For Honor – Review

There’s a war brewing, the Knights known as the Black Legion are gathering forces, meanwhile the vicious vikings are building in strength,  while the tactical Samurai are as dangerous as ever.

Knights, Vikings, Samurai’s, which one’s best, there’s only one way to find out…. Fight!!!

Old fashioned melee combat has been done many times before, there’s two well known games you need to think of before you put your hands on For Honor and they are Dynasty Warriors and Mortal Kombat. That might sound like a weird hybrid, but imagine the battlefields of Dynasty Warriors, scattered with individual fights which each work towards the final outcome, and add the quality and tactics of a one on one fight in a game like Mortal Kombat and you won’t be too far from For Honor.

My first play was on a standard online Player vs Bots, and For Honor instantly proved a point, this isn’t a button basher, running into a group of enemies isn’t going to build up a 462 hit combo, instead your going to get yourself decapitated. Soon enough I decided to slow it down, and the three-way system was pretty simple to get to grips with, you can attack and defend with a left, right or high attack, and these can then be split between quick and weak or slow and heavy strikes.

Against the basic minions, you can stroll through dispatching one by one with well-timed taps of the RB/RT buttons, but soon enough you’ll come across a main character, these are split up over 4 characters from each Faction, some are slow but powerful, others not so much and some are incredibly hard to track with quick punishing moves, but as strong as an origami crane if you catch them with a heavy attack.

Onto the single player campaign, and you start off controlling the Knights Faction, split up over 6 missions which will each take around 20 minutes, they’re well paced bite-sized chunks scattered with checkpoints if you die on the job.

Over the 6 levels you’ll get a run out with each of the main classes, and similar to Mortal Kombat’s career mode, this gives you a fantastic taster of each.  My initial choice was the Samurai, So I was a little apprehensive at being made to wait till chapter three to control those, but during this first chapter as the knights I had a pleasant surprise when I came across a character called Mercy from the Peacekeeper class.  Mercy was fluent, fast and deadly and this experience gave me the opportunity to test a character I’ll now use more online.

Chapter two takes you into the boots of the Vikings, dilapidated after the events of Chapter 1, you need to rebuild and strengthen your forces, and while the story is never overbearing, there’s enough context to make progression seem like far more than a cluster of battles. Through the 3rd and final Samurai chapter the story continues at a pleasant pace, and it’s fair to say, while For Honor is more Multiplayer focuses, there’s still a very good campaign to work through, throwing in the mix of classes is a great move, and certainly serves as a fantastic warm-up to a deep and engrossing online mode.

Now online you’ll select your preferred faction, The Knights, Vikings and Samurai are displayed on a map with each of the three primary modes. Each time you start-up multiplayer you’ll get a quick run-down of how each faction is doing with a view of current events, and the three main modes. Deathmatch see’s you fighting 4 v 4 against another team as you battle to 1000 points, or take down each member in elimination.

Duel & Brawl pits you in a 1v1 stand-off against another combatant and my personal favorite Dominion, see’s you battle to take control of 3 points on a map, with the heat of the battle (and plenty of minions) fighting over zone B, with more individual battles on the edges at point A and C, hitting 1000 points will break the other team as they enter an elimination state, however failing to kill them before they can regroup and take back the zones will continue to battle as scores fluctuate dependent on who’s controlling each zone.

This is a fantastic variation of the standard domination mode seen in many other titles and kept me coming back for more time and time again.

Each match you play will reward you with experience and loot, experience will level up your character, unlocking new traits such as health and damage buffs, which can be equipped to the D-pad for quick use in-game, I found the initial selection quite sufficient, but it’s still worth paying attention as I noticed in story mode, that you can also level up these traits so their effects last longer or increase the buff.

Loot mostly covers customisation, and there’s a whole heap of customisation options for every character, some are locked to a certain gender, but outside of a pre-game sex-change you can also change the style and colour of your weapon, clothes and armour as well as detailing and colours. Many of the looted gear will give you further buffs and nerfs trading off certain stats to strengthen another.
This proves an incredibly deep experience as players concentrating on all out attack will happily equip that blade that enhances strong attacks knowing they will lose a little damage resistance, while others might prefer to wait for something to improve stamina for avoiding the slowed state mid-battle.

There’s also silver which builds up with battles and can be purchased as in-game micro-transactions, Initially you’ll want to recruit one of the twelve characters as this allows you to customise and enhance their abilities, however be sure to give each a test run, especially if you skip the campaign, as there’s quite a drastic difference dependent on your play style, it’s not really play to win, but getting enough of the Scavenge packs will ultimately give you a greater choice of equipped gear, but a good player will still win in a fight against a bad player who’s spent out on steel.

Graphically, For Honor is comfortably above par, some of the details are top-notch and while I did encounter a handful of frame-rate issues, it’s otherwise a smooth, seamless and enjoyable experience with only a couple of camera angle issues to dampen the mood, Audio is another strong point, with strong background music, which helps to set the atmosphere of each mission, the music is sometimes a little too overpowering, when characters are talking at the same time, but a simple slider in the options menu soon solved this problem.

It’s great to say there’s a strong audio-visual showing across the board, with plenty of gore which really helps the impact of war hit home, Multiplayer is certainly the strong point, which will keep you coming back for more, so while the 5-6 hour storyline might not entice everyone to replay, you’re still getting fantastic value from the engaging multiplayer offering.