For Honor Review - Good To Play in 2020?

For Honor Review
A Jormungandr introduces a Centurion to their hammer

For Honor has been an on and off obsession for me during its 2 years of life.

There is something so visceral and satisfying about the gameplay yet every month or so I feel terribly burnt out after so many levels ground and enemies dismembered. I want to say that this game is fun and that more people should buy it but at the same time, I cannot, in good conscience, completely recommend this game.

This review of the game will be looking at everything For Honor does right but at the same time, it will be very critical of the things it does wrong. Also, be aware that all of these opinions and observations will be coming from a veteran of the game. I have over a thousand hours of game time and a reputation level of close to 200. 

About For Honor

For Honor is a third-person action and fighting game. It allows players to become warriors from four of the most iconic warrior cultures throughout history: Knights, Vikings, Samurai, and Chinese Warriors. The players will join one of the factions and fight as one of the many heroes available in the game, each with their own unique fighting style, weapons, and armor. The game features a Story Mode and a multiplayer mode, which is the general focus of the game.

For Honor began development in 2012 and is Ubisoft’s first attempt at making a third-person fighting game. The game was released on February 14, 2017. It was published and developed by Ubisoft. The game was initially received well by the general public. It was the best selling game of February of that year and apparently sold over 700,000 copies in that month alone. However, it was not long before the community noticed that many heroes and play styles were extremely overpowered or cheap. This caused a big upset and a great loss in the player base that the game has never truly recovered from. The game is not nearly as popular as some of the bigger names in multiplayer games such as Rainbow Six: Siege, only raking in about 3,000 average daily players according to Steam Charts. This is a lot better than it has done in the past to be sure, as the game went from about 30,000 average daily players down to only about 1,500 during the first year of its release. 

For Honor’s Story

The three vanguard heroes prepare for battle as Apollyon looms in the background

For Honor follows the three main factions (Knights, Vikings, and Samurai) as they are thrust into an all-out war by the evil warlord known as Apollyon. The story mode of For Honor is nothing revolutionary, it will not make you question the meaning of life or want to read more about intersectional politics but it is quite exciting. The cast of For Honor does a good job voicing their characters, Apollyon’s voice actor, in particular, does an excellent job at making the female harbinger of war feel like an extremely menacing and skilled warrior. It’s interesting to watch as each of the three factions deals with Apollyon’s crimes and how they each turn on each other in a fight for survival and dominance. The story of For Honor also features a lot of little bits of lore sprinkled throughout the various levels in story mode via collectibles that tell stories about the different heroes in the game, these help keep your interest piqued about your favorite heroes.

Let there be a word of warning about the story mode though. Story mode does not get updated like the multiplayer mode does. You will not be able to play as any of the DLC heroes in this mode. Also, all of the heroes in the story mode have not been updated to their current reworked versions that is in the multiplayer modes.

For Honor’s Gameplay

A Warden lets a catapult loose on the battlefield

For Honor’s gameplay centers around a system, Ubisoft has developed known as The Art of Battle. You have three directions you can attack and guard against and each hero has a multitude of different offensive and defensive options. One of the best aspects of For Honor’s gameplay is the freedom of expression when it comes to your favorite hero. While you cannot create your own hero, you can pick one of the amazing looking ones Ubisoft has made and customize them yourself. You are able to put emblems, embossings, and paint patterns on most parts of your hero’s body as well as apply unique paint jobs. Different weapons and armor are unlocked as you level up that specific hero. For Honor features four different classes: Vanguard, Heavy, Assassin, and Hybrid. But there are actually 26 unique playable heroes. In terms of activities, players can engage in a multitude of different game modes ranging from larger 4v4 modes such as breach, dominion, deathmatch, skirmish, and tribute. It is also important to note that in 4v4 game modes feats are allowed. These feats are unlocked by getting renown from kills and playing the objective within a round of whatever game mode you are playing. There are also modes for 1v1 duels and a 2v2 mode. Also, with the Marching Fire expansion pass, players gain access to the exclusive Arcade mode. 

The maps of For Honor take place in various areas around the game’s world and there are many different environments you will fight in. These include snowy Viking villages, sunny forests that cover old Knight cathedrals, and Samurai castles hidden deep within the rainy jungles. Each of these maps is populated with little details and is expertly made. 

As you experience all of these locations in the story mode you will come across a few cool NPC characters. The most notable of them being the main villain, Apollyon. However, there are other notable characters, like the fan favorites Hervis Daubeny, Holden Cross, and Stigandr. These characters help to add humor and likeability to the game’s factions. 

The areas of the game that really need improvement are, and always will be, the heroes and the Art of Battle system. This is a fighting game, after all, the balance and meta of the game will change with each and every patch or each addition of a new hero. This is Ubisoft’s first dive into the fighting game genre, the game might not have the most thought into it like other fighting games, but after two years I would say the game is in a pretty good spot. Other than that, new customization options would be welcome as I feel that hero customization has sort of stopped being interesting. There is only so much you can do with the same armor sets over and over again. 

For Honor is an extremely replayable game. No match will be the same as the last, you will always have a unique experience in every match you play. You might absolutely trash the enemy team one round, then get crushed by a new team the next match. You might have an epic last stand against the whole enemy team or beat the daylights out of the last surviving member of the enemy team with your friends. The fight system and heroes are so unique that it is difficult to predict how anyone match will go. Also, with all of the heroes that are in the game, it will take a very long time to unlock every weapon and armor set. I have over a thousand hours in the game and I still have not unlocked everything for every hero. 

For a great example of For Honor’s gameplay, you can check out this video where TheRadBrad plays through part of the Knight’s chapter of the story mode.

