For Honor Review
There is nothing like waking up to the feeling of cold steel at your throat. Instantly making you involuntarily moisten your leather girdle or yellow-rust your armor.
Fade from darkness. Your palms are sweaty and you breathing is heavy as you struggle to hold onto your Great sword. You can barely make out the edges of the enemy through the thick smoke and rubble as the main gates come crashing down at the mercy of the Battering Ram! 14 February 2017 welcomes you to a 1000 year long war, fought and sustained, with motivation that has faded into myth. Developed by Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment (Ubisoft Studio known for The Division), you catch a glimpse into their minds while the Intro Cinematic plays out. In the video you meet the Main Antagonist, a Female Knight, who you later learn is infact the Warlord of the Black Stone Legion, who is hell-bent on ruling and bringing the rest of the factions to ruin through mass culling.
Who will you Fight For?
As For Honor starts, you need to defend your Clan/Family or Faction’s Honor first(see what I did there?) by creating the Banner Emblem or more easily understood as the “Standard” that will be flying from your flags and fortresses during your journey in the game. After you are satisfied with your design skills, the next and second most important decision you need to make is… who will you fight for?
Having played the Closed Beta, I kind-of sort-of had an expectancy from the Full Release of For Honor. Just like in the Beta, you start off with a Tutorial, whether you like it or not. You are introduced to all the mechanics, including Defensive Stances, Dodging, Attacking and Executions (Finishing Moves). You then run through a demo skirmish, where you put all your theory knowledge into practical execution against the AI. You can opt to end the tutorial once you are confident that you know how to defend yourself and take down really heavily armored soldiers, at which point you are presented with the Main Menu.
From the Main Menu, you can choose to hop into Multiplayer Mode, Story Mode (Single Player) or explore the Social Sections and Purchase Steel Packs from the Store. Steel Packs start at R60.00 for 5000 Steel, and is the main in-game currency, that can be spent on Gear, Outfits, Upgrades and even Account Champion Status.
Tell me a Fable
Jumping into the Story Mode, your progress earns you Story Experience, which increases you Story Level which unlocks impressive Feats (Skills) that you use as “Buffs” in your Skirmishes. As for the Story, you start off as a Warden on the top of a Keep Wall, needing to defend against an attack from the Black Stone Legion, while you are part of the Iron Legion (Clan within a Faction). The aim of these raids by the Black Stone Legion, is to recruit all the independent Legions under one banner within Ashfeld, which is the name of the “Kingdom” so-to-say. The Story Mode is split into Three Chapters, with Chapter One Being about The Knights, Chapter Two being about The Vikings and lastly, Chapter Three covers The Samurai.
Each Chapter is divided into Tales (Episodes), as an Example, the Final Tale in the Knight Chapter is called “2.6 Wolves Among Sheep”, giving it a bit of a nostalgic look-and-feel leaning toward a Television Series about a Throne, which I liked a lot. What I liked even more was that every Tale within the Knight’s Chapter is voiced over by the Knight Warlord, Apollyon and during each Episode your avatar has conversations with either himself or other NPC’s to develop the story and uncover the truth. During each mission, you can gather Steel by breaking items and also have more story content revealed to you by finding and highlighting Story Shrine’s, all counting toward your Mission-End Performance Rating.
The transition between Chapter One and Two happens after the Black Stone Legion attempts to raid and slaughter the Svengard Vikings, but this proves to be an interesting challenge, because this Viking Storehouse is guarded by the Viking Champion, Gudmundr Branson, who is a very tough nut to crack. I will admit that even on Normal Difficulty, my fight against Gudmundr was difficult. I cannot imagine what Hard Mode or even Realistic Mode is like. While on the subject, each difficulty setting has an XP multiplier, with Normal set at X1.25, Hard at X1.50 and Realistic at X1.75. In Realistic Mode however, there is no Respawning at a Checkpoint and AI does not assist you in any battles! So. How big are your… “confidence levels?” This is where the Story Mode Co-Op is ideal. You can rope in a friend, and “Mission” on through the game fighting side by side, laying waste to the infidels in your path to Glory and Honor.
