Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release date: February 14th
ANY fan of a medieval battle setting will immediately fall in love with For Honor. The over the top shoulder hack-and-slash offers a game that both looks and feels like the situations we’ve seen in movies and storybooks as children, and offers character customisation that puts you right inside the action.
The game’s premise follows a cataclysmic event that has pitted different factions against each other in a battle for the world’s remaining resources. The player has the option of fighting as a Knight, Samurai or Viking in individual factions known as The Legion, The Chosen, and The Warborn. Each faction has their own backstory and playstyle told through individual single-player campaigns, so there’s a great sense of replay value from the get-go.
While the narrative may sound a bit basic to be worth investing in, it’s worth pointing out that the selling point of the game is its feel and presentation. The game’s sets are gorgeous constructions to just pan and observe. Throughout the campaign, there is minimal interruption via a small HUD, with on-screen hints only appearing as they need to for backstory interaction and enemy positions once located.
The ‘Art of Battle’ combat system creates a gameplay experience that is layered in a way that makes it both easy for people who want to just dive in and win some battles, but also allows for a fighting-game style of button-mashing mastery to create intricate combos and pull off some amazing manoeuvres. This is especially true when you enter the game’s duel mode, a one-on-one in-combat mini-game that forces you to choose your moves wisely and pay attention to your opponent (albeit with help from on-screen prompts) or be cut down.
Once you’ve finished experiencing the campaign, you can then put your expert skills to the test via the game’s multiplayer, which offers more of the same but with the ability to take your friends with you into battle. A caveat here, however; as is the case with most fighting-style games, there are an incredibly large amount of experts already roaming Ubisoft’s servers. You’ll be grinding for a while before increasing your rank.
Overall, it’s hard not to applaud Ubisoft for finally breaking the mould and creating something that’s not just another reskinned Assassin’s Creed. With a challenging multiplayer mode and plenty of unlockables (which can also be unlocked by spending money on virtual currency, but don’t be that guy), there’s a great sense of longevity attached to For Honor that will keep you coming back for more.