Its clear that Ubisoft has designed For Honor as a multiplayer game. Right from the marketing down to the UI of the welcome screen, For Honor screams multiplayer. Its disappointing then that the game does not have dedicated servers to host games. This single problem overshadows the entirety of the game, a flaw that even robust and tactical mechanics and a surprisingly good single player are not able to balance out.
For Honor is a hack and slash fighting game developed and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. the game was developed primarily by Ubisoft’s studio in Montreal, and released worldwide on February 14, 2017.
Let’s get this out of the way. If you are looking for a multiplayer review, then you have come to the wrong article, because the Multiplayer, did not, I repeat DID NOT work for me. I tried joining a game in different modes at different times of the day with different heroes selected, but to no avail. I have been kicked out of games at various points : Just before the game begins, just after the game begins, the server that was the game hosting withdrew, and the server who was hosting the game timed out. I had the full gambit of errors thrown at me, and in my 1 week of For Honor, I was not able to play a single PvP game in the multiplayer lobby.
Which makes you think why Ubisoft went for Peer to Peer server instead of dedicated hosted servers for the game, like any other multiplayer who takes itself seriously. I honestly couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer, and if you do, post it in the comments. Of course the problem does not end there. When I was able to connect (mostly in PvE modes or as For Honor calls it Players Vs. AI) there was distinct lag, intermittent disconnection and even frozen frames from time to time. In contrast, Rocket League, Skyrim and The Division are all running smoothly on my PS4. So it’s not me, it’s you Ubisoft.
(+) Game-play And Mechanics
Which is a shame, because For Honor is pretty deep and varied in its gameplay. With 4 broad hero classes (Heavy, Assassin, Long Range, and Balanced) with their varied play-style spread over 3 races (Vikings, Samurai and Knights) which add their own perks, there are enough variations here to find something that match your style. Plus the combat is full of tactics like block, defend, dodge, feint, light and heavy attacks, combos, throws, stun, UN-blockable attacks, UN-interruptible attacks, jump attacks, running attacks, counter, parries and of course executions which makes every fight a more tactical experience than your normal button mashing.
The combat itself feels satisfactory. There is a visual crunch to moves and a gory relief to execution. 5 minutes rarely go by before a head rolls on the battlefield, and while the backdrop itself might not be historically accurate (Ubisoft going for more artisitic license this time around), the battles stay true to the Dark Ages and pre gun powder era. The focus on one on one battles instead of hordes also makes the combat much slower, allowing/giving you time to observe the enemy attack pattern and coming up with your own. Of course going into a duel can become exponentially difficult if you run into more than 2 enemies, which in a way discourages you from leaping into a situation before looking both ways. And don’t worry it’s not Dark Soulish at all, in fact it’s pretty easy to take down enemies if you know how to use your move-set.
(+) Story And Narrative
I got all of this from the Single player campaign of course, which is 18 mission (6 for each class) and last about 8 hours in total. The single player campaign does a good job of introducing you to the basics of the game, and different campaigns let you try out the different heroes from each class, which means that by the time you are done with the campaign you would have more or less decided which hero you would like to invest in (a very critical decision as you would soon find out). Apart from playing well and never being too long, the single player campaign does nothing more. The story is okaish and as previosuly stated not historically accurate (Like at all). Maybe it takes place on a Ubisoft version of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but it’s enough to give you enough reasons to plow through enemies and earn Steel and Feats.
(-) MISC / In Game Currency
What are Steel and Feats you ask? I am glad you did. Steel is the in-game currency and feats are active/passive buffs that you can equip your hero with. Steel is particularly frugal in its drop rate, and considering its used to unlock everything from weapons, to armor, to executions and even skins (with individual items going for as high as 15000 Steel), its clear the game is trying to convince you to use real money to unlock stuff. Steel can also be earned by completing daily, weekly and monthly objectives which offer higher amount of Steel compared to the mission/matches completion, still if your looking to put in some serious effort, I expect you to spend something more beyond the price of the game. This also puts a lot more focus on what hero who you want to level up, as leveling up all the heroes is just not an option, so try out all the heroes (wink wink Single Player) before you start unlocking gear for your hero.
For Honor is a good start, almost like the first Assassin Creed but without the focus on micro-transactions. It has some really cool mechanics which are worth exploring and others which can be improved upon in its next iteration.