For Honor sets out to prove that guns are for wusses. True warriors slug it out with their strength, reflexes and wits in hand-to-hand combat. A new hybrid fighting and action franchise meant to provide yet another pillar in Ubisoft’s frontal assault on the gaming world, For Honor pits you on an unforgiving battlefield, where the only way to survive is to outwit and overpower the guy in front of you. The bone-jarring sensation of clashing iron makes you feel the thrills and agonies of the origins of warfare.
Games: For Honor
Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: February 14
If Ubisoft and its array of in-house developer squads have proven anything over the years, it’s that they are dedicated students of history. Whether its games have guided you through iconic Renaissance-era rooftops in Assassin’s Creed games or winded through caveman-era survival struggles in Far Cry Primal, the developers have always strived at transporting you into times and places nothing like what you’re used to seeing. That rings true in For Honor, which rounds up Warborn (Vikings), Chosen (Samurai) and Legion (kinghts) warrior factions — each subdivided into speed, balanced and tank subclasses — who are pitted against one another and must slug it out with swords and shields, spilling their blood to take over territory and resources. While nothing close to this scenario ever happened in the past, this “what if?” setting stays true to the spirit of each culture with authentic weaponry and armor.
Equally as imposing as the attention to detail are the merciless demands of combat. When locked in one-on-one face-offs, you become locked in an ever-shifting game of rock-paper-scissors, adjusting your stances, aiming strategies, rhythms and defenses to eke out whatever edge you can muster over the enemy. Despite the immediacy of the action, you may find your patience stretched beyond the breaking point due to the way combat favors turtling, parrying and counterattacks over free-wheeling slashing. Give the systems time to sink into your blood and you’ll find yourself taking to its methodical pacing. It’s a thrill to play rope-a-dope and cut your way closer and closer to victory, breaking your opponent down physically as well as mentally.
Multiplayer modes are expansive and diverse, pitting you against opponents in one-on-one throwdowns, as well as stretching things out to 2-on-2 and 4-on-4. If you haven’t put in the work to learn the nuances of your chosen warrior, expect to be systematically taken apart by your enemies, agonizingly pounded for the duration of matches and being heavily tempted to rage-quit. Communication becomes even more key in team matches than it does in shooters, because an effectively coordinated flank attack can quickly take down an enemy and turn the tide of battle. Being paired with clueless teammates can mean swift, ugly deaths.
If ever there were a game designed strictly for the Renaissance Fair set, For Honor is it. It strives to feed you the nuts and bolts of what sword and axe-swinging battles were actually like, and for both better and worse it succeeds masterfully. It’s sort of amazing that a game this obstinately stiff and slow can be released in this age of ever-quickening thrills and cheap, jetpack and wall-running gimmicks, this is a game geared toward refined gamers who appreciate the era when you had to stare an enemy in the eye to take his life. The slow, savage path to weapons and defense mastery is satisfying, even if you sometimes wish you could pull out an AK to lay waste to your unforgiving, ironbound opponents.
For Honor Reviews Around The Web:
“We’ll have to see what wears out first — my bloodlust, or my patience with being treated like an open wallet.” –Destructoid
“Coming out on top in a fight is more about patience and your ability to read a foe than the execution of brute force or button mashing.” –GameSpot
“Like a delicious, gamified Turducken, it’s a brawler with the depth of a fighting game inserted into the body of a third-person action game, which is in turn stuffed into an online team-based objective game.” –IGN
For Honor Screenshots
The publisher provided a review copy.
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