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 Closed Beta state of For Honor, and all information is subject to change.
(This preview will be very similar to my early preview of the Alpha)
With the Beta 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.
All the point gains, deaths and need to know information is now displayed in a neat font in the bottom left of the screen. When standing on an objective it will now tally how many points you are gaining, ticking along the longer you stand there to help you keep better track of your score. The rest of the UI and fonts have also received a bit of a touch up, from neater font styles to placing them in easier to access locations.
After completing a match you will be given war assets which are used on the map board, selecting a tile on the map will show how many assets are on that from the 3 factions. When enough assets are placed down that tile will become owned by a faction, a total of tiles is displayed in the top right. As of the beta, Vikings had almost both the Knights and Samurai score combined making Vikings the sure winner (32 for Vikings, 13 for Samurai, 15 for Knights). The war of the factions doesn’t have an immediate reward as of yet, we will have to wait and see its effects on release.
Events are now a new addition to both the Orders menu and map, giving players a much longer but more cooperative tasks. Within the beta there was an Event Order called “Call to Brawl” where players needed to complete 21300 brawl matches in total. 2 Loot chests and 500 silver was rewarder, with a ranking board for the highest contributors.
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.
The Beta contained a few more class additions over the Alpha, as well as a rearranging of the cast. To start off you gain the basic Vanguards from each faction: Warden, Raider, and Kensei. There are two heavy classes of Conqueror and Warlord for Knights and Vikings respectively and a Hybrid of Nobushi for the Samurai. All factions then have an Assassin class of Peacekeeper, Berserker and Orochi.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The beta of For Honor continues to have a huge problem with stability, from matches being interrupted quite often, disconnections occurring way too much and matchmaking taking several minutes. Besides the connectivity issues, there are several bugs and glitches that rear their heads in gameplay.
Thankfully the Beta has improved on the smoothness of gameplay, from the framerate being more consistent and classes’ actions performing as intended or suspected. There are times where discrepancies between attacks occur but they happen far less frequently then in the Alphas. However the player base still seems split on the whole concept of Honor on the battlefield, especially when it comes to 1v1 within dominion and battle strategies.
With the Beta Event, the For Honor team let some in-production features see the light of day in the forms of announcements in-game and otherwise. Twitch Prime users can access Twitch Prime Loot. This does not fill me with too much hope for equal play in game as For Honor’s equipment systems will make it easier for people to have higher stats then others if they pay more money.
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. After playing so much of For Honor, from pre-builds, Alphas and now the Beta it has become a bit repetitive and boring, my hopes now lie within other game modes the single player and hopeful co-op opportunities.