For Honor


Australian T3 - - SELECT -

Like me­dieval MMA, For

Honor pits three very dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines of war­riors against each other in a tense se­ries of bat­tles. It’s part beat-’em-up, part ac­tion game, and takes more than few cues from pa­per-scis­sors-rock. That is, if those three items were all big blud­geon­ing pieces of metal.

The three fac­tions (which never ex­isted at the same time so put away your his­tory books) are locked in an eter­nal war, and the lin­ear cam­paign has mul­ti­ple pro­tag­o­nists from each. There’s a plot and well-pro­duced cutscenes with some en­gag­ing voice act­ing: Jen­nifer Hale plays the War­den and does the kind of job you’d ex­pect from the voice of Com­man­der Shep­ard. The no­tion of a huge war be­tween real his­tor­i­cal archetypes in an en­tirely made-up set­ting is a lit­tle weird, but it’s suf­fi­cient to drive you from one en­counter to the next.

The mis­sions them­selves con­sti­tute a solid in­tro­duc­tion to the game’s com­bat sys­tem and its var­i­ous classes, with mul­ti­ple dif­fi­culty lev­els and re­wards for good per­for­mance to en­cour­age re-play. Hid­den col­lectibles feel like a bit of an af­ter­thought, how­ever, and at its core this is still pri­mar­ily a game about hit­ting peo­ple with swords, and there’s a sat­is­fy­ing heft to ev­ery swing of your sword and poke of your spear. You re­ally do feel like you’re belt­ing some­one with a heavy, lethal ob­ject, although this comes at the ex­pense of some flu­id­ity. It’s a slow, lum­ber­ing game, which makes sense given that the char­ac­ters are all enor­mous, ar­moured beef­cakes. It’s bet­ter pro­duced than most fight­ing game cam­paigns, but is prob­a­bly best thought of in that light re­gard­less.

What’s unique here is how you fight. Your cho­sen war­rior blocks and at­tacks in one of three stances – up, to the left, and the right – which leaves two sides open. That’s true both on your prey and your at­tacker. Sub­tle visual clues in­di­cate which di­rec­tion that big, bru­tal swing is com­ing from, but the fe­roc­ity of the at­tack can send you for six. Block enough at­tacks and your en­emy will be left wheez­ing, of­fer­ing the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to strike. Pa­tience and planning are key.

Sin­gle player’s the in­tro­duc­tion to the var­i­ous multiplayer modes. While their for­mat won’t sur­prise you – a riff on Dom­i­na­tion, and a few head-to-head bat­tles – the sheer amount of tac­tics you can em­ploy will. There’s a dizzy­ing ar­ray of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions (as well as an­noy­ing, galling mi­cro­trans­ac­tions) to bol­ster your stats. At times the se­lec­tion of gear is a bit too over­whelm­ing, but don’t let it worry you too much.

For Honor is a rare kind of beast. Slow, at times plod­ding, but ut­terly en­gross­ing and with more lay­ers than a rich Bavar­ian. It’ll test your wits, but re­ward in spades.

BE­LOW “You must be *this* tall to be mashed with a spiky club. Lucky you!”

ABOVE Each class - Vik­ing, Samu­rai and Knight - fights very dif­fer­ently to the last. You’ll ache over your favourite.

TOP “Let me scratch that itch for you.”

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