For Honor: Season 3 Impressions
For Honor launched in February, and we here at Cynosure Gaming had a lot of good things to say about Ubisoft’s hack and slash fighting game. Although getting people to stick with a multiplayer-focused game six months after launch is always a concern of developers; most rely on paid DLC and expansion packs to keep people coming back. Instead of using a payment barrier to divide its player pool, though, For Honor developer Ubisoft Montreal went for a seasonal update schedule, where each new season wouldn’t just bring the start of another season of its Faction War metagame, but also new characters, maps, game modes, and other gameplay enhancements – all free of charge.
For Honor’s third season update, titled “Grudge and Glory”, officially launched on August 15th and was set to be one of the game’s biggest updates to date, though not everything that was promised came to fruition.
- Two new characters – the Gladiator, representing the Knight faction, feels to me like a cross between the Nobushi and Raider; wielding a long reaching trident and boasting swift mobility, they are prone to exhausting themselves quickly. While the Viking faction get its first new warrior in the form of the Highlander; a more methodical, defensive combatant, whom fights with a massive claymore. It is worth noting the characters are only available to season pass holders during the first week, but will are free to everyone afterwards (August 22nd and onward).
- Two new maps – The Sentinel, an immense seaside fortress, and Viking Village, a once thriving fishing settlement that has been turned into a battlefield. The Sentinel stands out in particular due to the new strategy it offers to the gameplay in the form of dueling ballista that the players can control. You now must be mindful when running out in the open lest you get shot down. Operating a ballista comes with its own risks as you are completely defenseless when firing and unable to see if anyone is coming up behind you, plus you are open to fire from the other ballista.
- In the past, if you wanted to participate in the Faction War, you were required to manually deploy the assets you gained to a selected territory on the war map after each and every match. This was not only tedious but something I often forgot to do, which caused my assets to be uselessly scattered across the entire map. The addition of the War Banner, however, streamlines the entire process as it allows you to place it on a specific territory every time you load up the game, meaning all your assets will be automatically deployed to said territory until you move the banner or the next territory update occurs.
- Several measures were taken to lower the frequency of getting stuck in a stun-lock, which was something that happened frequently when fighting against the Centurion, whom was added to the game in Season Two. Other character balancing fixes were also made, though they are not as evident.
- Matchmaking no longer kicks you out to the main menu if there are not enough players in lobby when the match countdown timer reaches zero. Instead, it will start searching for a new match to move the remaining players to.
- Reputation cap for each character increases from thirty to forty. If you were dedicated enough to have leveled a character up to rank 20 thirty times, prepare to do it another ten times.
- Despite the announcement of the impending switch to dedicated servers, when said switch will occur is still unknown. I’ve never had as many problems with the game’s connectivity as others appeared to have, but peer-to-peer connection still lends itself to host migration and players synching issues, which lead to cheap deaths or for matches to abruptly end.
- Viking Village doesn’t do much to set itself apart from similarly designed maps, and isn’t available in Domination mode.
- The ballista in Sentinel offer a new way for players to grief their teammates with, so far, no repercussions. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve seen it a handful of times.
- The game has a tough learning curve for new and returning players when it comes to keeping up with more experienced veterans. I took a month off from For Honor before returning to it a week before the update, and while I performed well with my main, it took several matches of getting shredded when playing as other characters for me to get back in the swing of things.
…and the Ugly
- The new Ranked Duel Tournament mode that was announced to debut was unexpectedly absent from the update. It was supposed to allow players to take part in 1v1 tournaments and feature a ranking system to go along with it. Apparently, Ubisoft discovered a bug right before the launch of the update, and have delayed it for the time being. Although, the developers have stated it will arrive soon rather than later.
The delay of the promised game mode certainly leaves a black eye on this season’s launch. But For Honor is currently on sale at its lowest price, so if you’ve been tempted to take the plunge before, now is about as good of time as any. If you already own For Honor and enjoyed your time with it but have fallen off in recent months, this new update might just be excuse you need to come back and reacquaint yourself with its visceral and bloody battlefields. However, if it was technical issues that has kept you away, you are better off waiting until those dedicated servers arrive, which will hopefully will be sometime before Season Four launches at the end of this year.