Ubisoft’s For Honor is a game that’s had me seriously hyped since I first heard about it way back in 2015. I’ve had a chance to hop into some of the closed testing phases, and now I’ve put a few hours into the open beta since it opened up on Feb 10th. So, is it worth your hard-earned cash? Maybe! Let’s take a look.
First, let’s talk about the negatives so we can get them out of the way right from the start.
The biggest drawback I’ve found so far has to be the p2p-based servers. This means that a “host” is automatically picked from the players in a session and if that host leaves it disrupts gameplay as a new host is picked and everything is transferred. I have absolutely no clue why they don’t have dedicated servers for a game like this, but that’s a huge flaw right now. Maybe it’s more of an issue because there are ~70,000 people trying to play all at once through Steam alone, but it’s pretty bad either way.
Some of the Hero’s skill balancing is something I’m a little put off by, some are very OP while others are very underpowered. Some skills, like the Peacekeeper’s poison, do way too much damage imo, if you don’t know how to counter the attack you’ll end up with almost half of your health basically gone.. It’s made for a lot of meta abuse with tons of people essentially spamming that specific attack. That said, I have absolutely no doubt that balance issues like that will be fixed sooner than later.
Steam reviews… ohh, the Steam reviews.. The FH open beta has received very mixed reviews through Steam which is completely understandable as this particular game isn’t going to be for everyone. That said, a lot of the reviews seem to be from people who are just bad at the game which has resulted in “rage reviews”. Meaning, a good portion of those negatives reviewers likely got their arse handed to them and decided to rant about how they really feel. Some of the reviews bring up legit points like the p2p servers and other annoying Ubisoft-esque server issues for sure, but only a small percentage.
With the bad stuff out of the way, let’s talk about what makes For Honor a decent game.
The last thing I talked about in the negatives were the Steam reviews focusing on the combat system which Ubisoft has dubbed “The Art of Battle”. Personally, I’m a big fan of this system as it’s complex yet very simple once you figure it out. I’m not going to go right into all of the fine details, but basically when you enter into the “Art of Battle” you’re going to be fighting another “Hero”. This fighting system gives you three directional “stance” options which work as directing your blocks as well as your attacks. Within that, there are multiple combos to pull off and lots of different attacks and skills you can take advantage of.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to the combat system, especially when jumping between the different heroes, but once you get an idea of what you’re doing it becomes a lot of fun. When you’re fighting someone else of the same skill level, the fights can actually be very fluid and exciting.
The character, aka Hero selection is looking pretty good, although we haven’t seen 3 of the launch characters yet, the 9 that we have seen are definitely decent. Each Hero plays very differently and they all cater to different playstyles. From heavily armored flail-wielding Crusaders to lightly armored ax flailing Berserkers, they all have different strategies to use and use against if you want to do well. Personally, I love the diversity and getting destroyed as people are getting better and developing new strategies for their favorite Hero.
If you’re a fan of good looking games, For Honor is definitely one of those. Both the graphics and animations are on point, especially on the Extreme graphics preset. The optimization is also great and a 6GB GTX 1060 won’t have any issues getting 60fps on Extreme settings in 1080p.
So far I’m a fan of the different game modes that are available, with the 4v4 Dominion mode probably being my favorite. Dominion is set up like your typical capture the point, but with AI-controlled mobs fighting for the middle zone. There’s also 1v1, 2v2 duel modes which are lots of fun when you’re not getting completely destroyed. There’s also a 4v4 elimination deathmatch that’s more arcadey with different boosters for attack strength, extra armor, and health placed around the map.
For Honor isn’t a game that everyone’s going to love, but people who like the combat systems found in games like Chivalry or even Mount & Blade will more than likely enjoy what FH has to offer. Even if you’re just a fan of fighting games in general, the 1v1 and 2v2 brawl modes in FH are tons of fun and take a lot of strategy to really do well and overcome the meta abuse.
I’m willing to give Ubi & For Honor a break regarding most of the online issues as there’s just an insane amount of people playing right now. It was similar in the betas for The Division and Rainbow 6: Siege, but everything improved post-launch (as far as server performance goes).
If you’re on the fence, you should definitely get in on the open beta while it’s still active – that way you can try for free and see for yourself!