Hey guys! Welcome back to another review, this time being a video game. The video game in question is the newly released hit “For Honor” Many have anticipated it’s release (including myself) so lets dissect this right away!
Quick Summary: I have played within the Closed beta, Open Beta and on release of the game. I probably put in at least 20+ hours into it so I believe I am qualified to review For Honor. I have also played all of the characters within the game and learned each characters’ move-sets and play styles to accommodate this review as later on I will be giving general tips for the audience.
Lets dive into the story mode first. There was no story mode during the closed or open beta so it was impossible to get any information on it (other than the trailers). However, on release, the story mode was implemented. The story consists of three chapters. Each chapter is dedicated to each faction. For example, Chapter 1 is designated to the Knights, Chapter 2 is designated to the Vikings, Etc. Each chapter consists of 6 missions most with the same character but there are times when it is someone different. All chapters are somewhat relevant and partially weave with one another. Let me get this off my chest quick, the story mode is atrocious. It is the most disgusting piece of garbage I have ever seen through-out gaming history. Unfortunately, Ubisoft probably spent most of the budget on mechanics and multiplayer (which is good) instead of the actual dynamic and flavouring of the story mode. I believe this brought the games prestige to an all time low. The story mode was hyped up just as much as the multiplayer but it failed extremely hard and disappointed many. Let me delve deeper here, the story is very two dimensional and it doesn’t add much flavour. It works with objectives but most objectives are copy and pasted within each story. For example, kill enemy A and B then defend said objective here. They have done this within three chapters. THREE. Meaning a total of 18 missions. Can it get any worse? Oh yes it can.
Onto the AI. AI are completely stiff. When the AI strike, they slowly go back to the original model and strike again. During Closed and Open Beta the AI were infamous for its difficulty but the story mode bots let down a lot of that prestige and it plainly feels lackluster. The development team failed to create AI that acted realistically and lazily implemented a couple animations to them instead. I feel dirty about this after the price of the game does not justify the means of such terrible decisions. Anyway, in short the AI have not posed a problem. It felt like playing against Call of Duty AI (oh god) and it was hard to digest such a monstrosity.
Music and Emotions: In short, there was none. It lacked any kind of emotional stir and plateaued itself throughout each story mission. Music was absent throughout many of the missions and it didn’t create the “epic feeling” when battling a boss or taking an objective. This was a huge problem because music and emotional storytelling really drive a story and let the stories’ critical points hit the player emotionally. The characters had some emotions but it never reached me and it left me looking at a blank computer screen. I emphasize music and storytelling because it gives storytelling dynamic. In a story, you never read something like “Jill, I love you” “I love you too, Joe” because thats completely boring and flavourless. However, this is exactly what For Honor did except there was no romance. Its sad to see such a good campaign be grinded down because of multiplayer. It had a lot of potential to be a tear-jerker and include fantastic emotional connections but it failed miserably.
The story mode is not all bad though. There are some things that Ubisoft did well in regards to the story-mode but do not make up the negatives stated above. Graphics are amazing. I was at a loss of words when playing on graphic setting High. I can not imagine Ultra. I would probably die of how good-looking it is! The cinematic’s were clean and refreshing. It was pretty cool to see Apollyon go off on a couple soldiers and conversations between the characters of the same faction were pretty relaxing. Also, they have mini observations of historical monuments and such with a brief but informative spheal about itself. These would make achievement hunters who are also ecstatic about history, go wild. Mechanics as stated above were very intricate and smooth. There are a few hiccups here in there but that depends on another factor that we will get onto later in this review. Another interesting thing about the story mode is that if you plan to learn a character i would advise to play the story mode but just for the character you are learning because it does go through chains (which are combos) with you and give you a nice but brief background on the hero. Unfortunately, thats about it.
Final thoughts:The story-mode doesn’t sit well with me and lacks many things and failed to create such a fantastic idea of a story. Thing is, it was too repetitive for me that I gave up on the final chapter which was the samurai chapter. I knew it was going to be the exact same thing because the first two were literal copies of one another. I guess thats just how the cookie crumbles.
With that out of the way lets take a nice intermission on you, the readers’ eyes.
Alright, with story-mode out of the way, lets get onto the juicy stuff: multiplayer.
Where do I begin with multiplayer? It is a competitive gamers’ dream. It has a clean easy to use UI, proper matchmaking without any problems and a great community that will actually fight you. This opposed to the story-mode is the best part of For Honor.
There were a lot of issues back in Closed and Open beta but Ubisoft listened very closely and fixed many bugs that were stated on their forums. Good job Ubi! As well, on release, servers were on point. Personally, I did not see lag of any kind. This was bliss since I could carve my name into my opponents bodies at will without the fear of lagging and losing a duel. No lag on the servers were a complete surprise because Ubisoft was known for having rocky starts with games (I.E. Rainbow Six Siege).
Onto the characters, there are a complete roster of 4 characters for each faction. Meaning there are a total of 12 characters with 6 more coming up this year. This is fantastic because theirs a diversity of heroes that can be picked. Each hero has a very unique play-style and no two characters are similar. We have speedy assassins while having brutes that can take a hit. But what differentiates each of them is the way you tackle their move sets. I won’t go over every single character and the way you play them but you can take my word for it. You are also able to customize the look of each character with either pre-loaded palettes or you can create your hero the way you see fit! The customization is simple but it really allows situations where you execute an enemy while looking cool as fuck.
