If, like me, you like to take advantage of Playstation Plus’ free monthly giveaways, you may have been a little bit excited to see this months offering: For Honour.
Set during medieval times, For Honour is a fighting game which focus’s on three different factions: Knights, Samurais and Vikings, and there are several characters available within in each faction. If you go into the game thinking that you might be playing an action adventure game, then you may be a little bit disappointed as it seems that the game focuses largely on the fighting mechanics, but don’t be too disheartened as this is where the game really begins to shine.
In truth, the game features some of the most creative melee combat that I’ve witnessed in a game. However, it does take a bit of getting used to from the start. Luckily, immediately after downloading the game, we’re thrust into a tutorial which takes us through the different fighting techniques such as your stance, defending against oncoming attacks, launching attacks of your own, throwing and also controlling your stamina.
At first, I thought I could just rush through the tutorial and get myself straight into some sword-wielding action but, after being hacked down and failing a few times, I decided that the best course of action was to work my way through it in order to get as good as I can and this is something that I strongly recommend all new players do.
As it is a fighting game, it’s understandable that most of the merit of For Honour is found within its multiplayer mode. There is a single player mode, but the campaign lasts around the 5-hour mark and there is very little in the way of character development and the actual storyline is somewhat lacking.
Instead, the story serves more of an experiment, whereby you get the opportunity to try out the different heroes and fight against different types of enemies.
FOR HONOUR: THE HEROES
For Honour doesn’t really have any stand out iconic characters that you will discover throughout the game, nor does it really provide you with a hero that you can use and stay with throughout the solo campaign.
Instead, it leads you through the three different factions. Each faction has four different fighters: A standard warrior (Vanguard), a fast, yet vulnerable, attacker (Assassin), a slow, yet powerful, fighter (Heavy) and then a sort of hybrid of the different classes. Two of the classes can also be played as male or female and then the other two are a female only and a male only class.
This gives the game a bit more gender distinction and it was a nice touch which I noticed as it does try and include everyone.
The different heroes from each faction all play differently as well. The Conquerer (the Knights version of a Heavy) has no real parry and attack move, but his block will thwart a series of chained attacks. The Heavy from the Viking faction boasts a large sword which makes him a better choice if your gameplay focuses on counter-attacking.
If you’re a purely counter-attacking player, however, then I would suggest that the Samurai’s Orachi is the best character assuming that you’ve got your dodging down to a T. This is because it takes a lot of concentration and discipline to keep his guard up.
These different attributes are important as it provides a genuine reason to give all of the different factions and characters a try and see which one suits your fighting style better. This also means that the different characters are not rehashes of each other wearing a different costume which gives no advantages over choosing one faction over the other.
It also puts an added emphasis on testing each character out fully to see which character suits you better and this can help in the long run as it provides you with a go-to character when it comes to online play. For me, I chose the assassin as the quick and nimble style with a variety of fast and attacking moves was better suited for my style.
FOR HONOUR: THE COMBAT
What makes this game different from other fighting games is that, in order to really nail down the combat, you must first have a really good, active defence.
The game doesn’t have a free-flowing motion when it comes to fighting and, instead, attacks are focused in one of three positions: overhead, to the left or to the right. The blocking is done in the same way which means that if you see someone trying to attack you from the right, you should move your block to the right.
It sounds simple, but this is where I struggled.
There is an icon indicating where the attack is coming from, but I found it difficult to judge that direct and it resulted in me receiving a lot of blows. There were also times where I got the direction right but still took damage, almost as though they changed direction at the last second or my block was ineffective.
Likewise, I found attacking the computer wasn’t as straight forward as choosing an angle to attack from and then going for it, as the computer would read this and block the majority of the time and then trying to. change the angle felt a bit awkward.
This does make for more emphasis on getting the guard right though as you can launch multiple strike attacks and, if you’re not defending, you’ll find yourself low on health and stamina very quick. A number of times I tried to abandon the defence and try and trade blow for blow or kill the opponent in a flurry of fast strikes, but I often found myself on the receiving end of a beheading.
