After many months of anticipation, the disappointing inability to play any of the betas, and fulfillment of a preorder made over a year in advance to Amazon Prime, I got to live my dream of mercilessly cleaving my foes in two once again in a world that Ubisoft has reinvigorated. Ubisoft is well-known for the Assassin’s Creed series, where they tell the stories of various assassins in different times and landscapes that many of us would never experience even in our own time. For Honor takes a different approach, offering historically accurate armor, weapons, and warrior classes fighting in what is technically a post-apocalyptic world. For millennia, the factions have been a war. Whenever it seems peace is almost near, someone deliberately betrays the trust gained and they all start fighting all over again in a perpetual battle.
The story goes that a shift in the Earth’s crust caused three distinct cultures to be pushed together on a single continent: Samurai, Knights, and Vikings. In the early times of the disaster, resources were scarce and the groups fought over water and food. At present, the factions control a main part of the continent in their own respective “corners” of the world. Samurai live in what is called the Myre, a lush, green, jungle/swamp area. Knights occupy an area of land called Ashfeld, with more rolling plains and semi-mountainous areas ideal for building their castles. The Vikings live in the cold, harsh, mountainous region of the continent and must raid for food and supplies.
Despite carving out their own areas, these three factions are set on wiping the others out. This is reflected in the story, as well as the theme of the multiplayer modes available. Most online multiplayer games are based on capturing an objective, killing your enemy’s team to reach a certain score, etc. This isn’t unique to For Honor, but the game adds another level. Since factions are trying to acquire territory, you’re going to help by deploying “war assets”. At the end of every multiplayer match, you have a certain number of assets that you can direct to various fronts to gain an advantage over the other faction. These weekly fights offer rewards to everyone in the faction that wins.
Fighting mechanics are straightforward; you have heavy attacks, light attacks, and guard breaks that you can combine into combos. Attacking and blocking attacks in the game involves careful timing using a tri-directional system. The direction that you attack and defend is shown on a “shield” indicator by your character. This indicator also gives you some heads up on the direction your opponent is attacking from as well. This system is used while targeting one attacker at a time, which can make it difficult in situations where multiple players are attacking you. Practice makes perfect, so experiment with some different characters and find the fighting style that suits you best. There’s a lot to love here. Even the scenes and backgrounds are well-done, adding to the crisp look of combat during battle.
There are four classes of heroes to choose from: Vanguard, Assassin, Heavy, and Hybrid. The factions have a playable character for each class with various abilities and styles. Vanguard heroes are considered adaptable and the easiest to use. These are recommended for first-time players. Assassins are quick and deadly, but take a little extra practice to get the hang of. Heavy class fighters are slower, harder hitters (my personal favorite). This class has the ability to block attacks from all angles, as well as charge their attacks dealing massive damage. Hybrids differ between factions, fulfilling different roles. Hybrids are the “hardest” classes to use, although the game says they all take a little time to learn.
Servers & Ease of Multiplayer
There are a few different multiplayer game modes available to play, as well as some special events that are available at different times:
- Dominion– capture objectives and defend them to gain points
- Elimination– Eliminate the other team to win
- Skirmish– Battle the other team to a points threshold and then eliminate them
- Brawl– 2 vs 2 elimination
- Duel– one on one elimination
Elimination, Brawl, and Duel game modes are best out of 3 with up to 5 matches, with draws being a possibility if the match reaches the time limit. All the game modes are playable player vs player or against AI or bots. Difficulty in PVP and AI battles are hard to compare in my experience, the bots have 3 different levels and the level is determined at random for matches. Level 3 is the high level and is a difficult opponent. Players can also be very skilled, as some have been playing almost non-stop since the game launch. One of the more annoying points in multiplayer is when you become outnumbered. Please do not despair if this happens to you—we’ve all been there and you will eventually be part of a mob yourself.
Currently, the biggest problem with For Honor is its server and multiplayer connection issues. Complaints about the online gameplay have been around since the beta, but Ubisoft apparently hasn’t taken the hint that they need to overhaul the online play. Many times, I received an error message that per Ubisoft error code is a server issue. Since the launch of the game, there has been a record drop of online players compared to games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Mostly, these errors occur in the middle of the match—but sometimes you can’t even join your friend’s group before matchmaking.
The server issues are probably the only reason I won’t be continuing this game. Ubisoft did a fantastic job making the characters, the battlefields, and game. However, playing online requires a few things such as good friends and good connection! It’s sad when Ubisoft starts posting about connection problems and telling players to restart their Xbox to fix the problems. I hope in the future they find a solution, but so far it seems unlikely—the money to be made on selling games has already been made, so why fix the issues?
If you are looking for a game to live out some fantasies of medieval warriors, raging Vikings, and swift Samurai, then For Honor is worth checking out. Like most online games, make sure you have a few friends to pal around with online. The campaign is interesting and gets you some sweet swag to use on your multiplayer characters. Overall, For Honor is a good game and lives up to all the hype and advertising. The downfall ultimately to the long-term playability will continue to be the connectivity issues. If For Honor is to survive long enough to make any real money on DLC, they’d better fix their connection problems.
- Beautiful scenery
- Crisp Combat
- Attention to Detail in Story
- Connection issues