Game modes: There are currently four game modes but as of now, the community does not know if there will be any special events and or new game modes. Anyway, the game modes that currently in the game are Duel, Brawl, Deathmatch and Dominion. Duel consists of one versus one, choose any character and fight to the death. This game mode is probably the most satisfying since you rely on raw skill than teammates. Compare it to games such as Mortal Kombat or Tekken. Brawl takes place with two versus two. This adds a little oomph when you play with a friend because this takes some coordination. However, this game mode marks the beginning of double teaming which is truly an awful thing. Deathmatch is four versus four fight to the death. Again, ensues teaming up on a guy however the game splits you up to fight one versus one. And lastly, we have Dominion. This is a bread winner here since it is the most objective game mode out of the others. Within Dominion, it consists of two teams with four players on each team. They must capture three objectives to receive maximum points. Once a team reaches 1000 points, the other team must fight for their lives because there are no re-spawns. Dominion is the only game mode which allows for re-spawns until 1000 points while other game modes have no re-spawns but revives are allowed. I currently am playing duel the most since it hones your skill as a player and you are able to really rely on your own skill level rather than someone else. Also, theres no teaming up! So blessed.
Mechanics: The mechanics get very interesting and it is something that I haven’t really seen ever. Note, mechanics are the same through-out the game whether or not you play story mode or multiplayer. There are two modes that your hero can be in: Guard mode or not guard mode. While in guard mode though, your hero will have a simplistic shield on the body. This indicates where you will block. There are only three places you can block and three places you can attack which are Top, Left and Right. When being attacked, your heroes shield will blink red to indicate where you will be getting attacked from. Beware, this indication only lasts for the duration of the attackers animation. Meaning you’ll have to be quick on your blocks. When attacking you have only a Light Attack and Heavy Attack. Light Attacks consist of quick animations that shed some HP off of your opponents bar.
Now you may be thinking, “wait, how do I attack someone if they are always blocking? I won’t even get a chain in!” This is an interesting point, the developers added a mechanic called Shield Break and Unbreakable Attacks. Let’s go over Shield Break. When Hit with a Shield Break, you will see a red, cracked shield on your hero. You will be stunned for roughly 1.5 seconds only if the enemy doesn’t throw you or combo on you. However, Shield Break is counter-able by pressing Shield Break right after they Shield Break. This has to be timed at the exact moment in order for it to work or you’ll see your hero get dumped on by a combo or thrown off a ledge.
Now Unblockable attacks are different. Just as it states in the name it cannot be blocked or Shield Broken, however they can be interrupted by a Parry, possible dodge given the circumstances and or a well timed Light Attack/Heavy Attack. These attacks are extremely strong and can be painful if you do not react properly.
I have left some things out because everything else is essentially simple. (I.E. the HP bar and Stamina Bar) These mechanics are simple to understand and do not need to be covered for the sake of simplicity and the length of this review. I do note though the Stamina Bar does add some sort of realism to the game and destroys spamming attacks. Sorry button mashers!
Overall, the multiplayer clearly out shines the story mode. It gives a smooth diversity of game modes while each catering to a competitive players tastes. Some like to One versus One and others like to be within a team. It caters to all and personally, I believe this is the games’ strongest suits. Multiple heroes is also a good thing and none are extremely overpowered. Each have weaknesses and strengths while adding a unique flavour to each match. Move-sets are also very unique to each character. This allows the player to main a hero of their choosing and completely master him giving a sense of uniqueness to the player and hero. Ubisoft has done a outstanding job on their multiplayer however I can not say the same about the story mode. It still disappoints me as I’m currently writing this review. I’m literally shaking my head. I love the way Ubisoft spun this type of history into the game and it looks like it is doing great. OH! Also, all future DLC is free. The only transactions in the game are the seasons pass and the in-game currency. Note, it is not a pay to win. Major score!
This concludes my review on For Honor. I’ll end it with some general tips for veteran players and new players alike! Here we go!
1. Learn to chain on all sides. This is extremely important because this throws off your opponent predicting you.
2. Learn to Parry. This is taught in the tutorial but master it. This will save your hide in many fights and as stated above it can block strong unblockable attacks.
3. Manage your Stamina. This is probably my number one tip since spamming will manage you a tired body and a dead one at that.
4. Choose easy heroes at first, master them, then move onto the harder ones. Currently, the easiest characters with a fail safe are: Warden, Shugoki and Conqueror. Raider and Kenshi are actually hard to pull off if you’re not sure what to do since they are reliant on well-timed chain attacks.
5. The final tip I have for all of you reading this is to have fun.
Thanks for reading my really long but in-depth review of For Honor. I hope you guys enjoyed this just as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you have any questions or concerns, leave it in the comments section! I will get back to you as soon as I can. I hope this gives you an understanding of the game and what you would expect from the most anticipated game of 2017. Take it easy guys and I’ll see you on the battlefield.