So, a Viking, a Samurai, and a Knight walk into a bar…
For Honor is a competitive, multiplayer-centric video game that places players in a worldwide, cross-platform faction war. You can fight for one of three factions; The Vikings, The Samurai, or the Knights. They don’t change any of the match-by-match gameplay, allowing you to play as any character, but they will affect the faction war.
The faction war is a large territory war that uses war assets, unlocked by playing matches, to capture enemy tiles at the end of a turn. You receive a bonus for placing war assets on tiles that are in the your game mode area. You can also defend tiles in an attempt to prevent either opposing faction from taking your territory.
There are three game modes: 3v3 Dominion, a domination style match with MOBA-esque features, 2v2 Brawl, a simple 2 versus 2 match against either AI or other players, and 1v1 duel, which is the same as 2v2 but with less people.
Now, the faction war runs on a universal time limit, but it’s been broken down into three different times.
- Seasons: These are the overall time of each faction war. They last for 14 weeks, and the highest ranked faction will win special loot at the end of it.
- Rounds: The middle amount of time for the faction war. The world map restarts at the end of each round, but will count towards the overall ranking of the For Honor Faction that you’ve pledged to.
- Turns: Turns last for six hours, and will update the world map at the end, allowing for new territories to be captured and lost by each respective faction. These help decide who wins each round, and in turn, which faction is ranked as the best faction.
Now, let’s dive into each of the heroes you can play as. There are nine heroes in total, three for each faction, but you aren’t limited by which faction you choose. The only limitation is that you have to buy, using in-game currency that is earned from completing missions or from playing matches, each of the heroes that you want to level up and get new loot for.
You can also spend said currency on scavenger crates that will give you a larger amount of loot that might help boost your character along.
Each character has their own inventory, and with it, their own loot. Depending on which hero you play as will determine which loot you will receive at the end of each match. Every hero has different stats that your equipment will affect, some in a positive manner, others as a detriment. These can range anywhere from damage to the speed you revive teammates, and each piece of equipment can be broken down for faction related scrap. The scrap carries across all heroes of a faction, and can be used to upgrade equipment for you heroes.
The upgrades will increase both the positive and negative effects of a piece of equipment, allowing the natural balance of characters to take place. You might have a character designed for support or for assault, and that is something that you’ll have to balance and sacrifice other aspects for.
There are three classes of heroes, each with their unique feats and focuses. There is the Assassin, a quick character that has to block each time an attack comes their way, the Counter-Attacker, a character based around parrying and striking whilst your enemy is tired out or attacking, and the Crippler, a character based around medium to long range attacks and hitting hard.
These character classes are available in each of the faction’s style, and each one has its own active skills that can be earned during combat.
From my experience of playing in the battlefield, the game has a strong foundation. The combat is fun and challenging, but not unfair. If you learn the combos that the game has, you could get maybe one or two strikes on an enemy before they get a chance to recover and block, allowing for a strategic management of which attacks to hit whilst also balancing out stamina drain, so as to not exhaust your character and leave you open for attacks.
The server issues that alpha testers had experienced don’t seem to be prevalent, or at least not with the amount of people they had playing in the closed beta. There were only one or two times that the game actually locked up with latency, but that was to be expected as they make more progress into preparing their servers for launch.
The only chief complaint I currently have is at the lack of loot from end of matches. I went for a few rounds without getting a drop for my character and therefore think that loot should be more common, but have a higher chance of lower quality, forcing you to not only use the upgrade options in the game, but also allowing you to see some of the other customization options available.
So, that’s pretty much what was available during the For Honor Closed Beta on Xbox One. Don’t forget to sign up for the Open Beta that will run from February 9th to February 12th! We’ll see you on the battlefields!