Noting says love like Knights, Vikings and Samurai Warriors using medieval and ancient weapons to beat the shit out of each other. Like most gamers out there, I like to think we all have our eyes on and hearts set for the release of For Honor, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, on February 14, 2017. If you can’t wait to celebrate the love of your life, you can download the Beta this weekend, January 26th through January 29th.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME?
The For Honor Beta only offers us a glimpse at the Multiplayer mode for the weekend. I know what you might be thinking, “It’s just another button smash brawler!” You’re wrong. Ubisoft offers up some very strategic game play and modes for the Multiplayer portion of For Honor. Each Mode has the option of Player versus Player or Player versus A.I. The Modes are as follows:
- 1v1 Duel: Defend your honor and fight against your opponent 1 versus 1
- 2v2 Brawl: Team up with an ally and fight against tow opponents.
- 4v4 Dominion: Fight to dominate the battlefield. Reach 1000 points to break and eliminate the opposing team by killing enemies and taking down objectives.
- Events: ???????
For Honor also offers a ‘Quickmatch’ and ‘Custom Match’ option as well as a ‘How to Play’ mode. In the ‘How to Play’ mode you have a few options to introduce you to the game; Practice, which goes over combat basics and Advanced Practice which covers parrying, multiple opponent combat and the Revenge Meter. You also have a ‘Free Mode’ option that allows you to practice your fighting strategies outside of ‘Practice’ and ‘Advance Practice’ and the ‘Duel Practice’ option allows you to work on your ‘One-on-One’ game. There are even videos you can watch:
- Game Mode Videos: explains the different game modes
- Hero Fight Videos: There are lots of options here as there are video for each Hero; there are nine, both Basic and Advance guides.
- Faction War Video: This explains the war between the three Factions and their quest for conquering each others territory. READ HUGE REPLAY VALUE!!!
All of these options are great and provide plenty of ways to play For Honor; whether you want to jump right in or take it nice and slow. Plus, with ‘How to Play’ you can take your time in figuring out which Hero you want to play.
I NEED A HERO
For Honor offers up three factions; Knights, Vikings and Samurai. Each Faction has three Heroes, each of varying classes. Below I’ll provide the name of each Faction, again, and the Hero types associated with them.
- Warden: Adaptable, Straightforward
- Conqueror: Strong defense, Hard Hitter
- Peacekeeper: Fast, Counter-Attacker
- Raider: Adaptable, Straightforward
- Warlord: Harasser, Counter-Attacker
- Berserker: Short range, Harasser
- Kensei: Adaptable, Good range
- Nobushi: Long range, Versatile retreats
- Orochi: Agile, Counter-Attacker
Each Hero has its own advantages and disadvantages so take the time to get to them before you commit. The For Honor Beta has the Warden, Raider and Kensei available to play from the start. These Heroes are your basic all-around Heroes, anyone can use them and they’re a great introduction for players looking to understand the mechanics of For Honor. The other six heroes require you to recruit them using the in game currency (Steel) to unlock them. You gain more Steel by completing Daily Orders, think of these as bounties. The more you complete the more you gain/earn. I know what you might be thinking, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” That is exactly the case here because the customization seems to know no bounds.
WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?
If you’re like me you wake up and throw on whatever clothes are clean. You don’t care what you look like as long as the clothes are clean. But if you’re also like me, you’ll spend way too much time in For Honor’s customization screen decking out your Hero. To get ready for Hand-to-Hand Warfare you need to prepare yourself with Wear-fare. The customization might not appear to be much, not at first, but you unlock more options as you level up your Hero. You can choose your gender, chest and back pieces, ornament (head piece), both right and left shoulder pieces, standards (pants/shorts), legs, the material and of course your color options.
If all of these options have your head spinning and don’t worry, For Honor has outfits available as well. There are four categories of Outfits listed; Battle, Elite, Mythic and Reputation. During the Beta there were only two outfits in the Battle category and there were four outfits in the Reputation category. As you might have guessed, you can use your Steel to purchase these outfits but for those outfits in the Reputation category you must reach Reputation levels with your Hero to unlock them.
