Ubisoft Montreal’s latest release, For Honor, may be loud and violent, but the hack and slash title succeeds because of other reasons; the game’s combat mechanics are unique, multiplayer modes are varied, and its inclusion of female character models make it a progressive experience.
First revealed at Ubisoft’s E3 2015 press conference by eccentric game designer Jason VandenBerghe, the game’s concept of vikings, knights and samurais battling it out against each other struck many as inimitable. The difficult job of the developer is to live up to the hype their product has created, and Ubisoft Montreal’s latest effort does just that.
One of the game’s greatest strengths is its unmatched combat mechanics. The right stick is the central aspect to fighting, as it controls the orientation of the character’s weapon. When defending, players must correlate the direction of the joystick with the trajectory of an opponent’s swing. Likewise, the stick is used to determine which way the weapon will swing when attacking.
The controls are robust in nature, and pose a large learning curve. Fighting in For Honor is not an intuitive experience, but that’s what makes it an interesting play. Although there are combos and parrying techniques similar to other fighting games, it’s the unique directional emphasis that makes the game feel fresh.
The combat is not wasted, and there are a variety of different multiplayer modes. There are duels, which can be 1v1, 2v2, or 4v4, in addition to Dominion, a capture-the-area style mode. For Honor is built to service many types of players.
For those who enjoy calculated combat, the one-on-one duel may be the best option, but for well-rounded players, Dominion is likely the optimal choice. Because of its ability to successfully service multiple types of gamers, For Honor is breaking new ground in the industry.
The game is also one of the only titles with an emphasis on female inclusion. There aren’t just women in the game, they are an equal part of it. In fact, for every male character, there is a female loadout as well. There are no other big releases in recent time that have accomplished this feat.
While the look of a character doesn’t always change the integrity of a game, For Honor’s female skins add a respectable element. More games should take note of Ubisoft’s effort to progress the industry.
For Honor is not without its problems, and an unrefined campaign may be its biggest issue. While the alternate history theme feels like a fun battle royale in online multiplayer, the lack of story and character development makes the solo mode redundant. There are no notable personalities. There are no notable events. In fact, there is nothing notable about the mode at all. Thankfully, the unnecessary campaign does not hinder the impact of the game’s other elements.
For Honor may offer a familiar violent tone, however, its strengths are less superficial. The unique combat is robust and difficult. The multiplayer mode has variety. Additionally, the inclusion of female character loadouts is refreshing and tolerant. For Honor has all the right elements, making it a progressive experience.