For Honor is one of those games that I’ve been excited about ever since it was revealed. It looked promising, it looked good, and the developer was just so passionate about this game that he and his team were creating. Having now had the chance to try the game for myself before it officially releases, I’m left with mixed impressions.
One of the core mechanics of For Honor is that you lock onto an opponent and then move your mouse(or thumbstick) to select one of three directions to either strike or block. You can also see which way your opponent is leaning which allows you to try and anticipate their next move, but it also makes it easy to fake them out and quickly switch directions and land a good hit. These one on one battles can be really intense and make For Honor’s gameplay a blast. However, therein lies the rub: Not everyone plays the game this way. See, some game modes allow more than two people to participate up to a total of 8 players. So you can do 1v1 matches, 2v2 matches, 4v4 matches, or I believe there’s also a free for all mode. You’re supposed to fight one opponent at a time, best them, and then move onto the next target when facing multiple players. But more than one player can attack the same target, allowing them to gang up on the poor sap. And that’s the problem, you can only lock onto, and block, one enemy at a time. So when one enemy decides to forsake the honor code of a duel and jump into the fray to tag team an enemy, the game quickly becomes frustrating. You will more often in this game because you were facing off against two opponents rather than one, rather than dieing honorably in a duel, and this will cost your the game because there’s just no way to beat an enemy team that relies on tag teams slaughtering singular opponents. By the time you switch gears to tag team them, it’s already too late because they’ve dominated the battlefield for too long.
Granted, I’ve noticed that happen more often in Domination mode, the 4v4 gamemode. In the 2v2 matches, where it starts you off facing one of your opponents and your ally facing the other, more often than not the victor of one battle will stand back and watch the other fight until the victor is decided, not interfering with the duel despite being able to. I have far more respect for players who respect the sanctity of a duel than I do for the ones who interfere, something I view more as cowardice than badassery. And I’ve noticed that players who tag team, when they begin to lose, often flee from a battle rather than fight to the bitter end. Some classes are better suited to retreating, and this is a natural part of the game as some of the classes are advertised as being good at retreating, but even the heavier enemies that don’t move quite as fast try to retreat rather than face an honorable death. For a game called “For Honor” a disproportionate amount of players fight dishonorably and that bugs me. I would love to them implement a mechanic that prevents players from locking onto, or doing damage to, an enemy that their ally is locked onto. That way once their ally breaks the lock and flees their ally can tag in sort to speak. It is possible to attack an enemy without locking on, but that will prevent you from blocking attacks and so it isn’t really viable against other players to begin with because a smart player will simply lock onto an enemy and block.
Aside from all of that though there isn’t really much worth commenting on. The objective game modes are less about the objectives and more about finding and killing the enemy players, at which point the 2 on 2 duels are far better for that purpose. I do have to mention though that Ubisoft still has server issues. Sometimes I can’t connect with my friends, sometimes it’ll tell its found a match and then apologizes because the match is full, or it lets my friend into the match and tells me that I can’t join because the match is now full, kicking me out of the group I was in. It’s ridiculous how one of Ubisoft’s biggest problems tends to be server issues and just general matchmaking related things.