Review: For Honor – Is it Brutal Enough?
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed) , Xbox One, PC (Steam, Uplay)
“The world of For Honor is harsh, yet filled with beautiful wildlands, grandiose landmarks, and majestic ruins. Its hardy inhabitants eke a living as they can in spite of living in a state of near perpetual war.”
Ubisoft Montreal’s newest release brings players into the intense fictional world of arguably history’s three most famous war eras, clashed into the one. For Honor invites action seekers everywhere to experience careful and thoughtful combat while maintaining an overall goal of overthrowing the enemy reinforcements. Throughout a vast amount of environments, from snowy wastelands to tropical swamps, foes will be appealingly brutally executed as they’re overcome. Despite the game feeling like an interactive war scene from Vikings or Game of Thrones, it is sorely let down by an immense amount of game breaking bugs and network issues, which unfortunately doesn’t encourage an immediate purchase.
The game provides what seems like a supplementary single-player campaign mode to accompany the multiplayer madness. The story injects players into a tormented war between three factions. The warriors grow endlessly tired after centuries of battle, the ferocious Vikings, the honourable Samurai, and the noble Knights may have laid their weapons to rest, until manipulative figure Apollyon enters and mysteriously sparks the bloodlust once again. Progressing through each faction’s campaign, first taking on each one-on-one until the final all out 3-way battle. The story here is comparable to that of Battlefield 1. It is definitely not Montreal’s focus, and it feels that way too. There isn’t much character development or depth to really invest and become infatuated by. It’s merely a distraction from the multiplayer… or when you can’t connect to it. Ranging at about 4-8 hours in length it does provide a brief, enjoyable practice for the main game and beautiful cut scenes. ,
The gameplay is clearly a strong point of the For Honor. It feels weighty, intense, both fast-paced and dramatic depending on the situation. Most importantly, it’s fun. The fighting mechanics feel extremely tight on a PS4 controller and make sense. Your opponent attacks to the left, hold to the left to block. Your opponent is blocking to the right, attack from another direction they aren’t. Throwing in grapples, block-breaks, and other techniques on top of devastating combos when you’re annihilating an enemy adds to the depth and impressiveness of the simple yet exciting fighting system. In between the near cinematic battles, players can eliminate enemy soldiers to help push their team to victory or gather extra bonuses in Dominion mode. On the other hand, elimination and duel game modes are the most skill demanding yet exciting to play. The Player vs Player in For Honor requires immense practice and focus to perfect and master. A good player will be proficient with a character and their combos. On the other hand, the expert will know every character’s move set and weaknesses to able to counter their attacks and strategy. Because of this combat depth, the game is quite similar to a fighter rather than a third-person hack-and-slash. An interesting breed can be related to Mount and Blade or Chivalry. Without a doubt, a well-crafted system and a welcome addition to the gaming universe. The only disappointment is the slight input lag felt when playing multiplayer occasionally, this is however related to networking issues and completely omitted within Player vs AI and Story.
Graphics and animations in For Honor are astounding to watch and run surprisingly well on a standard Playstation 4. Each warrior has clear distinct designs and elements to add to their personality depending on their class and faction. The environments are torn, war-ridden, and evident of many gruesome battles with flickering flames, mud, and detailed crumbling fixtures. Players will find the best animations in a video game so far this year without a doubt. You’ll notice the intricate elements like how your warrior will take scanty, sharp steps or long strides down a staircase depending on how fast you were moving, and how their body jerked responsively as they’re stricken, bashed, or brush against another soldier. So much effort went into making the animations perfect, the motion capture has reached a point where it is so realistic it’s nearly perfect.
The sound overall suits the game well. It won’t be anything remarkable, however. Strikes and falls sound meaty as they should, the clanking of swords colliding is powerful and sharp. Quality sound effects and battle ambience. What is interesting is the various overall thematic change in the score you’ll hear depending on the faction you’re currently selected as. Each has their own take on the main themes of the games introducing their tribal or cultural timbre and tones. What I feel it is sorely missing is a memorable main theme that players are consistently humming to themselves in loading screens and an in-game multiplayer announcer for multi kills. Honestly, with a game so focused on multiplayer and intense action, a badass “MULTIKILL” would only solidify the epic moments. It takes itself very seriously as a realistic “historic” game, where in reality it really isn’t. It’s clearly a fictional fantasy game with a crazy premise and should treat itself in that way. Glimpses are shown through the multiplayer “VS” loading screen displaying each player’s character facing off in a menacing pose, and soldiers spawning in out of a random void right in front of players mid-game. This ends up feeling sort of out of place in such realism, yet should not. Throwing in that little bit of cheese and excessively poke fun about how bloody and violent the game is, similar to Unreal Tournament, would only improve upon the already impressive fun factor.
Nonetheless, horrible peer-to-peer multiplayer hosting plagues the title. If a player drops or is kicked, the game will freeze, attempt to reconnect to a new host and all players to that host. If your network setup for whatever reason does not communicate well, that is a kick from the game and back to multiplayer menus. This is all too evident in Dominion and is a detrimental fault in the competitive duel and elimination modes. Foreseeing this error in the Open and Closed beta, more in the former, brewed a sense of doubt but a fair optimistic hope was maintained for the state of the multiplayer network. Without fail, it has not improved much more at all and pretty much invalidates the existence of the beta. This seems to be a current issue with new release Ubisoft titles within their first few weeks or months. Similar issues distressing Rainbow Six Siege and Watch Dogs 2 on their releases. In result, eSport and competitive game play will definitely be a concern if a network cannot be held and casual players are without a doubt going to become increasingly frustrated as they are kicked unwillingly from near wins.
Additionally, Ubisoft has implemented micro-transactions into the title. Purchase credits to unlock loot boxes and an XP boost rewards status named “Champion Status”. However, the major issue here is the game play effect. Loot boxes unlock specific pieces of armour that give players an advantage in specific areas, whether it is blocking or healing, for example. It is not purely an aesthetic, particularly in Dominion. This will evidently allow players with the cash to spend to open as many loot boxes as they wish until they receive the perfect combo of armour items for their specific character to dominate the field. Not a very consumer friendly practise. With time, new and casual players will stand no chance against seasoned players with upgraded and higher damaging armour and weapons. If matchmaking was functional, skilled and region limited matching would help negate some of this imbalance, however in For Honor’s current state, these limitations are often timed out for a global search to begin a game as efficiently as it can… which still is disappointingly long.
Ubisoft Montreal’s For Honor is a promising triple A release for the February release bracket and is undoubtedly an addicting, new experience. The energetic, intense multiplayer and single-player campaign, abundant with brutally vivid and detailed environments, animations, and characters throw players into the terribly terrific fantasy world of the three combating historically based factions. Nevertheless, feels a little too serious for its being and lacks an element of tremendous action “cheese” to really meet the perfect atmosphere. The title is plagued by an abundance of network issues which force upon players excessive load times, matchmaking, and disconnects. Similarly, the micro-transactions involved may exploit a higher skill barrier than intended and renders it difficult to learn and master for casual players. A title with so much right, but unfortunately torn down by its flaws.
For Honor is available now on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.
|Ubisoft Montreal’s For Honor is a promising triple A release for the February release bracket and is undoubtedly an addicting, new experience. Abundant with brutally vivid and detailed environments, animations, and characters. The title is plagued by an abundance of network issues which force upon players excessive load times, matchmaking, and disconnects. Similarly, the micro-transactions involved may exploit a higher skill barrier. A title with so much right, but unfortunately torn down by its flaws.||3.7 3.7 ( on 5 rating)|