Ubisoft threw us a surefire curveball during their 2015 E3 media briefing when they announced a brand new IP by the name of For Honor. A multiplayer-focused sword combat title being developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the game was unlike anything else we’ve seen coming to video game consoles by way of AAA video game publishers as of late. Ubisoft is being all kinds of awesome taking risk on new properties, and after some hands-on time with the game at PAX Prime last week, I’m willing to bet that For Honor pans out being another excellent addition to their already promising 2016 game line up. Sheath thy sword, for now, and learn about the upcoming hotness that is For Honor.
What is this game?
For Honor is a multiplayer hack-and-slash title that focuses primarily on third-person melee combat. It’s analogous to the PC title Chilvary as it encapsulates the brutality of medieval warfare. As you play, you’ll witness crowds of armored warriors being stabbed, arrowed, and fire-blasted to death—letting out the most horrifying shrieks as they are met with their gruesome demise. This is the type of game you’ll want to fire up after an episode of Game of Thrones. Something to let off some steam with after having your heart crushed by George R.R. Martin.
The demo I played was an all knight affair, but the game is said to also include Vikings and Samurai as well. I imagine that the other warrior types will have different weapons/combat schemes, which would add another layer of strategy to the game’s intricate-yet-intuitive combat system.
For Honor is Bushido Blade on steroids
When you think “hack-and-slash,” games like Bayonetta, Darksiders, and God of War typically come to mind. It is with caution, however, that I’d associate this genre with For Honor, a title that gameplay-wise takes after Bushido Blade more so than it does Devil May Cry. Mindless slicing and dicing through crowds of weakling NPCs is completely offset in For Honor by intense sword duels with player-controlled warriors. One second you’ll be cutting down enemy NPCs, and suddenly you’ll find yourself having complex and focused sword showdowns with other players, where a slight mistake will easily cost you your life.
With the game’s “Art of Battle” combat system, players use the right analog to hold their sword in three different positions. Holding your sword in the same position as an attacking opponent will allow you to block or parry their incoming strike (3D Niddhogg anyone?). In a sense, it’s like playing an advanced game of rock/paper/scissors, where guessing, anticipation, and mind games play a large role in emerging victorious. However, there is a reactionary element to the combat too, thanks to on-screen prompts, so quick reflexes will play a large roll in separating the elite swordsmen from the average.
Hold the point and don’t break
Ubisoft had Dominion mode up for demonstration during my time with the game. This is a 4v4 mode that plays like Call of Duty’s Domination, prompting players to fight for and hold three designated areas. Once a certain amount of points are gained, players will run out of reinforcements, and thus stop respawning, assuming your team loses control of all the designated areas. This is called “breaking” your opponents, and once all opponents have been terminated after being broken, the match ends.
If players are able to rack up enough individual points—which are gained by killing enemy A.I. and the opposing team—they’ll be able to call in game-changing assistance like explosive wielding catapults or a barrage of arrows. These all frag enemies upon contact, and can help in situations where you find yourself outnumbered. If you ever find yourself outmanned in For Honor, the wise decision—if you don’t have one of the aforementioned equalizers—is to run. Battling more than one opponent is extremely difficult, and will usually end with you being dispatched in a timely fashion.
Don’t sleep on For Honor
As I mentioned before, this game is unlike anything we’re use to seeing from AAA game publishers these days. That in itself should peak most people’s curiosity. But in the crowded sea of open-world and shooter titles that are slated to come in 2016, it wouldn’t be hard for this game to get lost in the shuffle. For Honor is a refreshing change of pace from the norm of this generation, and a fresh direction in a genre that is typically meant for single player experiences. We’ll be keeping a close eye on For Honor leading up to its release here on Nerdist, so make sure you keep us tabbed for more updates.
For Honor will come charging onto store shelves sometime in 2016 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Are you ready for some epic sword battling? Will this fill the void of there not being a Bushido Blade remaster? Slash your thoughts on For Honor and the hack-and-slash genre down in the comments below.