For Honor is a third person fighting game with its own unique fighting elements and traits that may consider it a moba (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) as well. The game advertises itself as a clash of the ages, having the world’s greatest warriors in history go head to head in a never-ending war for resources and glory. What faction will you choose, the stoic Knights, the savage Vikings, or the honorable Samurai? And the most important question, what would you do for honor?
As of this season, there are twenty-two characters to choose from, and all have their own interesting and unique designs, from your trademark trope knight with a Longsword to the very nimble (and absolutely frickin’ annoying to catch up with….) ninja, each with a class type to categorize just what kind of hero they are.
There are four class types total in the game: Vanguard, the easiest to pick up and play around with, yet the hardest to truly master; Heavy, the slow but hard hitting tanks of their respective armies; Assassins, the nimble and agile heroes who aim to chip you down and keep you on your toes; and the Hybrid class, which have various classes conglomerated into each hero individually.
For Honor’s fighting mechanics are very different to something such as Mortal Kombat or Soul Calibur. I feel it’s more akin to something like Dark Souls, although the combat is much more in depth than that. While locked onto an enemy, you have three stances that are visualized through a rounded triangular widget. Using the right stick on your controller, or using your mouse, you change stances between top, left, and right stance.
There are five types of attacks in the game: You have your neutral light attacks, which are usually chained together to form combos; your heavy attacks, which can be feinted during the start up of its animation; Your zone attack, which is usually counted as a heavy unless it comes faster than a light attack; your unblockable attacks, which can either be slow, highly telegraphed, and very hard hitting attacks, or they can be openers that don’t deal damage, but rather stagger; and your undodgeable attacks, which cannot be dodged unless you are clearly out of range of their attacks. They can still be blocked, and generally count as light attacks.
You also have a guard-break button that is a universal opener for all characters, however it can be countered by simply pressing the same button. Newcomers will have trouble timing the counter, as it requires precise timing, but once you get used to it, you will be able to do it nearly every time. Sadly, the game has an odd bug that delays input registry at times, so you’ll be constantly saying “hey, I countered that!” or “hey, where’d my attack go??” It’s a rather obnoxious bug that seems to be mysteriously illusive, because the developers have yet to fix it. Of course, it may also be a frame issue, as the console versions of the game are locked at thirty frames per second (PC versions have no frame lock).
Various actions towards your opponent are crucial to winning the fight. For instance, swinging the same stance as your opponent wouldn’t be a smart move, as they can either block, or even parry, your incoming attack, depending on their reflexes and what kind of attack you commit to. It’s a very tactical mind game. What attacks will you commit to, and what attacks will you feint out of? Can you force an opening from your opponent? The game has a steep learning curve, but once you pass it, you’ll be getting into high level pvp in no time.
The game has a story campaign that tells the tale of three heroes, one from each faction. It also tells the story of the antagonist, Apollyon’s goal, which is to weed out any weak “sheep” of all the factions, only letting the greatest warriors live and thrive for themselves. The goal is to take down Apollyon and end the war…. Sort of.
This is one of it’s flaws. While some of the areas of the story and some lines are very memorable, some ares of the story were very lackluster, and some voice lines are memorable for the wrong reasons. (There’s a character in the game named Siv who literally just yells “RRRAAAAAIIIIIDEEEERRRRRR” three times in the air while holding a minion in her hands. It’s…. It’s that bad sometimes.
There are other modes for the game, with the gamemodes including Duel, which is your typical one on one. You have Brawl, which is a two-v-two and most of the time is just treated as two separate one-v-ones.
Then you jump straight into the four-v-four gamemodes: Deathmatch, which is a mix-up of Team Deathmatch and a brawl type system (Skirmish and Elimination respectively); Tribute, which is a capture the flag style gamemode that boosts your team as you gain each “flag”; and the most popular of the three, Dominion, which is a zone based gamemode where you capture three different zones until the opposing team is breaking.
If there are more than two players in a match (I.E. not duels), when you have multiple people attacking you at once, you gain Revenge, which is a meter that when full, allows you to gain the upper hand against your enemies, boosting your damage and defenses greatly, while also granting all of your actions passive hyperarmor. You’ll use this commonly in Dominion or other four-v-four gamemodes, as the players in those gamemodes don’t exactly fight with honor for honor, if you understand my meaning.
There are also in depth learning gamemodes, such as Training, which gives you full control over your AI opponent, and “Trials,” which are narrative driven tutorials to help you learn the game faster and even teach you certain characters. There are also training videos that you can watch and read along with to try and better understand a certain character you’re wanting to play as.
