EDITOR’s NOTE: This is a beta preview. Please see our full review of For Honor to get it’s full measure and score.
For Honor has received a plethora of attention since it was announced at E3 2015. The Knight vs Samurai vs Viking title has caught the eyes of many people for its original and brutal gameplay wrapped up in a beautifully stunning package. As a result, many people have wanted to get their hands on the upcoming title. Luckily Ubisoft has released another closed beta that I will give you scoop on, to help you out if you have been looking for more details on this pending cross-platform, persistent war game. As a beta, we are not scoring the game. It will get a full review and score once released.
For Honor is due out for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 14th.
For Honor already had another closed beta test a few months back, so this hands-on preview will mostly be focused on the new additions along with the feeling of the game. To start, the most exciting addition to this beta has been three new classes, one for each of the factions. In the previous beta there were six classes spread across each faction; the long sword brandishing Warden and the flail and shield carrying Conqueror for the knights. The great axe wielding Raider and dual hand axe Berserker for the Vikings. Finally, the nodachi trained Kensei and the katana assassin Orochi for the samurai.
With this new beta the short sword and dagger assassin, the Peacekeeper, joins the knights. While the sword and shield juggernaut the Warlord, and the naginata specialist the Nobushi join the Vikings and Samurai respectively. These three new classes add a little more depth and variety to combat; the Peacekeeper is quick and dangerous but requires timing and skill to avoid death, the Warlord is bestial tank being able to block from all size and do massive damage but suffers from a lack of speed and stamina regeneration, and finally the Nobushi is interesting support character relying on range and chipping away at their opponent to make up for their low defense and lesser attack.
Each of these classes truly feels unique and are their own challenge to master. They each force you to rethink the combat system, with the Peacekeeper relying on well-timed dodges parries, while the Warlord needs grit and expert defense. The combat system is still as challenging and rewarding as it was in the first beta; rewarding intelligent playmaking and punishing overly aggressive button mashing. Even when fighting enemy NPC’s who die in one hit, if you get surrounded by them they can be just as deadly as any hero. PvP however is still the core of the gameplay experience. It relies on both quick reaction time and intelligent decision making and there is truly nothing quite as rewarding as beating an opponent with a brutal execution of which there are many for each hero.
In the beta you can access for different modes, a four on four game of dominion in which you have to hold objective until you score a certain amount of points, at that point the other team loses the ability to respawn and you must kill them before you lose the score. Then there is the two v. two brawl and the one on one duel which are a straight up battle to death over the course of a few rounds. Dominion is fun and chaotic involving npc armies and ability feats to use while in combat. A returning feature is the feats system, in which the more objectives you complete the more special abilities you have access to. These range from passive where you are healed for each NPC or Hero you kill, to being able to plant bombs or call down a catapult strike. These feats add an extra bit of depth to gameplay, thought they are currently only available in dominion.
On the other hand, duels and brawls are intense battles of will and skill that put you on the edge of your seat. Along with these modes are six available maps, three large scale maps for dominion while there are six smaller maps for duels and brawls, three of which are smaller versions of the dominion maps. Each of these maps has three different variants; a sunny day for Ashfeld, a foggy more forested environment for The Myre, and a snowy night for Valkenheim. Those three areas, Ashfeld, The Myre, and Valkenheim make up the war map each one representing one of the factions: Ashfeld for knights, The Myre for samurai, and Valkenheim for the Vikings. You run into these variations through the faction war map where you choose which game mode you wish to play.
The Faction War is an included meta-game in which, as you play you gain war assets to assist your faction of choice; you try to control portions of the map for rewards at the end of a season. This is a completely optional side objective that may however result in great rewards.
However the beta is not without its issues. You will often disconnect while searching for a match and there are still a number of small bugs to be found throughout the game. However since this is still a beta and there is still some time before launch, hopefully Ubisoft will be able to patch things before launch.
For Honor’s beta is a good way to get your hands on a highly anticipated game that shows promise as long as it can deliver on its goals. If For Honor interests you but you didn’t get beta access, you can still get a code by either pre-ordering the game, being given a code by someone who has received multiple, or being signed up for the beta as they may still send out more codes as the tests continue leading up to the February 14th release date. This cross-platform war with its persistent world could be a very hot title. Sharpen your steel and jump in!