For Honor (PC) Review

By Athanasios 17.02.2017

Review for For Honor on PC

Ubisoft dared to do the impossible. Despite being one of the biggest developers/publishers in the business, it risked creating something that's not part of a franchise, and which is not based on anything, be it comic, movie, or whatever. Yes, while its front cover doesn't let it show, medieval melee brawler For Honor is something (gasp!) original. Sure, it's not a new genre or anything, and the themes it draws from have been used and reused to death, and yet the actual gameplay is nothing short of a breath of fresh air… And blood. Rivers of blood.

Medieval knights, Vikings, and samurai warriors have ended on the same age and place, and no one knows exactly why, but it doesn't matter. Apollyon, the story mode's arch-villainess (and narrator) is a pretty darn cool and badass lass that seems like she is more than meets the eye, yet, while she is not, it doesn't matter. The plot and cut-scenes are as enjoyable as they are shallow, the characters mysterious as they are one-dimensional, and despite the fantastic visuals, in terms of art style alone, this lacks the character that could separate it from the bunch… but it doesn't matter.

…It doesn't matter because For Honor knows perfectly well what it is. First of all, while the attention to detail is awesome, this never pretends to be a realistic look at war. Instead, it's an unabashed love letter to the medieval warfare nerd. Secondly, everything revolves around a simple, yet insanely deep melee battle system. The basic rules? Lock onto an enemy, and you can block in three different directions, with a flashing red cursor pointing out where the opponent is going to land a hit upon. Sounds easy, and, in many ways, it is, but there's more than that in here.

Screenshot for For Honor on PC

Apart from a nice variety of hard-to-master techniques that range from parrying and guard breaks, to evasions and feints, each of the three available factions has four hero units to choose from, which are basically the character classes, with each one having its own special pros and cons, so, for example, the Knights' Peacekeeper is a dual-wielding, fast but fragile rogue, the Viking Warlord can block in all directions, while the towering samurai Shugoki can withstand more damage, and use a pretty strong uninterruptible attack.

More importantly, For Honor is a game of skill, which requires from players to actually pay attention to both their enemy and their surroundings (nothing like throwing someone from a cliff), especially when playing on 'Realistic,' which disables the helpful UI cursors, forcing you to fix your eyes at the screen. Needless to say, however, that while there is a single player campaign available, this is all about the multiplayer, because, no matter how challenging (or cheap) the CPU can be, it cannot match the tension and mind power-struggle between two humans.

Screenshot for For Honor on PC

At the centre of the multiplayer lies the cross-platform Faction War, where one must choose a side amongst the three (with no restriction when it comes to hero units), and then select amongst a couple of gameplay modes to have some good ol' PvP fun. While not as strong as in the story mode, the warlike atmosphere this will provide is a sight to behold, making you feel as if you really are partaking in a true pre-gunpowder era battlefield. Of course, while the crowd control mechanics are pretty decent, the enjoyment is at its sharpest in one-versus-one duels.

Wait, though. Is duelling all there is to do? In all honesty, yes, and it's probably the biggest "flaw" at hand. Let it be said once more, though: the melee battle mechanics are fantastic. While there's not exactly much that one can do with any character, it's a system that can keep PvP fans glued to their gamepads for months, since it's one that has a reliance on pure skill that's almost unheard of for a multiplayer-focused product, something which also means that this is mainly a piece of software that caters to the hardcore crowd.

Screenshot for For Honor on PC

Now, while the lack of additional content might be the biggest flaw, it's certainly not the only one. In other words, say hello to lots of connectivity/matchmaking issues, a lame, over-complex menu and an even lamer storefront for all your micro-transaction therapy needs - although this just provides a way to skip the level-up process, or buy decorative items instead of "working" for them. Oh, and don't forget the glitches, stutters, and sound desynchronizations that lie here and there, although this is generally in a pretty decent state for a AAA title… and especially a Ubisoft-made one.

The two problems that should not exist in such a demanding fighter, however, are these: first, this seriously needs something more than a measly tutorial; something that would give helpful info to those willing to stay here a bit longer, be it simple things like damage and movesets, to intricate mechanics like stuns and guard breaks. Secondly, the Heroes are currently quite the unbalanced crew, with some having a clear benefit over the rest. Do these flaws ruin the experience as a whole? No, but waiting for a patch (or a price drop) before joining the fray would be a nice idea.

Yes, the end result is definitely not perfect, but it had surely made this lowly reviewer thirsty for a Greeks-versus-Babylonians-versus-Celts For Honor 2.

Screenshot for For Honor on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

There are lots of bad things that can be said for Ubisoft's newest idea, with the most annoying one being its poor single-player portion. For those looking for the best medieval-themed PvP melee fighting game, however, it just can't get any better than this. For Honor is not flawless, but it's the current King of the Hill.

Developer

Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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