There is also the “Faction War,” which is essentially a war map that allows you to strategise with the rest of your faction to capture points across the map. Sadly, there is no point to actually participate in this mini-game type option, as not only do you gain menial rewards for playing along, but the faction war is actually rigged to suit the faction that didn’t receive a rework or a new hero. There’s ample evidence online if you wish to know more about the details, but here I will not go into great detail about it, as this is for the game as a whole, not one of its features.
As I briefly touched upon before, the game receives constant updates and changes to spice up the formula constantly, between new outfits and items to further customize your hero, to brand new heroes, to even character reworks that give whole new options to characters that just simply couldn’t keep up with the new heroes, and even graphical updates that make the game look even more stunning. There’s even a weekly live stream that the developers have called the “Warriors’ Den,” which they use to discuss new changes and potential new information live for the community.
Flaws and Issues
The game sounds almost too good to be true right? Well, every game has its flaws, and this game has quite a plethora.
The most glaring issue is the game’s hero balancing. Because this is the first of its kind, there are no other games to look at for a bit of help with this kind of thing. At least, this is the excuse they’re using, but in reality, they just aren’t the greatest at balancing the heroes. Some heroes don’t even have proper openers aside from guard break, which is easily counterable, and some of the characters have i-frames on their i-frames, making them an absolute pain in the ass just to punish for being stupidly predictable, on top of glaring bugs and glitches that ruin the experience and the obvious turtle meta that plagues the game.
This problem wouldn’t be so glaring if the small part of the community that’s incredibly toxic didn’t take these exploits, bugs, and glitches, and utilize them to create the most obnoxious, ridiculously boring to fight against playstyles known to man, and if you win, you not only feel like crap after playing that match, but the opponents have the audacity to so much as whisper the word “cheater” your direction because you actually managed to beat their cancerous style of play with actual skill and patience, meanwhile if you lose you get called a scrub and a loser, and told to “git gud” simply because you lost your patience and wanted the damn match to be done and over with.
The salt gets high in this game.
The game also has numerous connectivity issues, for some ungodly reason. Even with the new dedicated servers they implemented in Season Five, I’ve had countless times where I was just booted from the game due to some random network error, or put into a lobby with all AI for no other reason than “Ubisoft.” Because that’s a new meme now, apparently. “Ubisoft, please.”
When the connection is solid, the matchmaking screws you over. There may be a few instances where you as a rep three will go against rep 50’s and above, which will obviously become a slaughterhouse if you aren’t a smurf or just really good at the game. Don’t worry, You’ll be on the giving end too, it switches back and forth. Luckily, most of the people at rep 100+ really don’t gain much skill, as I’ve seen highest rep players doing basic, predictable moves and falling for the simplest things, so don’t get too afraid to try and smash them in when you can.
I commend the developers for staying active and listening to the community, that’s far more than what most developers would do. However, there are some things that come out of their mouths that are just asinine and blatantly incorrect. They’ll also ignore certain kinds of feedback, or make up some kind of excuse not to implement it. A good example would be that people had constantly been saying Lawbringer, the hybrid of the Knights faction before Centurion came as dlc, had no openers, no tracking on his long arm, and had extremely limited combos to work with, he needs a rework badly to this day. Roman, of all people, laughs at this complaint and says “Learn how to play the character, and then we will talk about reworks.” It’s as if they don’t even play their own game to learn of these glaring issues, or possibly just play it on PC.
Oh…. Wait a minute….
Overall, the game is really fun when you are able to avoid the glaring flaws, but if you get into higher level play, be ready to break the game disc, as the flaws in the gameplay are odoriferous and very common. Even youtuber Spliced managed to come up with a new exploit that we as the community have now dubbed Lawbringer Splicing, and it has gone viral. People are using it in every gamemode with every hero, and you quickly wonder how good your controller will look in your tv or computer screen.
As of right now, I can recommend this game, but only when it goes on sale, or possibly even if you just get the Starter Edition of the game. I can say without a doubt, yeah you will have fun, and the game is addicting, but in the same breath, I will also say you will cuss out every ignorant brat you come up against who decides to spam the same damn move that’s very difficult to punish without absolute pinch-perfect precision and reflexes.
But when you find those hidden gems, those good games against truly skilled opponents, you’ll most definitely feel the tension and the excitement that the developers were trying to incite, and you will want to hold onto that feeling as long as possible.
If you have any feedback for the review, please let me know! Any feedback is welcomed!