A war­rior’s honor

For Honor

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX / REVIEW - by Ian Chee

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.

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