayer maps will don the decorations of your faction. This keeps the maps feeling fresh and exciting without putting a paywall on new maps. Maybe dueling out on a castle one day pledged to the knights, but the next it is decked out with samurai gear and accolades.

While the narrative in For Honor walks a thin line between cheesy and badass, the intense duels and marvelous set pieces make this campaign a must play.

Make no mistake: For Honor’s major emphasis surrounds the multiplayer; however the game does include a memorable and very distinct campaign. While still requiring an online connection, you can assume the roles of warriors from the 3 factions to fight for your clan and ultimately push to stop the villainous, Apollyon, the instigator of this war torn society.

For Honor nails the campaign by allowing you to play through memorable moments rather than just watch them. Set pieces drive this campaign, one moment you’re fighting across an icy lake thawing underneath you, and the next you’ll be atop a battering ram, dueling with a Viking warlord. These 3 unique chapters help bring depth to the universe, giving a good juxtaposition between the faction’s personalities and the moral codes that abide to their cause. While the narrative rides a thin line between cheesy and badass, the intense duels and marvelous set pieces make this campaign a must play and a perfect tutorial to characters you may have been considering recruiting.

Having a campaign that focuses individually on heroes looking to better themselves makes for a strong attachment with each faction. The writing keeps your heroes anonymous with a considerable lack of depth to them but in a game hell bent on loyalties and honor, I found this to be perfectly fine as I pushed towards my final destination. I was consistently eager to learn more about how the factions and sub factions treat each other rather than individually. While a campaign in a game like this would expect to focus on the conflict between Knights, Vikings, & Samurai’s, getting a look into where different factions such as Vikings vs Viking conflict created sub plot that was engaging and an intriguing new perspective to war not common in video games.

For Honor is an ambitious IP that hit the blade right in the jugular, creating a beautiful new combat system, character in its various roles and factions, and an underlying amount of depth and customization that contributes to an engaging multiplayer experience with tons of replayability. If you’ve wondered what it’s like to hold a 5 foot long sword, For Honor is going to be your best chance at feeling the intimacy of dueling with histories deadliest warriors.

For Honor (PS4)
Final thoughts
What we liked
What we disliked
9

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