It also means that you need to spend some time finding out what unblockable moves your character offers and when to use these moves for maximum success. It’s also important to know the characters as well so that you know how to effectively dodge or block when the red icon is displayed.
FOR HONOUR: ONLINE
The game features a number of online game modes which are designed to try and get you to focus on different fighting styles and tactics but this makes the game feel more like a popular shooter than a fighting game. Objectives essentially break into a “kill-as-many-as-you-can” model and then usually opens the door for a victory in that specific mode.
Domination is one game mode that I enjoyed. The capture and control variant whereby you have to capture and hold different objectives encourages great battles where both your team and the enemy pushes to gain advantage over the different areas.
In one domination game, I was controlling capture point A from single, on-coming enemies right up until their team decided to launch a large final assault on me and I was overwhelmed and killed.
This spurred me to rally the team and launch a final assault on point A and it lead to an all-out brawl for one capture point.
The 4v4 modes against humans and AI characters were less fun. Essentially, you have a set number of revives and the idea is to eliminate the enemy revives. Where the game mode struggles is that I found the team who gets the first kill often goes on to win as there is a time limit before you can revive which means that 4v4 becomes 4v3 and then 4v2 very quick.
The game tries to settle this by having “Revenge” whereby your character enters an enhanced state and deals more damage and has a better defence. The downside is that to get revenge you must first fill up a meter and in order to fill it, you need to block attacks. This means that you need to be. god at. your defence and not be disciplined and not start throwing attacks left right and centre.
Revenge does come with an alternative as well: “Execution. This becomes available when you land a killing blow via a heavy strike. When you. do this, you get the option of pressing square or triangle and you will execute your opponent in a rather gruesome way (such as removing their head) and this will result in a longer spawn time and those who have been executed can’t be revived.
The game kind of forces you to make executions as well as it gives you more renown and XP and it delivers the boosts which will enable you to improve the quality of your fighter as they begin to level up quicker.
FOR HONOUR: REWARDS
I found For Honour kind of cheap when it came to rewarding players for winning standard matches. Instead, the game focuses on completing “orders” which are essentially goals which you can choose from and they come from either daily or long-term targets.
These orders tend to give you bigger rewards in terms of XP and steel (the in-game currency) and, with the steel, you can unlock customisation options, characters and other perks.
Typically, an order will involve completing two matches of a particular mode and you will receive around 1,000 XP plus some currency.
What can be discouraging is finding a game mode you enjoy and then starting to focus solely on this, as once it’s been rinsed and repeated a few times, it won’t really help improve your character.
Also, if you’re thinking about dropping some of your real coins to purchase steel, hold your horses.
By doing this you’re only making cosmetic items available. If you want to add feats to your characters, it’s done through experience which is why it’s important to be a committed player and be constantly scanning and completing orders.
FOR HONOUR: OVERVIEW
I’ve used the Playstation Plus service since it was released and I’ve downloaded a number of games which I’ve promptly deleted after one play. The service is good but the options of games has been somewhat limited, in my. opinion.
For Honour has actually delivered a game that I’ve kept and invested a number of hours in.
The game is well-made. It’s tough to master but it’s honest in. what the expectations are. In my defeats, I knew why I lost and this led to one excuse – I needed to train more.
If you want the. game, you have to put the hours in to practice with the different characters and learn the basic mechanics until they become second nature otherwise you will find yourself on the receiving end of a beat down more times that you’ll care to remember.
The short story mode means that single player is kind of mute and it’s not really worth re-visiting once you’ve completed it which means that the real game begins when you step into the multiplayer arena. For this reason, it can become frustrating when you’re fighting against experienced fighters who understand the blocking and counter-attacking mentality of the game.
Once you’ve nailed it though, the game is enjoyable, although I wouldn’t consider it a game that I will invest many hours in a night. It’s good for a few battles, clear your objectives and then move on to something else.
That being said, the game deserves praise for the fighting mechanics which I did really enjoy and consider some of the best – you’ll love the mechanics if you’re a fan of games such as Assassins Creed