Third-person action games based on melee combat have existed through many ages, keeping gamers entertained and occupied with various storylines. Then, came a time when all paths and avenues were trodden, leaving no space to explore for new ideas. But, For Honor seems to have found a new way to take melee combat to the next level.

For Honor showcases a medieval world, walked upon by warriors from three factions: the Knights, the Vikings and the Samurai. These factions present 12 warriors to choose from and each of them have a campaign of their own. Making the right choice of warriors rests on the player’s shoulders, as it’ll define how well the game is being played.

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He was left with no choice but to join them

In line of thoughts with gameplay, For Honor’s combat promises to be entertaining and refreshing at the same time. While two warriors engage in a battle of blades, fists will be thrown and kicks will be made along with some occasional bashing. With one-on-one duels being the main focus of combat, Ubisoft has managed to add much reality to it by reinforcing it with details of importance.

In terms of reality, the warriors will show fatigue while duelling with their foes. Characters wielding heavy weapons, who consistently go on about swinging their blades, will immensely slow down in their attack and defence. Moreover, when one of them is near to death, heavy panting can be heard as they hold their chest or abdomen expressing signs of pain. During these situations, changes in their mannerisms can be observed; sometimes it is the way they walk or run due to their injuries and sometimes it is the way they try to defend themselves.

These three factions once existed in the real world and For Honor retains their authenticity in the virtual world too. From gears to weapons, from grunts to yells, from mannerisms to battle stance; every single detail has been uniquely authenticated amongst the twelve warriors. Of these, the style of wielding their respective weapons is the one to be noted here. As an example, distinctive differences can be seen between the style of wielding the Nodachi by the Kensei and the style of wielding the Katana by the Orochi. The gears and armors pledge their nativity to each of these warriors, representing themselves as they should be. Ubisoft have done extensive studying on the factions and have done an exemplary job in showcasing their research in the game.

Though not a degrading feature, the controls prove to be an obstacle for every new player. It isn’t like any other arcade game, where random shots and swings can be thrown in all directions. When it comes to For Honor, timing and precision are two important factors to control the character. Whether it is a light attack, heavy attack, block or parry or evasion, timing them right is the only way out, for winning a battle against an opponent. The AI on a Level 2, is a far more formidable opponent than any human player. Practicing the timing and precision of all the moves against these AI is highly recommended. There are 100% chances of getting rekt, if a duel is made without mastering the two factors mentioned above.

For Honor demands patience, anticipation and quick reactions. The fights have to be measured with calculated risks. Sometimes, it goes down to a total stand-off between the two players in the process of waiting for the each other to make the first move. The guide that throws light on duel matches, is here. It talks about the warriors to be chosen, knowing the enemy and the surroundings, and how to put these tactics to good use for the win. That piece of information shows how exactly amazing, the combat-play of the game is.

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Moments of pain and panic before the last breath

Stepping into the topic of campaigns, For Honor offers single player campaigns apart from tutorials and practice sessions. They are generally hint-driven, by leading the player into scenarios, that begin by teaching certain fundamentals of combat. Some stages, even teach the players how to use the ‘feats’ against the opponents.

One of the notable drawbacks in For Honor, is the narrative part. Though the right pitch of the voice is used, the narration connecting the scenarios doesn’t add up. The focus on Apollyon is less and when she makes an appearance, the narration spoils the show, making her true goal or nature unclear. It has to be said, that her motives were tried to be kept a mystery but that ended up pulling back the narrative quality.

On the other hand, the cast that oppose or support Apollyon haven’t been carefully characterized. They do not look to play a vital role in the story and are being used as a checkpoint to move the story forward to the next stage. Moreover, they have been given random-generated faces which makes it hard to tell them apart from the other similar characters.

For Honor’s single campaign runs for around six to seven hours. With the game focussed on being a MOBA, there is no wonder the single campaign doesn’t last longer.

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 Faces unknown, and so are their roles.

For Honor’s multiplayer has various modes of play. Among them, the most prominent and entertaining mode is the Dominion 4v4 mode. With 4 players on either side and 3 zones to capture and hold, the entire area will be filled with bodies, blood, clanging and banging of the metal blades against each other, representing utter chaos. As the opposition try to capture and hold the three zones, players need to fight them and regain control over them. This will be followed by defending the zones while making sure the rest of the team are also being helped out at the same time. There may come times, when players slaughter the enemies with ease, and times when they get surrounded by two or three of the members from the opposition team. The latter scenario proves to be the hardest, as it mostly results in a quick execution owing to the anxiety-triggered button smashing. But, apart from that, this mode is good enough to keep any kind of gamer entertained and glued to their seats.

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A true medieval battle scenario on a small scale

Deathmatches aren’t like the Dominion modes. They comprise of two types: the skirmish and the elimination. The differnce between Dominion and Elimination : a 4vs4 brawl with no respawns. Last man standing is the way to victory, as players embroil in a no holds barred fight to see, who from which team comes out on the top. Meanwhile, the Skirmish type of Deathmatch adds a new flavour to For Honor, by bringing the Elimination and Dominion mode together. The Skirmish is a 4vs4 brawl but the winning conditions are the same as that of the Dominion. When a team gathers 1000 points, the respawn ability of the opponents is disabled and hence ending the match.

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The tension sends a chill in the air

Dominion matches provide a real-time feel of a medieval battle, while the Deathmatches dive into thrills and co-op team play moments. For Honor’s Duel matches are no lesser and are the most intense type of battle mode. Being a strict 1vs1 battle, feats are disabled from being used, making the players rely solely on skills and movesets. Tensions mount in a duel, as patience and anticipation plays a big part in timing the moves. In a best of 5 rounds, utilizing every skill and resource is imperative. Though there are other game modes, the Duel mode forms the base for the rest of them, with similar kind of one-on-one battles being brought to a larger team or faction fights against human opponents.

Multiplayer modes depend on territory acquisition, where winning matches will be rewarded with assets, called Faction wars. The war assets will be distributed among the disputed territories. Every six hours, those disputed territories update, and whichever faction has the most assets, gains control. These territory updates represent the every day war, the player goes into. A faction war runs over rounds and seasons. A round lasts two weeks while a season lasts for five rounds. At the end of each round or season, players will be rewarded based on their performance with their respective factions.

For Honor’s performance is pretty smooth across all the platforms. The game’s frame rate is clocked at 30fps. The PS4 and Xbox one consoles have no problems with running the game, except for some minor online stability issues. On the other hand, PC supports the game across a  wide range of hardware requirements, the lowest being the Nvidia GTX660m. However, the game provides an array of graphic and display options to adjust, depending upon the hardware a PC has.

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Having low end hardware is still fine, when the anti-aliasing, V-sync and render scaling options can be adjusted accordingly. Eventhough the game runs with the low end hardwares and after these adjustments, the game’s look and feel drops a few years back in time.

With addictive gameplay and combat techniques, For Honor certainly changed the way melee based action games would be perceived in the future. Though there are a couple of drawbacks, the game redefined multiplayer entertainment forever. That being said, the players are sure to get their assets of satisfaction and excitement.

One final question remains to be answered.

Is the game worth it?

Answer: Yes, it is.

Pros
Immersive combat-play
Multiplayer modes offer unique and entertaining combat
Progressions come with rewards

Cons
Bad narrative
Controls are hard while defending against multiple foes.
Duels are slow-paced and sometimes end up in a standoff.

Rating : 7/10

 

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