Heads rolling across the battlefield and brutal executions are commonplace in For Honor’s punishing combat. What looks like a Dynasty Warriors style game, is actually a strategically deep melee more in the vein of Soul Caliber.
For Honor’s combat system “The Art of Battle” is the heart of the game. Locking on your opponent allows you to take up three different stances that change you guard and attack from left, right, or above. When enemies attack, if you alter your stance to match the direction of the incoming attack, you will block theirs. This forces you to read your opponent, and not randomly mash buttons. Blocking is only the beginning, however, For Honor boasts a complex fight system laden with light attacks, heavy attacks, dodges, parries, guard breaks, throws, counters, combos, unblockable attacks, and as I mention executions.
For Honor’s cast consists of 12 heroes, peppered evenly across the three factions Knight, Samurai, and Viking. Each group has a vanguard, a heavy, a hybrid, and an assassin. However, much like the classes in Overwatch, each member of each class plays differently. I typically favor assassin characters so I put in most of my time with the Orochi and the Peacekeeper. The Peacekeeper is meant to harry the enemy and run away after causing bleeding damage, while the Orochi is skilled at dodging and countering.
There is a class for everyone, and I think that is the main area that the campaign shines through. Except for boss fights, the battles in the campaign are not challenging, and the story is fairly lackluster. Where story mode makes its strides, is in forcing you to play as every faction and class in the game. After you have had a taste of every hero, then I think you can find which one fits you. I personally favor the Orochi, Shugoki, and Warden.
To further familiarize yourself with the aspects of this game, For Honor offers an array of modes to test your skills such as basic tutorials, advanced tutorials, training, and one-on-one Duels. If you fancy diving into the multiplayer aspect of the game, which is the meat of the experience, you can do four-on-four dominion, skirmishes, and elimination, where players battle for control over certain points or straight up murder each other. As you get into the larger battles, the game can quickly snowball into a four-on-one fight if you are not coordinated as a team.
For Honor also has a deep loot system, but it’s too deep for me. To upgrade your gear, you need in-game currency call “Steel” which you get in intervals of 10-20, and a basic gear set costs 300 Steel. Some of the rarer ornaments and outfits can cost up to 15,000 Steel, so you can see how this game pushes microtransactions. While nothing in the game is unattainable through hard work, it is exactly that. To reach the levels required for the best loot, you will need to sink some serious time into the daily and weekly contracts available to earn extra Steel. The economy in For Honor is cheap, but the game is not pay-to-win.
Another issue with For Honor is the lack of dedicated servers to host games. Individuals playing are hosting games, and your connection to the battlefield relies on their internet connections. This can cause havoc if you are in a fight with an AI bot who doesn’t always feel the lag like you do. I’ve been killed by teleporting bots a couple of times.
For Honor is a solid game for those you love to grind through multiplayer. Due to some dents in the armor, For Honor falls short of being great, but it's a fun game with surprisingly deep combat. With by far the deepest fighting system I’ve ever seen, For Honor is a tour de force of realistic combat gameplay. I feel like if you have fun with Souls games or even MOBAs this would be right up your alley. I wouldn’t recommend spending the full $60 on this game, but if it goes on sale soon for a good price, make sure to grab it. If Ubisoft goes all in on supporting this game, it could become a great franchise, and most likely the next big Esport.