On the surface, For Honor is a fun multiplayer-focus melee combat game. However, give it more time and you will uncover many of the deep facets at play here revealing a surprisingly deep fighting game that is incredibly hard to put down. While the single-player may not live up to expectations, the multiplayer far exceeds anything you may be expecting.
In For Honor, you choose between three Factions: Knights, Vikings, and Samurai. Each of them have their own set of classes with unique abilities but they can all fall into one of a subset of each other be it attack, defence, speed, or tank. It’s not just reskins of the same four archetypes however as every class feels different and offers something different to each battle meaning you won’t be going up against one of four classes; Rather, each characters brings with it a whole different approach, even depending on which class you choose causing an incredibly deep and rewarding combat system that can feel both frantic and methodical.
The most unique mechanic of For Honor is the three stances you can choose between. This essentially the crux of most battles, reading the position of your enemy, choosing to be defensive or offensive and knowing when to strike. Every 1V1 is intense and rewarding if you win. When an enemy is about to strike, the direction of the swing is highlighted in a red arrow. This gives you the smallest of margins to readjust your stance to block. However, the longer you play and read different classes you can see the body shift and you can prepare the little bit early which can be crucial as it gives you time to plan your move.
The game isn’t just one-strike battles, different classes have multiple combos that are effective in very different ways. Trying to connect with a combo is risky as one well blocked or dodged strike could leave you open to a flurry of attacks. Land with them however and it can be devastating.
Multiplayer is where you are most likely to spend most of your time. This doesn’t mean the single-player campaign should be overlooked, just don’t expect anything with a compelling narrative or epic set pieces. The single-player acts more like a tutorial, teaching you the multiple classes in the different factions as well as the modes on offer in the multiplayer. It lasts a few hours and despite it being fairly underwhelming, you do learn some essential skills to take to the real battlefield online.
Multiplayer offers variety of modes that all attribute to a map system that sees you select a faction and every match you play it goes towards the push to take over more territories. The faction with the most territories after a certain number of days wins rewards. It’s a neat little incentive to keep you fighting for your squad and not just levelling yourself up.
Every match can also be played against AI opponents so if you do need feel like playing against other players or you just want to try out some new classes without feeling the pressure of battling real players, this offers a great alternative but don’t expect it to be easy. The A.I. combatants are tough, know how to play but don’t feel overly rough. It’s a nice challenge to try some new things. It also contributes to the territory metagame which is a nice plus.
Visually, For Honor is a rather spectacular looking game. Each map feels incredibly detailed and even when action really ramps up with explosions and dozens of A.I. on the screen, the experience feels silky smooth. Even the detail on the armour and weapons is impression and adds a great layer of atmosphere to the whole experience.
For Honor should not be played for its single-player content which isn’t written or performed very well but acts as decent primer. The multiplayer however unfolds in fantastic ways to always reveal more leading to not only one of the most thrilling multiplayers out there but one of the deepest too. You will easily spend dozens of hours with one character and then move onto the next and feel completely fresh again. Following the excellent support Rainbow Six Siege has received from Ubisoft, I’m incredibly excited for the future of For Honor.