A warrior’s honor
Imagine yourself as an extremely skilled warrior of the past. Imagine that you are among the venerable leaders of an army – an army of Knights, Vikings, or Samurai. In one of your many battles, you face against a renowned hero of the enemy army. You face them in honorable one-on-one combat, besting them in a battle of skill, of situational awareness, and of cunning. That’s the kind of game that For Honor is. Or at least, the kind of game Ubisoft intended. But because a subset of gamers are honorless spoilsports and not disciplined warriors,
For Honor is the ultimate irony in video game names.
Simple controls, intricate design
And it’s no wonder, really. The game starts with you picking a faction to fight for, and you’re then forced to play a tutorial that introduces you to the game’s basics. By the end of it, you’d have learned how to attack, block, evade, break guards and throw, and are then left to your own devices, with advanced tutorials and character-specific tips being entirely optional. If you make the mistake of diving into the multiplayer at this point instead of learning and practicing other advanced (but just as essential) moves like parrying, feinting, unblockable and uninterruptable attacks, then you’re setting yourself up for failure with your impatience.
A true warrior will, upon completing the advance tutorial, endeavor to unlock as many of the playable characters as possible, and familiarize themselves with each one. This is done to not only identify the character that fits your play style the most, but also to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you’ll have some semblance of strategy
when you face one in battle. While there are four classes in each of the factions that seemingly play the same role, each character is distinct enough to have their own play styles.
To facilitate this is a Story mode that takes you through all three factions, introducing between two to three characters from each. The story itself is barely coherent and the characters are mostly forgettable, but at least the knowledge and skill gained from it is valuable enough to justify its existence. To further polish your skills before you dive into the multiplayer bloodbath are A.I. opponents for all of the available game modes.
Down to the finest detail
To ensure you truly put your skills to the grindstone, you’re rewarded with Steel in trickling amounts after each game, whether against other players or bots. This will ensure you’ve seen through tens, if not hundreds, of battles before you buy your first bling. This helps you earn your way into the position of being a decorated soldier – metaphorically, as well as literally – as you earn cosmetics to craft your perfect warrior look as opposed to being just another grunt on the battlefield.
And there’s a lot of incentive to do so as well, with many color palettes, engravings, symbols and helm ornaments to choose from. All these are placed on top of extremely detailed armor that is historically accurate. This means the female fighters look every bit as intimidating as the men instead of looking like pretty mannequins that belong in window displays. As many of these are locked behind a Steel wall, there are more that can only be acquired after you’ve
seen enough battles.
Fancy headsman or fancy corpse?
Of course, you can bypass the Steel and skill grind by just buying your way to a fancy corpse with microtransactions. Being one of the pioneers of DLCs in full-priced games, you can be sure Ubisoft did it again with For Honor. In fact, the Steel gain per mission is probably made intentionally low, while the amount of Steel needed for item unlock is set high specifically for this reason.
And in the honorless multiplayer modes of For Honor, it’s all the more reason to polish up your skill. While there are mechanics in place to make it easier on you when you’re outnumbered, sheer numbers will generally still prevail. And you can bet that you’ll be outnumbered whenever your opponents have the chance, because the obvious solution to defeat an opponent that has superior skill is to overwhelm them with sheer numbers. Making use of the Revenge mode that builds as you perform defensive moves, and the simplified blocking against foes you’re not locked on to, it is possible to be the last hero standing while outnumbered, but the probability becomes exponentially lower with each additional foe.
Things can also take a turn for the worse when you take network connectivity into account. For whatever reason, Ubisoft has decided that a special P2P system is the way to go instead of dedicated servers. While no one gets an actual host advantage, it does mean that in best case scenarios, everyone needs to deal with teleporting opponents and attacks that cannot be dodged because you timed your actions perfectly with what you see on screen, but not what’s actually happening in terms of internet traffic. The worst case scenarios, on the other hand, see you getting dropped from the game for seemingly no reason whatsoever. And when someone does disconnect, there is a high chance that there will be others to drop in quick succession.
Unlocking these sets allow their individual parts to be used to craft your own perfect look.
There’s no chance that you’d ever think it’s a good deal. But if you do, maybe you should reflect on life a bit.