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For Honor – Game Review

For Honor – Game Review
For Honor (PC [Reviewed], Xbox One, PS4)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Toronto, Blue Byte
Publisher: Ubisoft

For Honor is a third person medieval action game featuring skillful melee combat in both a story campaign and multiplayer setting.

The single player campaign takes you through the stories of the three different factions: the knights, the vikings, and the samurai. Storming enemy bases, setting buildings and enemies ablaze is fun, and fighting enemies and bosses in close-quarters combat is quite thrilling. Although, I did find it a little weird that the AI takes turns attacking you one at time on normal mode. The campaign has a story progression system that unlocks feats that are only usable in single player. Some of these feats make the missions a lot easier though, so if you want more of a challenge, increasing the difficulty might be a good idea.

For as much as I enjoyed the campaign, I think that the meat of the game lies with the multiplayer. There are different multiplayer modes available, and you can PvP or play against the AI in 1v1, 2v2 and 4v4 battles. You choose from a variety of warriors to play, and each one is distinct and has their own unique moveset and playstyle. No matter which warrior you play, the combat is simply fantastic across the board. I really love the combat; it just feels so intense fighting in duels or even 1v2 or 2v2 trying to outthink and outplay your opponents. It’s especially satisfying to finish enemies off with a brutal execute.

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The 4v4 dominion matches are usually more casual, and often result in players running away from combat to regain health at an already captured control point. There is also a bit of progression, and these matches can feel a bit zergy at times, so it’s usually safer to stay together so you don’t get outnumbered. Players doing well in a 4v4 match unlock bilities to give them even more of an advantage. The 4v4 deathmatches are essentially the same as dominion except there’s no respawning (you can revive though).

The 4v4 modes have a progression system which allows players to equip gear to increase some stats while reducing others. For example: you can increase your attack capabilities, but it also lowers your defense. This is where some of the microtransactions come in. You can also buy in game currency to obtain things like cosmetics, xp and loot boosts, or just pay your way to skip the progression system altogether by unlocking all character feats and buying a ton of packs for armor and weapon upgrades. All of this stuff can be earned by playing the game, but I’m never a fan of any microtransactions that give gameplay advantages even if it is a pay to get ahead method. On the bright side, these feats, and gear are completely irrelevant in the 1v1 duel, or 2v2 brawl modes, so gameplay should still be balanced there.

Pros:
  • the combat is incredible; it feels responsive, and very satisfying – performing successful attack combos, blocks, dodges, and parries definitely takes skill and a good amount of practice; timing is everything!
  • intense PvP battles with multiple maps and modes available (1v1, 2v2, and 4v4 – as well as versus AI)
  • good single player campaign: there are collectibles that give you more insight into your character’s thoughts and the story, and the story is decent (albeit predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable)
  • environments, characters, and cinematics all look great
  • music is good, and the voice acting is done very well
  • the sound effects are impeccable, and do an excellent job of making the combat experience feel real
  • keybindings are fully customizable, and there is Xbox controller support

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Cons:
  • when players leave a game mid match everything freezes across the server for a brief period (probably due to it not being hosted on dedicated servers); I haven’t experienced anything else in the way of lag or disconnects
  • microtransactions provide a way to pay to progress faster (however, everything can be earned in game, so these are optional, and they only affect the 4v4 mode)
  • (nitpick) killing players instantly by throwing them off ledges or dying this way feels kind of lame (a way to possibly climb back up if you perform a combo climb properly would be a neat idea)
  • (nitpick) reviving players resurrects them with full health, and no negative effects at all – it doesn’t make much sense, and it should be at least somewhat punishing to die and need to be revived (although, it does encourage players to properly execute their targets to prevent the revive from happening in the first place)
  • (nitpick) sometimes the character animation in the cinematics seems a little jittery

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The campaign took me about 6 hours to complete. There is incentive to max out your story mission level to earn more steel currency, but I would rather just PvP instead. Killing players in multiplayer is more satisfying. I do have some concerns with the long term replay value though. Even with the event system, and there being different maps to play on, I worry it would get stale after a while. As much as I hate season passes, I’m glad that this one isn’t a must buy since it doesn’t lock any necessary content like maps or characters behind a paywall.

Conclusion:

I’m sure some people will be turned off by lack of dedicated servers, and presence of microtransactions in a fully priced game, and I can understand the concerns. However, for those who can look past the somewhat greedy business model, For Honor has an extremely well designed and fun combat system to experience. If you’re a fan of skilled combat with intense swordplay encounters, then you’re likely to enjoy For Honor.

Press copy was provided for this review.

Rating:

77