Released on February 14, 2017, For Honor makes its way onto the market as this year’s hack-and-slash fighting and brawler hybrid. Let’s see if Ubisoft delivered with this brutal cross-faction nail-biting race to keep up arms for war.

Campaign

For Honor‘s story mode is spread across the three factions over three chapters, beginning with the Knights and ending with the Samurai. Players are inducted into each regime and fight their way up the ranks to positions of authority. I enjoyed the little time I spent with the story mode, looking forward to the short cutscenes with average dialogue portions thrown in. What’s most interesting, to me anyway, is the game’s villain. Everything about Apollyon is super bad-ass—her undaunted determination to incite war, her manipulative tendencies, her aggressiveness in battle… all her characteristics embody the exact antithesis of what it means to fight for honor. Still, it is no secret that most, if not all, of For Honor‘s strengths are derived from its PVP. Its story mode is satisfactory and players will appreciate the fact that Ubisoft packaged a campaign inside, but it cannot compare to the bloodthirsty adventure that is the multiplayer Faction War.

PVP Combat

Ubisoft has a marvel on their hands in this department. For Honor‘s most notable feature is, hands down, PVP and for a damn good reason. Ask any concurrent FH player, and I’m willing to bet that they vouch for the game’s combat burning the best and brightest. At face value, the title can be compared to fighting games with some brawler elements—mash a few buttons, drain some health pools, and win. Easy enough, right? I’m not-so-sorry to say that PVP is 100% not for casuals, as a quick Friday afternoon duel will be anything but relaxing. After digging beneath the surface, players will uncover FH‘s multifaceted layers associated with the combat alone. Attacking strikes as well as defensive blocking both include three-point-pyramid positioning while map designs are nothing short of environmental hazards. Ever get thrown from a three-story peak with your opponent taunting the hell out of you? Battles incorporate the wit inherent in strategy games—four characters across three factions each belong to specific classes and archetypes and perform specific move-sets very few will have the patience to master. This goes without mentioning guard breaking, counter-guard breaking, unblockables, parries, and counter-parries. To really experience For Honor in all its blood-stained glory, play the PVP. You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice if you limited yourself to the story mode.

Skill Gap

If you’re new to the fighting genre as a whole, For Honor is going to be anything but a cake-walk in the park. I really mean that; the game does absolutely nothing to handicap experienced players to prevent the slaughter of waves of fresh noobs. If your experience with beat-em-ups is slim, prepare to be slashed, gashed, blocked, stunned, and thrown off peaks and high-rises, every single time. Out of the 20-30 duels I played, I emerged victorious with the spoils of my enemies only twice. Keep in mind that’s after swapping characters multiple times and finding what suits my playstyle. You are unfortunately stuck with the character you pick for the entirety of a match so this may take some time to figure out who you are best suited for. That’s also after spending a considerable amount of time in both Practice and Advanced Practice modes. While it is pretty easy to characterize For Honor as a merciless and punishing experience, I can’t fault the developers for allowing veterans to spread their wings. Scratch that, I can’t fault the developers for allowing any player with enough individual skill and ingenuity to spread their wings. It’s a discouraging learning experience really, in which newer players bite the bullet in the hopes of eventually smashing the dreams of even newer players on the battlefield.

Pay To Win?

Wait, what? This is not the biggest of qualms with For Honor, but I felt it needed mentioning as it is in the final game. Players have the option of buying an in-game currency called Steel with real-cash money and then using that Steel to open weapon and armor packs that yield stat changes for individual characters. After asking a few daily players, stat bonuses from in-game gear aren’t as important as one might think—bonus statistics are only applied in specific 4v4 game modes that rely less on individual tactics and strategy. As the number of warriors on the battlefield increases, a cluster-truck of swinging swords and axes usually means the credit-card-swiper will be confronted with two or three opponents on the regular. I’m happy to say stat bonuses and gear packs have no effect on the modes that seemingly matter more to players in For Honor—1v1 and 2v2 duels. These modes come down to the sweatiest of the sweat, in which player skill and situational awareness will guarantee the win every single time.

For Honor - Review
Pros
  • Tactical/Impactful Combat
  • Level Design
  • Gamemode Variety
Cons
  • Average Story
  • Slight P2W
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Anthony G
Review/Editorial Writer

From posting videos on YouTube to livestreaming on Beam, Anthony enjoys immersing himself in all things video games. Starting with a NES, his love for gaming expanded into handhelds and eventually everything first-person shooter. When he's not shooting ALL THE THINGS, you'll find Anthony reporting on Ghost Recon as a Ubisoft Star Player.