It is this mode, really, that gives the game its title. Here is where you will find the most honorable players. Those that wish to define and refine their skill by going up against others who feel the same. For instance, I found myself (two separate times thus far) against players who were just as skilled with their Hero as I was mine (the Orochi) and both times we found ourselves playing maps with possible ring-out options. Both times neither of us tried to throw the other out of the ring, but rather wanted to finish the fight honorably, skill versus skill. And if there was a ring-out, the player would apologize.
This is also what gives the “honorable kill” system its name. More on that later.
Dominion is next in line for fun factor. Along with its deathmatch brethren, dominion is typical fanfare for multiplayer modes, basically a “capture the flag” with certain sections of each map. Deathmatch has two sub-modes, elimination and skirmish. Each of these have been used in a plethora of multiplayer games, and their play does not differ much.
The biggest difference however, is the aforementioned honorable kill system. Any time you are one-on-one with another player in deathmatch or dominion, you have a chance to earn an honorable kill. There are a set of conditions to this however: opposing players must have full health (undamaged by another player), they must be killed by you and you alone, and they must not be eliminated by environmental design (no ring-outs, no fire, etc). This will earn you renown, which goes toward Reputation points (similar to Call of Duty’s prestige). There are many other ways to earn renown, but this earns the most.
This brings us to combat. As most well now know, it is quite the robust and tactical system. I would go as far to say possibly the most tactical in gaming today. Combos can be strung together, but only if you fool your opponent by feinting and timing your blows properly (the Orochi is perfect for this). Each class has specific movesets that greatly differentiate them on the battlefield.
Each faction contains four Heroes (12 altogether) that specialize in specific weapons and combat styles. All three factions have heavy, medium, and light classes.
While the Viking raiders look great, and play the tank role well, their movesets were too slow (with the exception of the Valkyrie) for my taste. Vikings are found with giant axes, dual-wielding hatchets, sword and shield, and spear and shield. The Valkyrie proves to be the Vikings’ most specialized warrior.The Wardens are your adaptable, all-around, Knight’s Templar warriors; their movesets are balanced between offensive and defensive and serve as the entry level Hero. The faction is equipped with longswords, and flails and shields. The Peacekeeper is the Knights’ assassin, dual-wielding a sword and dagger.The Orochi (my most favorite) are the assassins of the Samurai and are much harder to master than their predecessors. They specialize in fast, offensive attacks and even quicker counter attacks. The best part about the Orochi is they can dodge under attacks, provided you time them correctly. They are one of the most difficult classes to master, but once you do, it is very rewarding. The Samurai faction is equipped with katanas, nodachi, spiked clubs, and ahlspeiss (a type of polearm).Parrying is possible, but timing has to be absolutely perfect and it is not easy to do, in any sense, especially if you’re surrounded. Two on one is a frightening situation, though with much skill, both opponents can be defeated. Three on one, however, forget it. The combat is simply refreshing and very deep. It’s not just point and shoot and hope your network holds out. Skill and tactics are actually needed to survive battles and speaking as someone who isn’t very good at multiplayer staples like Call of Duty and Battlefield, I am actually a force to be reckoned with, thanks to the tactical combat.
Disclaimer: all screenshots were taken from my alpha and beta experience.
One of my most favorite parts of combat are the executions. They are brutal. Each hero has two specialized default executions and two more that can be purchased with the in-game currency, Steel.Combat isn’t the only thing that helps For Honor rise above the echelon; it has a surprisingly deep customization system. Literally every piece of armor is allowed to be customized. Vambraces, greaves, helms, spaulders, and chest pieces can all be swapped, all with their own stats and buffs and a multitude of colors, emblems, symbols, and even engravings.You create your own coat of arms at the start and can use the symbol on your armor. Weapons can also be customized. Hilt, crossguard, blade, and any accouterments may be added. The best part is these options are much more than aesthetic; they have stats and specific duties in battle.For example, I outfitted my kensei with a hilt that aided stamina regeneration and a crossguard that raised my defense stat by two. It didn’t seem much looking at it, but it actually really helped in battle. You can also customize your feats, which are skills that unlock by completing–you guessed it–feats, like smoke grenade (yes, smoke grenades did exist then) and a health boost when killing mob soldiers.
It’s worth noting all Heroes–with the exception of the Lawbringer, Shugoki and Warlord, who are all male, as well as the Peacekeeper, Valkyrie, and Nobushi, who are all female–can be either gender.
The graphical quality is very smooth, but I play on a 4K display, so my resolution is upscaled a little bit. That being said, you can see how much time the team took with the saturation and color gamut in the screen below. Note, the resolution of the image has been compressed through uploading and does not reflect resolution in-game.What’s more, is the score. I absolutely love the menu music. In fact, I sat listening to it for a few minutes. Since there isn’t an exact period as far as setting is concerned, I can’t say the score matched its setting, but it is still nevertheless immersive and very well done.
While the narrative could have been flushed more, I did not expect much from the campaign. The multiplayer is deep and immersive, and the fluid, tactical combat serves it very well. That in and of itself sets this game apart from any other multiplayer focused game on the market. It is paced, calculated, flexible, and offers a variety of styles to suit everyone’s needs. It may not be historically accurate and the few bugs (cosmetic mainly, texture clipping was the most frequent) and frame drops (only when all 8 combatants are at each other in the same section of the map) occurred every so often, For Honor is a huge leap in multiplayer combat and I hope more games take example.
I give For Honor a