Ubisoft likes keeping its developers busy. When they aren’t working on another Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed they get busy creating new franchises. One of them, still quite far away (in the far future of February 2017), is For Honor, an ahistorical simulator of Knight vs Viking vs Samurai combat. And it’s nowhere near as silly as this setup sounds. Since the launch is some time away, there is still time to get your hype going. Here we collect all the essential things you should know about Ubisoft Montreal’s For Honor.
As seen in numerous gameplay videos, notably the ones from E3, combat in For Honor is surprisingly simple in its core mechanic. With a stick on your gamepad or mouse movement you pick one of three directions: up, left, or right. This defines both your guard stance and consequently the direction from which you will execute your attack. If your enemy recognizes your stance and picks corresponding direction, the attack is blocked. Simple, responsive, seemingly fair. Noted by several outlets, the initial stages of 1-on-1 combat is very measured and downright cinematic, with players trying to get a measure of the enemy and bait an attack. And then it becomes a frantic struggle, although it loses none of the rock-paper-scissors mechanic.
Special lethal treatment
What introduces variation to this admittedly remarkably simple mechanic are the special actions your warriors can take. Among them there are some immediately useful combat maneuvers like shoves or throws. Pushing your opponent from a ledge is a legitimate technique, even if slightly in bad form. But hey, if you fight fair during a war, you are doing it wrong, right?
Even better, as you get points during the match you unlock special abilities, MOBA-like. They can range from a valley of flaming arrows, to a savage battle cry or a brief regeneration. There are three abilities for each of four available slots, for some mid-game customization.
There are three factions in the game: Samurai-like Chosen, Viking-inspired Warborn, and finally knightly Legions. Each of the factions is further divided into four classes, broadly shared by all factions, but with factional variations, with thematic name attached. So you have the jack-of-all-trades Vanguards, self-explanatory Heavies, murder-oriented Assassins, and an adaptable Hybrid. Each hero gains levels separately, so your Warborn Raider (Viking Vanguard) will not benefit from you levelling up your Chosen Kensei (Samurai Vanguard).
Luckily enough, levels will mostly matter only for customization, with more options opening up with continued play, so balance will not suffer too much. There’s even an in-built Prestige system, for extra cool cosmetic options and overall bragging rights.
The tides of war
Although For Honor will have a full singleplayer campaign, it’s the multiplayer that shows the most promise for the long term. There will be a total of five modes, and so far only three were shown. One of them is a 1v1 Duel mode, which pretty much explains itself. The winner is determined on a best-of-five basis. Then there is the 2v2 Brawl, and the currently most interesting mode: Dominion.
“I’m not dead!”
Dominion is a 4v4 player mode, fought for three capture points, like classic Domination modes, with some deviation from the typical game flow. If your team gets the target point total, enemy has no more respawns, their morale broken and all. If the remaining players, or even AI forces manage to grab a capture point for themselves, they get to come back swinging. Reversals of fortune are to be expected of Dominion games, even more so, when the players get a good grip on the systems.
Apollyon and the Blackstone Legion
Although the factions are very clearly the Samurai, Vikings, and Knights, For Honor doesn’t even try to become a better version of the “Deadliest Warrior” video game. Instead, Ubisoft throws players into a fantasy world, where a thousand years prior a mysterious cataclysm ravaged the lands, forcing the three factions to fight for resources and survival. There is a fourth faction, led by mysterious Apollyon (unlikely the one known from Christian apocrypha, but definitely its namesake), a woman leading the equally mysterious Blackstone Legion. As of now we know little about their motivations, other than apparent propensity for warmongering and keeping the main factions in conflict. What we do know, is that Ubisoft Montreal seems determined to make the singleplayer campaign alone be a good value for money.
Currently the release date of For Honor is set for 14 February 2017, making it one of the bloodier ways to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. Either way, FH may well be one of the most original and self-defined games of 2017, a feat almost unheard of these days, outside of indie games.
Sources: Trusted Reviews Rock Paper Shotgun Gamesradar Gamespot