For Honor Review
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform Reviewed: Xbox One
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Acquired via: Purchase by Reviewer
I had to write about this game because I need to let out my frustrations about a game that I love. For Honor is a great game that’s screwed by Ubisoft’s stupidity.
First I have to talk about the game itself. To me, For Honor is a fighting game that’s disguised as a third-person combat game. As you go about the game, either in campaign mode or in multiplayer, you fight other characters in a one-on-one duel that looks like Bloodborne or Dark Souls in its combat. But the strategy involved feels more like Street Fighter V than anything else. The attacks, counters, and blocks give the game a Street Fighter feel but in a new light.
The game’s campaign story is nothing more than window dressing, but I’ll take it. In the land of Ashfeld, the warlord Apollyon is in control of the knights of the Blackstone Legion. However, her plans lay beyond the control of the knights. She lusts for perpetual war between her knights, the Vikings of Valkenheim, and the samurai of the Dawn Empire. These three factions are locked in an eternal struggle, because reasons. The story is not as important as the goal: skewer your enemies, whatever faction they’re in!
The game’s campaign may seem like a bore, but it’s actually pretty engrossing. During the campaign, you assume the roles of each faction’s heroes and progress through a story that allows you to become familiar with each faction’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s a good way to train you for the madness that is multiplayer.
It’s in multiplayer where the game’s strengths really show. You pick a faction and head off in 1v1 and 2v2 skirmishes, as well as 4v4 battles where players try to control areas of a battlefield. It’s not easy to describe how adrenaline-pumping it is to play 4v4 and trying to hold off multiple enemies at one time. In one instance, I was the only one left, and it was 1v4. I stuck to my guns and was actually able to hold off my opponents and win the match for my side. That felt absolutely awesome!
Part of it is because of For Honor’s combat system. When you are in combat, you have an array of attacks and defenses you can unleash on your enemies. Your enemies have the same attacks and defenses, and the goal is to guess what attacks your enemy performs so you can defend properly, while you unleash attacks that get past their defenses. The defenses consist of different stances, and you successfully block an attack if you guess which stance they are attacking from and counter properly. The same happens when you are on the offensive.
It’s times like that when For Honor stops being a third-person hack and slash and starts to feel like a fighting game. The attacks, defenses, and counters give the combat a fluid movement that feels like you’re in the middle of a Street Fighter tournament. The feel loses a bit of weight in the translation, but it still feels solid.
What doesn’t feel solid is the game’s multiplayer matchmaking. For some unknown but stupid reason, Ubisoft thought it would be a great idea to avoid dedicated servers and resort to peer-to-peer matchmaking. The result is some of the worst multiplayer matchmaking I have ever experienced. Worse still is that the issues have not gone away after more than three weeks of live gameplay. The thought of having to deal with that shitty matchmaking kills my desire to even keep playing the game.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way. PC players have it worse; having to deal with Uplay to even play will make anyone cry. Uncle Willy stopped playing the PC version three days after release, and he’s not alone. PC player populations have dropped a ton since release.
The headaches associated with multiplayer are enough to make a person give this game up. It happened to me. The constant disconnects and matchmaking problems made me turn on this game. And I love playing it. It’s just that multiplayer is a big part of the gameplay, and it’s broken.
Multiplayer issues aside, I really love playing For Honor. I think the combat system is wonderful, and I love the game’s look and feel. When playing through the campaign, everything clicks. Playing as the samurai, knights, and Vikings feel different enough that switching to them feels like a new challenge. Unlocking the stronger variants of them unlock new fighting strategies. I’ve spent hours just trying out the new warriors and loving the variety in the combat.
If the multiplayer wasn’t such shit, I would throw a 10/10 at this game. But because the multiplayer is such a big part of For Honor, I have to smack it down. Ubisoft, stop fucking up the multiplayer aspects! I went through the same shit with The Division and Watch Dogs 2, and I’m sure Ghost Recon: Wildlands will have similar problems. Get your multiplayer asses together, and maybe we’ll stop ragging on you!