February 14th comes closer with every passing second and we all know what it means: two high-profile game releases. One is Rebellion Developments’ Sniper Elite 4, but that’s a topic for another time, since we’re going to focus on the other big launch of February 14th.
Ubisoft never rests, it seems. Coming hot on the heels of Watch Dogs 2 (released in November 2016) comes For Honor, a melee à trois between Vikings, Knights, and Samurai set in an ahistorical world where the three factions have been duking it out for the past thousand years.
If this isn’t enough to get you excited, don’t worry we’re only getting started.
Armory of awesome
Let’s admit it: how cool the weapons and armor are plays a large part in (always very civil) forum discussions about why this or that kind of warrior is superior. Thankfully, For Honor with its twelve classes (on them in a moment) has twelve different weapons to have some smashing fun with. It’s a Weaponanza!
Chop and slash
On the Viking (or Warborn) side we have dual-wielded axes, a sword and shield combo, and a spear. A personal favourite for the Warborn, however, is a Dane axe- a long-hafted weapon capable of smashing shields and picking apples from the tallest branches.
The Knights (the Iron Legions) aren’t worse off. They get to play with a longsword (murderstroke is possible maneuver), a halberd, a short sword and dagger combo, and finally a personal favorite on the Knight side, a shield and flail set. Dangerous to an unskilled user, flails can make short work of enemy armor.
Right off the kanabo
Finally the Samurai AKA The Chosen side has a nodachi (an extra-long katana), a regular katana, a naginata (a polearm with a curved blade), and finally, probably the most brutal weapon of the lineup: a kanabo. For those who don’t know: a kanabo is to baseball bats what a kriegsmesser is to kitchen knives.
For Honor probably won’t settle any disputes regarding which weapon is better, because of game balance and silly things like that. Many combat techiques will be of a questionable historical accuracy as well. Despite all of this, the selection of familiar and rare weapons is sure to make the day of many a melee weapon fan, and this is the important part.
Many details about the campaign are still missing, for obvious reasons, but there are some things we do know. And, surprise surprise, it sounds like quite an interesting campaign, split into three parts, presenting the perspective of the three factions.
Well, there are four factions, if we’re to be accurate, but the fourth one is not only unavailable to the players, but also antagonistic to the other three. The Blackstone Legion, led by a woman known as Apollyon (Greek for “Destroyer”) wants to keep the thousand-year old conflict going to separate the “wolves” from the “sheep” as she puts it.
The campaign is going to be told from a perspective of time by people other than the playable champions, framing the narrative as a sort of legend revealed to us. And probably taking a lot of artistic license along the way.
For Honor, like most multiplayer games these days, locks you into distinct classes with unique skillsets and applicable loadouts. However, unlike most of the other multiplayer games we get not four, not eight, but a dozen classes, and it isn’t unreasonable to assume that more will come in time.
True, this dozen classes may look like a bit of a stretch, since they all fall into four general categories: Heavy, Vanguard, Assassin, and Hybrid, but that’s just the surface. In reality each of For Honor classes is going to have unique weapons, unique abilities, and have little in common outside of their general designation.
A rose by any other name…
Let’s see how each faction calls their representative of each category, to make your Googling easier.
- Warborn: Raider (Vanguard), Warlord (Heavy), Berserker (Assassin), Valkyrie (Hybrid)
- Chosen: Kensei (Vanguard), Shugoki (Heavy), Orochi (Assassin), Nobushi (Hybrid)
- Iron Legions: Warden (Vanguard), Conqueror (Heavy), Peacekeeper (Assassin), Lawbringer (Hybrid)
Plenty of maps to plunder in For Honor multiplayer
According to Trusted Reviews the game is going to launch with 12 maps, each with several smaller variants, bringing the total number of discrete battlefields up to 60 at launch. It is safe to assume that more will come along the way, since Ubisoft has stated that they wish to follow the model of Rainbow Six Siege in regards to releasing new content.
The core combat mechanic in For Honor probably couldn’t have been any simpler. All you need is two gamepad sticks (mouse doesn’t seem to be as intuitive) and two buttons. One stick controls your movement, the other defines your guard form (one of three: up, left, right). The buttons define whether your attack will be light or strong. And then things get complicated.
Spike it up
For Honor combat core is further expanded with maneuvers like guard breaks, tackles and throws, special, class-specific feats and more. There are even going to be some environmental hazards, like chasms and spikes to throw your enemies into.
The system is both accessible enough not to intimidate newcomers, and deep enough to attract hardcore players. Learning all the tricks and options of every class is going to take some time, and mastering them will take even longer, especially since there are more feats and special abilities than you can unlock in a single battle.
Twelve classes, each with its own customisation options means a lot of things to unlock. In For Honor you can customize essential parts of your armor with patterns, and new elements, like furs, emblems, or maybe a different design whatsoever. Even your weapon can be tweaked, with different blades, guards or hilts.
Most cosmetic options will be hidden in the progression system, separate for each class, but some will be unlockable by participating in the faction war metagame or the in-game store using free and premium currencies.
There will be some stats involved, but they aren’t going to compensate for lack of skill. The boosts are more likely to be trade-offs than straightforward improvements. And, thankfully, you won’t have to sacrifice style for efficiency thanks to an easily accessed transmogrification system.
The final cut
There is still some time left before the release date comes and we presented just a broad view of why For Honor is worth your attention.
Most classes have their own flavor vidoes on Ubisoft’s Youtube channel, there are plenty of gameplay videos around the Internet, so you can see for yourself if this game is for you. And if it is? There is still enough time to buy a preorder version and get into the fight faster than others.