 

For Honor’s Combat

    For Honor has without a doubt some of the best and most visceral combat of any medieval game I have ever experienced. The sound design and animation are nothing short of excellent, every hero’s weapon has a unique sound and feel to it and no hero truly feels like another. Each hero also has unique voice lines to give them a truly unique character. On top of that, the combat system is very easy to get into but hard to master, much like any good fighting game. For the most part its straight forward, you lock onto your target by holding the lock-on button and you then have two basic attacks: a light attack and a heavy attack. You can attack and guard from three directions: top, left, and right. You can also parry attacks by pressing the heavy attack button when a red indicator flashes. A parry allows you to follow up with an attack and go on the offense. Heroes can also dodge in just about any direction and can dodge roll by pressing the dodge button twice. 

Of course, this is only the beginning of this system as there are a lot of different moves each hero has besides a heavy and light attack. For instance, the vanguard hero known as the Warden has a shoulder bash move to open up opponents or the heavy hero known as The Black Prior who can counter any attack in the game with his Bulwark Stance. Each hero is uniquely built with a certain tool or gimmick to make them special. 

Speaking of heroes, we haven’t talked about the progression system yet. Each individual hero can be leveled up to level 20. Along the way, you will unlock new feats to help them in 4v4 game modes, but more importantly, leveling up past 20 causes that hero to go up a level in Reputation. Increasing a hero’s reputation score allows them to get higher level gear. Higher-level gear not only looks amazing but also comes with points towards a certain perk on it. These perks range from anything like increased movement speed to more health. The highest level of perks and gear are unlocked once your character reaches reputation level 7. However, reputation level 7 is not the max level, it is 70.

The hero’s of the game also have access to things called feats in 4v4 game modes. Feats are abilities that are unlocked as you play through a round and can range from anything to a stamina boost to a map-wide attack buff for your teammates. Each hero has a unique set of feats that allow them to mix things up and adapt to many situations.

The combat system is not all roses, sadly. I find that the game’s combat system shines the brightest in 1v1 situations and shows its flaws during 4v4 modes. What I mean is that the Art of Battle system was intended for 1v1 situations and not group fights. Group fights are a part of For Honor that are extremely chaotic and can sometimes be over in a matter of seconds due to the amount of attacks that are being thrown out. That’s not to say there’s not strategy, swinging wildly at an opponent with your friends will fill their revenge meter, a tool that gives you a health shield and makes you uninterruptible when you activate it. You may find that in higher-level 4v4 lobbies that people will run team compositions that will spell your death if you are outnumbered. 

Here’s a video explaining the fundamentals of For Honor’s fight system

For Honor’s Graphics

The graphics in this game are amazing. The environments, armor, weapons, and general hero designs all look great. It still holds up very well despite being two years old, mostly because of developer updates to the graphics and lighting system. The game also sports some excellent animations. Each hero has brutal and stylish execution moves that were created using motion capture technology to add an extra feeling of realism. Admittedly, if you’re looking for a realistic medieval combat simulator this might not be the game for you as the style is definitely more “historical fantasy” than anything. A lot of weapons and armor sets are beautiful to look at but are impractical. 

To showcase how good the game looks, here is a video by Nvidia on max settings at 60 fps

For Honor Developer

Ubisoft has done a good job in developing the game. It had a very rocky start but Ubisoft owned up to their mistakes and they do a decent enough job at keeping in touch with the community. They do things like developer live streams to show off what is being worked on or what is coming up in the next season. They also have recently implemented a testing grounds to let players test out upcoming reworks to existing heroes. On the topic of seasons, Ubisoft puts out a midseason patch that usually contains a hero rework or other changes to the game and every season gives the game at least one new hero. Therefore, it is easy to see that Ubisoft plans on supporting the game for a while, even though it might not be the most popular game. Despite the best efforts of Ubisoft, there are still a bit of bugs here and there. Sometimes an attack might go right through your guard, sometimes you will get randomly kicked from a match. 

For Honor Price

As it stands right now, For Honor currently can be bought in four different versions: 

  • Starter Edition - 14.99
  • Standard Edition - 39.99
  • Marching Fire Edition - 59.99
  • Complete Edition - 109.99

The game is currently available on Steam, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Some might say that the game has pay to win elements but I would disagree. Though you can use steel, the in-game currency, to buy loot boxes you can also earn steel by playing the game regularly. Lootboxes are also handed out to every player based on their performance in the faction war at the end of every season. I will admit that the game has a lot of microtransactions because of the vast amounts of cosmetic options in the game. There are a mass amount of cool outfits that heavily encourage buying a quick package of steel rather than saving up by playing the game, so watch out for those. 

Final Verdict

    Overall, For Honor provides an extremely unique fighting game experience that no other game on the market can reproduce. For their first time at attempting something like this, Ubisoft has done a pretty good job. However, its shortcomings in terms of balance and gameplay keep it from becoming the best it can be. 

Pros: 

  • Unique Art of Battle System is a breath of fresh air for medieval combat
  • Excellent designs, art, sound, music, and graphics
  • Fun story mode
  • Plenty of different heroes to unlock and play as
  • Hero customization lets you make your own unique champion

Cons:

  • Lots of microtransactions are encouraged
  • Balance issues
  • Some connection issues
  • Not a very large community compared to other big multiplayer games

    Overall Score: 7.5/10

 

Here are five other articles you might enjoy:

More on this topic:
I've been a gamer pretty much since I could walk. I love writing fantasy stories and fantastical adventures. Getting lost in a new world is what I live for
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Destiny 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Team Fortress 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Fallout: New Vegas
This article makes me feel:

More Top Stories