For Honor BETA: First Look
I had the pleasure of spending a few hours playing the For Honor BETA this weekend and it was bloody, violent fun.
For Honor is an action fighting game set during an alternate medieval period, where a warlord named Apollyon has pitted three warrior factions in a never-ending age of war. The factions consist of the Legion (Knights), the Chosen (Samurai), and the Warborn (Vikings). There are four classes within each faction: The Vanguard, who are well-balanced in both offense and defense; The Assassin, fast efficient in dueling enemies, though their hits deal less damage; The Heavies, slow in attacks but can sustain heavy damage, perfect for defending capture points; the Hybrids, a combination of two of the other three classes, who are also capable of using “uncommon” skills. You can see the official breakdown of each faction and class at the end of my review.
The gameplay consists of melee combat, where players fight in 1-on-1, 2-on-2 or 4-on-4 battles. There are also five different multiplayer modes (see the full break-down below).
During battle, you set off the “Art of Battle,” by locking on to the nearest enemy. Players then can choose how to place and position their weapons from three directions (from above, the right, and the left) when they are attacking their enemies. By observing on-screen hints and the movements of their opponents, which reflect their respective attack position, players can notice the weakest part of their enemies and attacks these parts. Choosing the correct position can block the other players' attack. Players also have other special abilities, such as barging into enemies with their own shoulders and performing back-stepping swipes. The strength of each attack can also be decided by players. The creators said the system aims at allowing players to "feel the weight of the weapon in [their] hand."
Once you get used switching between the three different fighting stances, battling becomes very fluid. And nothing is more satisfying than the option to execute your fallen enemy (pulled straight from Mortal Kombat). In my experience, the different stances are even more crucial when blocking, to ensure you don’t get your ass kicked. And don’t be afraid to dodge! I do wish, however, it was easier to switch from one enemy to another. Anytime I found myself squaring off against two baddies, I could only really focus on one at a time, and had a terrible time of trying to block the flurry of hits coming my way. Be aware, there IS friendly fire; so don’t go swinging your sword like a mad man (or lady) if your teammates are around.
I found the campaign aspect of For Honor to be very interesting. In the same vein as strategy games like Civilization or Rome: Total War, you are trying to take over factions of the overall World map. You have to tactically choose contested parts of the map that will aid you in both fighting off enemies, and pushing your front lines deeper into enemy territories. Each campaign lasts (I believe) 10 days, where the winning team is declared and the map is reset. That’s some fun depth added to For Honor for people who might get bored with just bludgeoning people to death (though I can’t imagine those people exist).
Overall, it was a nice taste of what seems to be an intriguing game. I haven’t had that much fun playing a hack-and-slash game since the early God of War series. My biggest complaint is the server connectivity issues, which kept me from spending more time playing PvP, and I had to settle for PvAI. The upside is that you still receive experience points for playing against AI, albeit at a reduced rate.
For Honor officially releases TOMORROW, Valentine’s Day, just in time to shower your significant other in the blood of your enemies.
For Honor - Quick guide:
The Chosen (Samurai)
Kensei – Nodachi users, classified as Vanguards. Regarded as living incarnations of Bushido, the Japanese warrior code. The name kensei is Japanese for "sword saint".
Shugoki – Kanabo users, classified as Heavies. Massive fighters regarded as guardians of the people.
Orochi – Katana users. Classified as Assassins, they are swift fighters with access to some ninjitsu techniques.
Nobushi – Naginata users, classified as Hybrids. Typically female, they excel at fighting at long range and inflicting bleeding effects.
The Warborn (Vikings)
Raiders – Great axe wielders, classified as Vanguards. Viewed as embodiments of Viking ideals – courage, integrity and passion.
Warlords – Sword and shield users, classified as Heavies. Known as guardians and commanders who have earned their title.
Berserkers – Dual axe wielders, classified as Assassins. Various authors have speculated that they channeled the spirits of fierce wild animals such as the wolf, bear or boar.
Valkyries – Spear and shield users, classified as Hybrids. Female warriors who take their name from the warrior maidens of Norse mythology responsible for bearing slain heroes to Valhalla, they fight so that those who cannot fight may earn a place there.
The Legion (Knights)
Wardens – Longsword wielders, classified as Vanguards. Known as noble warriors who are also trained to be effective diplomats.
Conquerors – Flail and shield wielders, classified as Heavies. Made of unlikely heroes – conscripts and even former prisoners pressed into service.
Peacekeepers – Dual sword wielders. Classified as Assassins and typically female, they are highly mobile and can counter attacks effectively.
Lawbringers – Poleaxe (halberd) wielders, classified as Hybrids. They are known to go where disorder reigns to enforce the law and punish the guilty.