No Arrow(s) to the Knee
In Multiplayer Mode, each Game Type is represented by a slice of the main map, and each slice is split into multiple zones, and what you are ultimately fighting for, is full control of each zone for your faction (Knight, Viking or Samurai). On this screen you can also access your Hero Screen, where you can Customize your Loadout, Equip Gear, Scavenge New Gear, Consult your Moveset and even watch epic “How to Fight” videos for your chosen hero. When managing your gear, you can Equip, Upgrade, Dismantle and Salvage Gear to match your Playstyle, because each modification you make, sacrifices something to enable you to gain feat benefits elsewhere.
I mentioned Champion Status earlier, and this is applied to your “PvP-Swag” within the Community, granting you certain advantages such as, Extra Salvage Chance, +25% XP Boost (Personal), +10 XP Boost (Party) and then cosmetic bonuses like Icons and Emblems.
The Game Types are simple to understand, for example, 4v4 Dominion Mode has 4 Heroes per Team, all struggling to dominate the map by controlling three key zones on the battlefield. While doing this, you need to decide to either defend your troops and help them push forward or go wreck the enemy heroes until your team reaches 1000x Resource Points (Steel) first. At this point, the game enters Sudden Death. In this state of the game, when you kill the four enemy heroes, they do not respawn. Kill all four, and you win the match, however, there is a respawn “loophole”, where one “alive” hero is allowed to “revive” the slain heroes to keep the match going. This changes the dynamics of “Domination”, where reaching 1000x Resource Points no longer necessarily means that you win the match. To win, you and your Team need to be Strategic and execute Team Planning and Coordination to secure a win, because, if you are faced with the opposing team having a seriously skilled assassin or unbreakable warrior, your Pride could be your Fall.
You then get the Duel Mode (1v1), Battle Mode (2v2) and Events Mode. For each battle fought you gain XP based on your performance, and the system searches the battlefield for loot that could benefit you and rewards you based on your performance. For each win, you gain resources which add to your War Assets, which is a system by which you can passively assign aid to a zone within a section of the map, which assists you with faction dominance over the whole map combined. You also have Daily Orders (Daily Quests) and Contract Orders (Weekly Quests) that you select as your “goals” while playing and when achieved, reward you with more resources, that can be spent on upgrades and purchasing additional Heroes, of which, there is nine in total.
You are introduced to these nine Heroes in the Story Mode, and you practice their skill sets very thoroughly, which is where I will step in and recommend you play as much of the Story Mode as you can before you put your head on a PvP Chopping Block if you are not comfortable or familiar with the Game Mechanics. Overall, the controls were simple to learn, difficult to execute and even harder to master the timing required to break your enemy’s defense, counter attack and execute them. This is not a game flaw, it is a case of PEBCAC (Problem Exists between Controller and Console). The Story really gets you going, and the little tidbits you get during Skirmish Missions really convince you to seek out the Bonus Content.
The Sound and Graphics were very Detailed, Intensely Graphic (Rated 18 for Bloody Gore) and Melodic by nature, really creating the right tone for the “timeline” you find yourself in. As much fun as the Story Mode is, and understand me well, it is barrels of frustratingly annoying fun, the true strength in For Honor lies within the Multiplayer Mode, which depending on your devotion to your Faction, will determine whether your Faction wins each Season by controlling the most PvP Zones, again directly translating into you personally determining the longevity of this game. Servers are currently well populated on the Matchmaking System’s PvP selection, but the PvA (Player vs AI) selection is pretty much a ghost town. Reasonably priced, BT Games sells the PlayStation 4 Version and Xbox One Version for R899.00. If you want For Honor for Multiplayer Only reasons, I would give it at least until the first week of March before deciding to spend your money on it, however, if you want it for the unique Story Mode, it is safe to part with your money.
The content of this game is suitable for persons Aged 18 Years and over only! It Contains Extreme Violence!