For Honor, a game announced quite some time ago by Ubisoft Montreal has finally released to the delight of plenty of fans. Through some rough pre-release events and weekends, For Honor puts you into the sabatons of Knights, Vikings and Samurai in a world where 3 vastly different cultures meet on the battlefield, out of time and out of history. With gameplay that resembles what would happen if you combined Mount & Blade with a MOBA. Has it improved from its Alpha and Beta events or failed to deliver.
Selecting the story mode will put you into a set of 3 chapters, with 6 missions each, following the 3 separate factions and their best warriors in the forms of the different classes on offer in multiplayer. Starting off with Knights, through the Vikings and ending with Samurai. The story gives you some background to the warriors, the overarching lore and somewhat antagonistic Apollyon.
Setting itself up as a tutorial for the majority of its playtime, the missions have you invading or defending castles, travelling through hills and plains and mostly fighting against troops as well as other warriors. Sadly the story kind of drops itself on its head, having time-skips between each mission and intents well hidden behind helmets. Boring, convoluted and full of flashy combat, the story fails to deliver after being held back all the way to final release.
From previous trailers and show-offs, I was expecting so much more form the story, storming castles and devising better plans to take them out, instead it’s broken up into missions that fulfil only the need for destruction. There are no choices, you are led down linear paths and you feel almost no attachment to any 1 character as you are swapped between 4 per chapter.
You can complete the main story in around 6 hours, with higher difficulties on hand to increase replayability, but it mostly just bumps up HP values. The campaign can be played in Co-Op but in the beginning parts you are separated out into separate instances, or forced to watch the main player do the major fights. Co-op becomes better later on, but are normally given a much weaker and uninteresting boss to fight while the other player fights the main boss.
For Honor was mostly developed for its multiplayer, where the majority of play time is located and where the most money will be made. Containing 4 match modes, Deathmatch Skirmish, Deathmatch Elimination, Dominion, 2v2 and 1v1, you will be tasked with gaining points over your enemies in castle or mountainous maps. Deathmatch is split into a skirmish mode, where you have to kill normal troops and over players to reach 1000 points, whereas Elimination just requires you to kill the opposing players. Dominion is basically capture the point, while fighting troops and other players, when 1 team reach 1000 points the opposing team gains no more respawns. 2v2 Brawl and 1v1 Duel modes are the shortest, merely being a test of skill between players in cornered off sections of the maps.
As you complete matches you gain EXP for your selected class, unlocking feats which are special abilities used within the matches, as well as Steel which is used to pay for new equipment to increase your stats. If you don’t want to grind for these you can straight up pay around £20 for max level on characters or £3.49 for 5000 Steel. You can also take on orders for additional exp and steel, tasking you with completing matches, takedowns or no-death runs.
As of now there are 12 characters to choose from, each one feels different from one another, with clear counter picks on offer, from faster classes being able to side-step the slower ones and hybrids allowing free-reign of the field. Each class is easy to come to terms with but hard to master, Vanguards are a good starting point with easy combos, Heavies allow for a more tank playing style, Assassins are great at riposting targets or bleeding them with Hybrids being unpredictable.
Overall thoughts and feelings
From all my previous articles for the Alphas and Betas I complained about stability and the insane choice of Peer-to-peer-to-peer where everyone connects to everyone. While gameplay is stable, whenever someone leaves you are left with 10 seconds of synchronising as the game replaces them. The problems extend to outside of matches, plenty of times I have had problems connected to a friend’s party, having to swap leader, matchmaking lasts about 10 seconds until it takes off any limits for players, or even crashing a match entirely and sending you back to the menu.
Talking about matchmaking, the 10 second wait until limits and restrictions are lifted is absurd, I had plenty of matches where the opposing team vastly out-levelled and geared my side, the worst being Level 5-15 with gear around 2-10, the opposing team all being prestige with gear of 42-57. While that was one of the worst, it happens way too often, causing very unfair matches where highly skilled or equipped teams wipe the floor with my less experience and equipped team. This is more than likely a by-product of people paying real money for max level and equipment as within the first day at level 1 or 2 I was facing some people with gear over 50.
With the final release of For Honor there is glaring problems with balance between the classes and combat system. Parrying an attack can be done at almost any point and stuns are often impossible to stop, leading to heavy classes stunning, hitting and repeating that over and over, much like any Fighting game where someone just spams the same attack. On top of the cheese tactics, plenty of groups gang up on players, leading to 4v1 where all it takes is one person guard blocking and the rest using heavy attacks to wipe out the singular target.
For Honor gets a 6/10, it houses a toxic community, glitches that have you fall through the world or walls, attacks going through objects, guard breaks occurring when no guard is held and connection issues abound. Besides the multiplayer, the story is poor and co-op poorly implemented, with little to no overlap into the multiplayer aspects besides aesthetic armour pieces. Emblems glitch out on models, music is non-existent for the most part and pay-to-win is prevalent in matchmaking. The combat is beautiful and unique, but sadly like any game there are those who break it. The immersion and realistic depiction of the characters and their backstory is almost on point, but special abilities and flashy moves kill that as more time is spent playing.