Preview: For Honor’s 1v1 Duel mode
No button mashing allowed.
At Ubisoft for my third playthrough of For Honor, I have to admit I wasn’t keen at all. While the title is more than solid it’s been a case of more of the same for this previewer; that’s wholly because I’ve been fortuitous to have a crack at Dominion, its 4v4 mode, each and every time.
I longed for a change — and thankfully, For Honor’s 1v1 Duel mode delivered.
Things are flipped on their heads when NPCs and allies are removed from the equation altogether. In Dominion you can survive because of numbers – NPCs can distract enemies so you can deliver a crushing blow, or with fellow players, a 2v1 match usually means the overwhelmed falls quickly. In Duel, it’s all up to you.
I started on a treacherously narrow bridge, staring down at none other than Mr. Dark Souls himself: Jeremy ‘Junglist’ Ray. Make no bones about it – in a game that relies on blocking and parrying to patiently deliver a killing blow, I knew I was f*cked.
I held my own, watching my HUD like a hawk, matching Junglist’s stance and using the d-pad to swap when needed. I was patient in our first round of five matches – we needed all of them to setting the best of five nature of the mode, by the way – waiting for Ray to strike first before blocking the move and launching an attack of my own. While Ray was trying to parry, I delivered a shield block and then used my Samurai’s devastating two-light, one-heavy combo. I somehow managed to come out on top.
My celebrations ended there. It might have taken Junglist five matches to really understand For Honor’s mechanics, but when he did, he became a beast. His timing impeccable, he made short work of me in the matches that followed, eventually becoming confident enough to throw me off the bridge in one game, and into a flaming cart the next. I didn’t mind, though – training with such a skilled combatant was training me to become a better fighter myself.
The beautiful thing about it all is that those who played Duel actually gained skills that they took into Dominion, making that mode less about ganging up on the unaware and more about tactics and strategy. As VandenBerghe noted, it really did change the meta of the game, making me feel like an empowered warrior who’s more than happy for a fourth go as soon as possible.