Stevivor had the chance to check out For Honor at an Ubisoft event last night, spending around a half an hour of hands-on time with the new 4v4 multiplayer battle arena game.
Though the game’s reveal trailer showed off medieval, Samurai and Viking warriors, we spent our time with the medieval characters only. Able to fight as a male or a female, there were four preset customisation options we could go with for each character, though a nearby developer confirmed the game will provide the option for unique customisation at launch.
A handy tutorial introduced the game’s mechanics in a straightforward way. Armed with a sword, your character is able to use light and heavy attacks against enemies from three main stances: left-, right- and top-facing positions. To protect from attacks, you need to go en garde, able to alter your stance just as you can when attacking.
You can probably figure out how a one-on-one confrontation works. If your enemy is in a left-facing attacking stance, you’ll need to pull the controller’s left trigger to guard, and flick the right stick to the right to match your enemy. When holding down the guard trigger, holding the right stick in a direction isn’t necessary; you only need to flick in a desired direction to change your stance.
If your opponent is blocking to the left and you use the right trigger or bumper to deliver an attack in a top-facing stance, you’ll do damage – simple as that. It’s like medieval rock, paper, scissors.
From there, it gets a bit more complicated – if you’re facing an opponent who’s managing to block all of your attacks, you can hit the Square button (we played on PS4) to do a block break, giving you the opportunity to follow up with an attack. The break also can be used to push enemies off ledges if you can catch them off-guard; a simple double-tap will send them falling to their doom. The X button works as a roll when you’re not using guard, and a side-step when you are.
The game mode we were placed in was a cross between a traditional Hardpoint match and the craziness of a MOBA. Our team of four spawned on one side of a map, and our opponents on another. Three points were scattered on the medieval map, ripe for the taking. After a countdown, our human-controlled players charged onto the battlefield with around 50 or 60 computer-controlled warriors. It was exhilarating to charge as a unit.
Three zones, one massive lane – it’s hard not to compare For Honor to something resembling a MOBA, but I wouldn’t. I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but in the time I spent with Ubisoft’s new title, I was keen to play more. Teamwork is essential; our group of four found it best to split into groups of two and work together to capture zones. The minute we went lone wolf was the minute our opposing team took advantage of that fact and went in for a relatively easy kill.
If you’re away from human-controlled players, For Honor is about laying waste to the NPCs, almost Dynasty Warriors-style. The NPCs don’t really put up much of a fight, and exist to be slaughtered for points. In the mode we were playing, the first team to 1000 points would win… providing they took control of all points, and in doing so, finished off the other team as total control would prevent respawns after death.
It’s great fun to throw your sword around like a scythe against NPCs… but if you’re not careful, a human-controlled enemy can sneak up and get a bunch of easy hits in. One-on-one, I image combat will eventually turn very strategic – slow, controlled movements, careful blocking and parrying and the like – but as we were all new to the game and its concepts, those encounters (and any other number of group encounters) really turned into button mashing. Light attack, light attack, dodge… and hope for the best.
For every human-controlled opponent you kill without dying yourself, you’ll gain Feat points. Those points can be used to rally your friendly NPCs around you — so they actually become a threat – or heal yourself. Build up enough of a kill-streak and you can access to a cannon strike. If you can line up the shot, it’s quite easy to take out several human-controlled opponents who are trying to secure a hardpoint.
For Honor is a fun little title that has the potential to be a great deal of fun. With easy controls, the game is relatively easy to learn, yet has the capacity to get very technical for serious types. I easily can see players getting together to play this more like the style of God of War, or others playing this more like Dark Souls.
This is one to keep your eye on, especially with so little known revealed at this time. I’d love to see a campaign available in addition to the multiplayer co-op; from the game’s reveal trailer, it’d be great fun to discover a story that runs through generations of sword-wielding fighters.