For Honor Preview
Ubisoft’s new melee combat game, For Honor, had an Alpha test this weekend for the lucky few who were invited. It included three maps, six classes, and three modes of brutal medieval warfare, giving us a chance to try before we buy when it releases in February 2017. It was a lot of fun, but can this new IP stand apart from the competition?
While similar in premise to titles like Mount & Blade or Chivalry, For Honor gives players something a little different when it comes to melee combat. Instead of free-form hacking and slashing, players are given a sort of rock paper scissors system coupled with move-sets and feats. The developers have done a great job of creating something that is easy to learn but difficult to master, and it’s incredibly satisfying.
When you face off against an opponent, you can lock-on and move the right thumbstick up, left, or right to choose your angle of attack/defense. You can then choose to either perform a light or heavy attack, stringing button combinations together to bust out deadly combos that vary from class to class. At first glance, this can feel a tad simple but I assure you this is not the case.
“A more experienced player can quickly put down and execute those who play recklessly.”
Once you get a feel for the combat, you’ll notice a great sense of depth and strategy. Aside from just attacking and blocking, you can dash side to side or back and forth to dodge and counter-attack. There is also a guard break and counter-guard break which will leave your opponent open for a quick strike. Due to a stamina system, you have to stop and think about how you’re going to attack each class before you wade into the fight swinging senselessly. A more experienced player can quickly put down and execute those who play recklessly. This game promotes skill, not luck, and in a competition that’s exactly what you should be looking for.
Unfortunately, one of the few things For Honor seems to suffer from so far that takes away from the competitive nature is the peer to peer server connections. Maybe they have plans for dedicated servers, but at least in the Alpha this was not the case. As of now, expect to suffer dropped or interrupted matches due to players rage quitting or simply disconnecting because of whatever life may throw their way.
When the matches were stable, we got a chance to try out two classes from each of the factions. They all felt relatively balanced, though the Orochi can be tough to face off against if you’re not careful. There are three modes: Duel, Brawl, and Dominion. Duel is a 1v1 best of five fight. Pretty straightforward and a great way to learn each class. Brawl is a bit different being 2v2, with yourself and your teammate each facing off against a separate opponent. If you kill your enemy first, you can rush over to help your teammate or finish of the other opponent.
Dominion is where things get really interesting. It’s a 4v4 twist on a classic 3-zone control mode. Each map has a central battle taking place with minion fighters battling for B, while A and C have to be taken alone. Once a team reaches 1000 points, the opposing team can’t revive until they rally by killing opponents or taking points. Kill all four opponents while they can’t come back, and you win.
So far, all three modes are a lot of fun, though I had the best time in Dominion. It does have some flaws, such as what seemed to be the current meta of roaming as a four man gank squad, punishing solo-players. Fighting in a 2v1 is hard enough, let alone a 3 or 4v1. At times it felt like the scoring needed to be revamped a little bit too, as you don’t get a lot of points for player kills unless you go on a decent kill streak. Thankfully there is plenty of time to balance this out, and I actually have faith that the developers will take feedback to heart.
For Honor has a ton of potential to captivate a wide audience, especially since there’s apparently going to be a full campaign at launch as well. This isn’t just another purely multiplayer experience. Only time will tell if they can work out the few quirks present, but so far things seem promising.
We’ll be sure to cover any future Alpha or Beta events, so stay tuned to Cogconnected for more For Honor insight. In the meantime, let’s just hope this isn’t another flop on release from Ubisoft.