So I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Alpha code on Playstation 4 for the upcoming Ubisoft title, FOR HONOR and thought I would take a moment to jot down some of my thoughts and feelings after having spent a solid 14 hours playing it.
For those of you who are not aware, FOR HONOR is an action hack and slash video game set during a medieval period inspired fantasy setting. Players can play as a character from three different factions, The Legion, The Chosen, and The Warborn. The three factions represent Knight, Samurai, and Vikings, respectively.
I have been pretty excited for this game since I very first heard of it. And I can admit that I hastily pre ordered the collector’s edition as soon as I saw it become available. Mostly because the 1/3 scale helmets look awesome!
When I first loaded up the game I was greeted with a beautiful serene cut-scene of a world being devastated by an earthquake of sorts and a female voice narrating the story to this point. Once the cut-scene finished you are prompted to load up and choose your faction. Knight, Samurai or Viking.
All factions will have a total of 4 characters to choose from once the game goes Live in Feb 2017. However, for the Alpha, we were only able to select 2 from each faction.
As I have always wanted to be a Knight, it was a no brainer that this was always going to be the faction I would play as. And because I chose Knight, my options were the following: Warden, 2h sword wielding bruiser, which would be my main during the Alpha. And the Conqueror, who wields a shield and a chain-mace, this class is more of a defender and I only tried it out for 1 game.
Once I selected my Warden I was able to enter the Tutorial to learn the Basics. The Tutorial helped me understand the basic movements on how to attack and defend. Once you complete the tutorial you are then allowed to enter the battle arenas. also deep within the character options you watch video Tutorials for your class. Here are the links for the Basic and Advanced Warden tutorials if you are interested.
The Game modes that were available during the Alpha were as follows:
- Dominion: Dominion is a four-versus-four multiplayer mode in which players must capture and hold multiple zones in a battlefield. Points are earned through occupying combat zones. When one team earns enough points, they must eliminate the players from the other team and win the match.
- Brawl: In this two-versus-two multiplayer mode, a team must eliminate the entire opponent team completely in order to win.
- Duel: Duel is a one-versus-one multiplayer mode in which a player must successfully kill its opponent in order to win.
I spent quite a good amount of time playing in 1v1 Duel mode when I first started, you can choose to play against AI or PvP. Don’t be fooled however, the AI was no pushover! When I first started, the learning curve wasn’t massive but it definitely isn’t going to be a cake walk for even the most experienced gamer.
The combat mechanics have quite a lot more depth to it then I first realized. I had watched a lot of footage of gameplay before I was able to play myself and I wasn’t sure the combat mechanics where really going to be all that complex. My mind has totally been changed. Even after all my hours of playing and trying to hone my skills I know I could spend another good 30+ hours trying to master the Warden to learn to fight against all the different classes and factions.
Graphically this game is amazing, it was a very polished Alpha and I was pleasantly surprised. Something to note is I had high expectations for this game before I played the Alpha, they not only met my expectations but now I am even more excited for the full game!
The controls seem simple; your left analogue stick moves you around. L2 will lock you onto an opponent. R1 is a light attack, R2 is a Heavy. Moving the Right directional stick will change your stance, matching the stance of your opponent helps to anticipate where the next attack will come from and to block it, you need to move the Right thumbstick in the direction of the incoming attack. Square when close enough to the enemy will perform a charge stun, and this can also be used to knock people off bridges and buildings to there death. Or knock the enemy into spikes on a wall.
I can’t explain how much fun I had with this beta, each opponent that I faced has a different skill set and playstyle, some I made easy work of, others put up a great fight, some…. Well some people completely destroyed me. But I didn’t cry “OP that’s OP!” even though it was mostly the Samurai Orochi that I had issues with. The reason I don’t scream OP is because this game tests YOU. You only have yourself to blame, I think they nailed the balancing really well for each class. Orochi might be slightly OP? I say this because there was a lot of hate for them on the Alpha Forums as well as Reddit due to Orochi being fast movers yet with heavy damage, to counter this they are squishy but maybe there counter attacks could be changed to be not as powerful. However, I analyzed my own gameplay after matches and found I missed some blocks I shouldn’t have and was just defeated by the better man.
After playing my fair share of 1v1 Duel mode and feeling quite confident as a Warden, I moved onto the 2v2 Brawl mode. This is also a lot of fun. You start in a 1v1 face off with your team mate somewhere else on the map with his opponent. The beauty of this mode, is if you die, then it becomes 1v2 as your team mate now has to defeat them both. This happened to me on a few occasions where my team mate would die very early in the battle and leave me to face off against 2 opponents. This was a REAL skill test and one that I wasn’t always up to the challenge for. However, nothing gets the heart racing like a 1v2. If I finished my opponent early I would for the most part stand back and watch my team mate with his battle so as not to interfere, then if he died I would go in and finish the fight honorably for them.
Lastly, Dominion. I had a lot of fun in this mode, but if you expect people to play honorably in this mode you are sorely mistaken! This mode is as stated above, 4v4 with AI running around doing next to nothing and 3 capture zones scattered around the maps. I found this to be a lot of fun however this is where I started to notice some flaws in the map designs. I digress this was an Alpha and these things may change however I found the maps to be entirely too small, and the capture nodes far too easy to capture.
Pretty much what was happening in my games, was either all 4 from the opposition would find a way to 3v1 while one other guy runs around the map capping nodes and moving onto the next. There wasn’t any point benefit for standing in a capture point as a defender so there wasn’t a lot of point staying where the battle wasn’t. The Maps are gorgeous and I really hope they increase the sizes quite significantly and make defence more rewarding. Having said that, I still really enjoyed my time in this mode.
To summarize the game modes, 1v1 and 2v2 are brilliant. I hope they can fix up Dominion 4v4 with larger maps, more benefit for defending and even make the AI a little more aggressive.
After each battle completes, you will get your game stats and “loot” from the battlefield. This is where the game starts to really shine. The customisation in this game is real, and I can see it being a HUGE part of the game that people will focus on. New helmets, gloves, chest plates etc, you also unlock different colour patterns and emblems to totally customise the look of your character. There is also a prestige mode once you reach level 20. I only made it to level 19 in my short span of game time so can’t comment much more however once you reach prestige 2 Blue items are meant to start dropping and the further you progress the better the loot. Epic and legendries also available. you can see an example here.
One point I was slightly disappointed with is you aren’t able to customise your own colours. There are already pre-defined colour sets and you unlock more as your character progresses. The colour selections are quite good however I really like the way Rocket League allow colour customisations to a degree so you still know what team you are on. I think the game could benefit with something like this.
So that about sums up my Alpha experience, A huge thank you to the guy from Reddit who hooked me up with a code! And I will upload some of my in game footage in the next day or 2, so be sure to check back with us here at Just Game to stay up to date on all that is FOR HONOR.
Thanks for reading,
See you on the battlefield.