For Honor, a game that resembles what would happen if you combined Mount & Blade with a MOBA. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, For Honor puts you into the sabatons of Knights, Vikings and Samurai is a world where 3 vastly different cultures meet on the battlefield, out of time and out of history.
The following is a preview of the Close Alpha state of For Honor, and all information is subject to change.
With the Alpha build, players had access to 3 game modes, 1 on 1 duels, 2 on 2 brawls and a 4 on 4 dominion match. Each game mode has its own style of play to it, with varying skill levels of players actually involved in playing the modes themselves.
Duels are simple 1 on 1 matches, though as of right now it is almost impossible to face a friend in this mode. You will be match made with an opponent, choose a class then given up to 5 matches to decide which one of you is the final victor. Cycling through the 3 maps, you will have the chance of environmental kills, drops to death and straight up slugging matches.
Brawls are 2 player teams, with the ability to pair up with a friend, though again you cannot set up 4 players to fight your friends as of yet. Similarly to duelling you are given 5 rounds to decide the victor of the brawl. Each player is given an opponent and spawned on opposite sides of the map, though rather close to their opposite match up of players. Once you deal with your opponent you can go straight in for the attack on the other enemy… or you can actually have some honour and let them fight, you taking on the enemy if they come out the victor of their bout.
Dominion matches are basically capture the point matches, for each point, A, B or C, you will gain 1 point every second, an additional point if a plyer is standing on that point. You also gain points for killing troops in the battlefield of B. However since this a 4 v 4 match you will have to face other players to hold these locations. With the whole of the map open to you, whereas duel and brawls are smaller portions of the same map, you will have access to 2-3 approaches to each point. With 15 minutes, it is first to 1000 points, where respawning is disabled for the losing team. Holding a point gives you 100 points, but losing it will lose those points as well, so there is always the chance to bring the match back into your teams favour.
For Honor strives for a “realistic battle” system for its matches, once you find an opposing player you can enter Guard mode with CTRL. Once in guard mode you have 3 positions to hold your guard, left, right and up, with these positons being dictated by your mouse movements. Not attacking will cause you to be guarding, blocking any attacks in the direction you hold, while attacking will attack in that direction against the opponent. Each class has their own combos and special attacks, combining left and right clicks, dashing attacks and guard blocks.
While the game has a wide array of combos for each class you will often see players stick to a certain rotation of attacks. The Kensei is rather good at guard breaking then following up with a charged upper attack, the Assassin excelling at closing the gap between their foe with charging attacks and deflecting attacks, the Raider can pick up enemies, charge with them and throw them off gaps. While choosing a class you will see their “easy” attacks, but prolonged play with a class will teach you their more intricate attacks and techniques, allowing you to easily overpower those who have not specialised.
As you play with a certain class you will gain new parts of gear and level up the class itself, the gear boosting your stats and the levels unlocking new abilities. The gear can be improved by combining them with other pieces, or even bought with gold. The abilities unlock during dominion matches, with healing abilities, smoke bombs, traps and buff/debuffs being the main skills.
Overall thoughts and feelings
Sadly, For Honor has a huge problem with stability as it stands, matches are interrupted quite often, disconnects are very prevalent and matchmaking can take several minutes. Besides the connectivity issues, there are several bugs and glitches that rear their heads in gameplay. From camera bugs that zoom off into the distance, phase through walls and spazzing out to models resetting and duplicating when their die and revive. Thankfully these kind of glitches don’t happen every game and mostly constrain themselves to Duel and Brawl modes, but they can really detach you from the overall experience.
Besides the bugs and glitches, gameplay with each class needs some more work as well, with some attacks, combos and techniques feeling too under polished. Many players have complained that the game feels clunky, and I can more than see that when trying out the more intricate attacks of the classes. Attack cancelling can look rather jarring and unblockable moves connect with you or telegraph the character towards you in very unrealistic ways.
Overall For Honor looks to be a rather fun and interesting PvP experience, but due to the lack of variety in game modes, maps and quests it can become quite tedious after prolonged play. With the addition of more maps, better matchmaking, playing against friends and modes I can see For Honor increasing its playability immensely. Hopefully the Beta or next test implements some more gameplay or maps, or it might just push away those who have played previous test builds. A snippet of the story would be more then welcome.