For over 1000 years you have been locked into what has become an eternal war. Each side has unwittingly become the pawn of an evil deity. Her pleasure is your turmoil, your pain, your blood. Taking on the guise of either a Knight, Viking, or Samurai, you will attempt to unlock the machinations of this malevolent force. First, however, you will try and destroy the enemy in front of you, the other two factions. This is our For Honor review.
Over the past month we have had different levels of access to For Honor. Initially through the closed, and then the open beta. During these tests we were able to take part in various types of PvP. From 1v1 and 2v2 duels to 4v4 Dominion which pits teams of four against each other to capture three points on a map while waves of supporting soldiers ebb and flow on the battlefield much like lane creeps in a MOBA. This is a frantic fast paced form of PvP that requires you to route the enemy team at the end. That is you have to kill all of them before they can rally. This isn’t as easy as just reaching 1000 points to win the game.
During the campaign mode you will have the opportunity to see the story of how everyone was unwittingly pulled into this grand battle. Whether it is the Samurai, Viking, or Knight each have their origin story and you’ll explore all three before you reach the climax. Fortunately, it turns out the campaign is fun. You take on the role of a number of different heroes. These different points of perspective work together to tell one cohesive narrative across 18 chapters. It also acts to serve as a slight tutorial for most of the classes giving you exposure to hero types out of your comfort zone that you may not have picked. Unfortunately the campaign is short.
A short but sweet campaign
If you don’t have too much trouble with the bosses you could finish this in 6 to 8 hours. There are a number of difficulty settings and different points of interest to find known as observables. When you uncover them you’ll be exposed to more of the backstory from the narrator. So while the campaign is short these do help support replayability.
The eternal conflict is represented by a meta game of territory control. You won’t fight first hand for position on the map but you will by proxy. As you participate in PvP events you will be rewarded with war resources. You can then place these resources on the map in a section that you either want to reinforce or that you want to attack. Every few hours these areas are updated and you will either win or lose those spots along the border. Each meta campaign is broken up into 10 week seasons.
Each season has two week periods at the end of which awards will be given to all participants. The better your faction is doing the better your rewards will be. You can check the status of this war on the For Honor website. This gives me a real Dark Age of Camelot feel on how their realm herald would give status updates on the realm war. It’s a wonderful callback to a PvP game for the ages.
Well suited to the controller over Mouse and Keyboard
By default the game is controlled with mouse and keyboard on the PC but you can easily plug a controller in and use that. The mouse and keyboard control scheme can be a bit of a pain on your pinky when you are working with the defaults and try to hold down the lock-on button CTRL. The mouse also doesn’t seem very responsive when I want to block low to the right, or low to the left. It gets block up just fine but when I go down and to a direction it’s hit or miss it is going the correct way. Because of this I went with to an Xbox controller and generally preferred that to the mouse and keyboard except in one respect. While it was easier to move around your guard icon, it was harder to do a heavy attack.
If you held the heavy attack down, the camera would start panning which ever direction you were moving the right analog stick and I wouldn’t attack at all. Only tapping the button took a while to get used to. In fact it was almost enough to push me back to the mouse and keyboard. As a last ditch effort I tried a PS4 controller. This didn’t have the heavy attack floating camera issue. Problem solved.
The three different factions have corresponding classes but they aren’t so similar that they are in effect reskins of one another. Each of the factions has a heavy, assassin, vanguard, and hybrid hero type. Certain types are more effective against others but this isn’t rock, paper, scissors, and an assassin isn’t going to automatically kill a heavy. You will have a fighting chance.
Final For Honor Review Thoughts
For Honor is a gorgeous game filled with brutal combat. At times your armor will become red soaked in the blood of your enemies. PvP is fun and can be fast paced but at times you’ll be best served to slow it down and be more strategic. As an arena sword fighter For Honor does an admirable job but it falls short in supporting an epic campaign. Hopefully the eternal war meta game can keep the players satisfied for the long haul. It’s easy to see the novelty wearing off for a lot of players before the end of the first season.