For Honor Review
E3 2016 held so many promising trailers for games out there that it was hard to notice any of them as being a “for sure” game to buy. I had my doubts about For Honor when it first came up, but after seeing so many game-play videos out there I knew I had to get my hands on it. For Honor sets us in a fictional world of knights, samurai, and vikings as they battle one another over a long period of time. Players will choose their faction and pit themselves against others online to see who’s the most dominant in the “Art of Battle”. Is the initial allure of For Honor the only drawing aspect of the game or could it very well be a runner-up for game of the year?
Gorgeous graphics and cinematics: Ubisoft Montreal has absolutely outdone themselves with the look and feel of the battlefield as backgrounds, warriors and their weapons look severely realistic in For Honor. The world is so immersive that you get lost while trying to defeat your enemies as you take the role of whichever faction that you chose. Looking over the battlements during the campaign gives you wondrous sights such as forests, horizons, oceans, and beautiful-looking castles. It’s clear-cut whenever you transition from the Knights’ territory to Samurai or Vikings as their styles in architecture are dramatically different. I’m glad that Ubisoft was able to capture all of it in their designs and environment.
Innovative and entertaining playing mechanics: Art of Battle is Ubisoft’s unique way of performing hack n slash that involves attempting to read your opponent’s movements in order to either counter or find an opening to slash through. There are, of course, a large variety of ways that you can throw your enemy off guard but there’s such satisfaction in outsmarting them, presenting a refreshing way to play that’s not mind-numbing. The player will find themselves trying out different strategies and approaches during certain game-types like Dominion and also realize that storming the front by yourself won’t be so easy, as even facing against a player-controlled character can be deadly when surrounded by their smaller minions.
Unique set of warriors to choose from: While they don’t necessarily stand out from one another, players will come to understand exactly how the different “classes” of each faction differ from one another. Most classes can be altered in gender while others are gender-specific like the Valkyrie in Vikings faction. The common mistake that gamers will make is that playing as another class will be the same as the first they tried, but the way to utilize each is not transferable. Valkyrie, for example, utilizes the shield and her long spear’s reach to quickly stab and parry enemy’s attacks to be one of the most effective members of the battle while the heavier class will have slow attacks yet deal out more damage.
Compelling story to draw you in: The story that links these three unrelated warrior factions is one of fantasy and fiction. It spans over 12 years before the “war” that’s occurring during online play, containing deception and plenty of power-curving. It really sets the whole situation up for the multiplayer aspect while also presenting a smartly-written story where Apollyon, the leader of the Blackstone Legion, is pulling the strings behind the entire war. It’s hard for the gamer to judge whether to like or dislike Apollyon as she is both ruthless but methodical in her train of thought; it really presents a idiosyncratic take on how someone can affect warfare that makes the player both respect and hate her. This kind of story-telling is what’s needed in games of today.
Interesting concepts like buffs and penalties: During online play, there are various buffs and penalties that affect your chance at winning. For example, during Dominion, if you die within one of your zones that you captured you get a penalty that adds additional time to your respawn, frustrating you greatly. There’s a sense of urgency to game-play that doesn’t make you wait it out but pushes you forward as you don’t want the other to get too far ahead of you. These are fantastic additions to For Honor that make you try to achieve certain ways of killing your opponent just to slow down their progress even more.
Can’t return to checkpoints after exiting a chapter: This becomes irritating especially when the game sometimes lags and ejects you. There was a time when I was far along in a chapter, a lengthy one at that, and it happened to freeze on me. The freezing in the game only happened once to me in all this time that I’ve played so it’s not enough to warrant a Downside, but the fact that you can’t return to a checkpoint that’s auto-saved is annoying.
Requires internet to play campaign: Ubisoft made a mistake here as some gamers might be experiencing internet issues at certain times and won’t be able to play For Honor offline. The campaign can be played single-player, not requiring any support from outside and not having any online features so it’s a strange requirement to have for this aspect.
If you’re not dedicated you won’t get good: For Honor isn’t just a matchmaking title for those not willing to spend the time and effort into fully comprehending its mechanics and coming back to it once in awhile; if you want to get good you require dedication. This is a tedious task for those who jump between multiple games and, while this is most times easy for those who switch between shooters, it’s
Factions feels pointless: One disappointing factor that’s quite minor is the idea of the faction war in online play. It’s understandable that when selecting one faction as the one you wish to support at the beginning of the game, such as Mortal Kombat X does, that the developers wished for you to still be able to play as all the characters available instead of being limited to your chosen faction’s. This, however, makes the overall idea almost feel pointless as knights and vikings may be co-mingling in a multiplayer match. The only wish I had was that there were faction-specific matches to play viking only if you’re viking and so on.
It was truly difficult to find anything wrong with For Honor; it’s close to being a perfect game, minus some very minor discrepancies, and Ubisoft Montreal has outdone themselves with it. It feels like a culmination of their years’ work all added into a fun multiplayer title that boasts a compelling campaign, as well. It’s not hard to jump into the idea of the game-play as it closely resembles Assassin’s Creed while also being unique in its own way. As long as the player doesn’t treat it as a hack n slash game and tries to understand the system along with putting in the man-hours, they’ll not only excel at the game but have fun with it. I highly recommend for anybody to get their hands on For Honor.
For Honor was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released for the Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows on February 14th, 2017 worldwide. A press review copy was purchased for review by The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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