What happens when ancient worlds collide? Ubisoft might have the answer.
A new IP in the Ubisoft catalog has been in the works for some time. The game? For Honor. I’ve had the pleasure of playing the beta with Jennifer here recently, and I have to say that I see promise.
Ubisoft created a universe where somehow Knights, Vikings, and Samurais have been ripped from their respective environments and founds themselves locked in an eternal battle for survival against each other for basic resources. The opening cinematic hints at a villain behind the scenes that is orchestrating the constant war, but time will tell if this is something that actually gets answered. It definitely has a bit of an Assassin’s Creed vibe to it; the twisting of the past to include science fiction and fantasy elements, but it gave me a good feeling to see something new being presented.
Battle takes the form of martial combat, but is actually remarkably simple. Players can attack by locking on to other enemy heroes, or by attacking in a general direction; each of which has their benefits.
Attacking while locked onto another hero gives the benefit of being able to defend against attacks from the opponent, but leaves you open to attack from other sources such as bots or other players. Combat progresses rather slowly in this mode, as each hero locks eyes and fights. The benefit to this is that it gives the player the ability to choose left, right, or high stance; matching stance with an opponent prevents the attacker from connecting (usually), while swinging at an opponent who isn’t matching stances results in landing a blow.
Alternatively, players can just swing away at their enemies, but it leaves them open for any attacks.
Then there’s the nuances of learning the use of light and heavy attacks, grappling, and combos. All of this comes together to give For Honor some wonderfully varied, yet deliberate combat. Fights are relatively slow-paced, focusing on making players think tactically and watch their opponents closely. Individual duels can last a while if players are evenly matched, but it can be easy to find yourself on the losing end with a single mistake.
Oh but it is glorious…
Perhaps just as important to the game as the gameplay is the fact that there are already a wide range of large maps to play in, all of which have styles that reflect the settings that the Knights, Vikings, or Samurais come from. That’s before even mentioning the different variants of each of those maps as well, and your ability to fill the game with bots to fight against as well.
The Dark Side
There are a number of things that make me very hesitant about this title however. First and foremost is that the beta gave no indication of a single-player campaign, and considering that it will require an online connection to play it, it may be more like Rainbow Six Siege than I’d like.
To clarify, For Honor looks like Rainbow Six Siege with swords instead of guns. Both are beautiful and bombastic games that really showcase the potential of multiplayer, but Rainbow Six Siege left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth when I realized that Ubisoft had cut back single-player to be a series of scenarios that pitted the player against a sea of AI controlled enemies with no backup in a multiplayer map, which goes pretty heavily against what Rainbow Six has been about since its beginning as a franchise.
For Honor appears to be following in those footstep. Unfortunately, the downplaying of single-player isn’t the only thing that For Honor has in common with Rainbow Six Siege. It’s fairly obvious that Ubisoft is setting For Honor up to make use of a microtransaction economy, complete with a store and power leveling powerup. Granted, this may change in the future, but I’m skeptical to say the least. I’d happily retract my criticism if it turns out that I’m wrong.
Only Time Will Tell
It’s a little too early for me to pass judgment on For Honor, but I can definitely say that it has the potential to be something really good. The gameplay is solid, even if it is a little arcane to figure out, but I think that has much to do with the fact that it’s a new concept to me. I’m a little cautious because I tend to favor single-player games as well, and with it looking a lot like Rainbow Six Siege, it’s going to be a hard sell to me.
It really comes down to what Ubisoft has up their sleeve for For Honor. There needs to be more on offer than three game modes and a paltry, rumored single-player offering.
It’s just so satisfying to decapitate people with a longsword though…
Have you had the chance to play the beta? Have any more specific questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments below (hehe, that rhymes).
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