For Honor isn’t all flash and no substance. You even have the options to customize your weapons look. These options tend to be minimal as your choices for customization are based on Loot Drops after a multiplayer match. And the customization for weapons is limited to blade type or hilt design for swords, blade type, guard type and staff type for the Naginata and for those heroes with shields you can equip different shield designs. Now that your Hero is decked out in all the hip new medieval threads you’re ready for combat.
For Honor isn’t like anything I’ve ever played or seen before. I approached the Beta like I would a fighting game or a hack and slash along the lines of Devil May Cry or God of War and I was quickly put in my place. Before going into a Multiplayer match I would strongly advise going through the Advance Practice tutorial a few times, it will save your life.
The combat in For Honor is extreme, it’s either extremely rewarding or extremely frustrating. What you learn during the Practice modes doesn’t necessarily apply to Multiplayer matches. Sure, the basics apply what the Practice mode fails to teach is that your moves are limited by your Stamina Bar. If you do too much too soon your screen will turn shades of gray and your Hero will stammer about drunkenly. This means you need to be tactical and strategic with your attacks.
For Honor is extremely rewarding during the Duel and Brawl Multiplayer game modes. You use the skills you’ve learned to deconstruct the enemy and break them down so that you are victorious. The One versus One matches of Duel are tense and guaranteed to keep your heart racing. The matches in Brawl (Two versus Two) are equally as challenging, if not more so. Sure you have a teammate but if they aren’t worth their weight in Steel you’re in for a Two versus One beat down or you’re the Hero that your opponents misjudged. After the clang and clatter of swords and armor have stopped ringing through your head you realize that you are victorious.
The main Multiplayer mode in For Honor will most likely be Dominion. Dominion is For Honor’s Control Point. You and three other teammates, along with a continually spawning army of minions are pitted against four other players and their army of minions. The goal is to get to 1,000 points, which you do by capturing points and killing minions and enemy Heroes. Once you’ve reached 1,000 points the game starts an elimination/no respawn mode where your objective is to kill the opposing team. Victory is secured once the entire team is dead.
The combat in For Honor is slow and deliberate and requires patience but you’ll reach frustration before you reach reward. The blocking and parrying mechanics require split second actions and even then they don’t always work. Visually one would think that a bulky Hero like the Viking’s Warlord or the Samurai’s Kensei would lose their stamina rather quickly but no, they don’t. I wasn’t sure if the player was systemically timing their attacks so that they didn’t lose much stamina or if I just sucked. Haha! (Before the Beta ended I had a 63.33% win rate) But Hero balancing is a must for For Honor. Yes, I’m aware that this is a Beta but the release date is only two weeks away and I would like to see For Honor hit the battlefield running. Another issue that should be addressed are the Gamer Tags/Player Icons, you can barely see them until they’re right on top of you. Also, with such huge customization the enemy Heroes can be difficult to see, especially when their armor matches the color of your team. Please address this issue. I’m sure these tweaks and adjustments will arrive a few weeks into the games life span as the player base is establish but please balance your Heroes Ubisoft. Another must is Loot.
GIMME’ THE LOOT
Being that For Honor is a Ubisoft game one would think that they learned their lesson with The Division. The drop rate for me while I played was about one drop every three or four matches. That’s horrible. For Honor has an upgrade system for both armor and weapons and if Ubisoft wants to keep their players happy they need to increase that drop rate while we’re ‘Scavenging the Battlefield.’ I would hate to see For Honor go the way of The Division (sure, it’s a lot better now but it took them almost a year to get there).
If you’re still with me, thank you. I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same thing too, “Why is this Beta Review so extensive?” The answer is because I plan on reviewing For Honor when it releases but I want to focus on the story/campaign mode. I’m almost certain that nothing will change much to the Multiplayer modes when For Honor releases on February 14, 2017. The game looks amazing. The combat system is in-depth and deliberate. Loading times could use some work. Heroes will need to be balanced. Hopefully Ubisoft decides to add some additional Factions, perhaps Romans/Spartans or Native Americans? The For Honor Beta was a rewarding experience and I’m glad that my decision to purchase the Collector’s Edition will not be in vain.