While For Honor’s story concerns itself with swordsmen, the game feels remarkably similar to Ubisoft’s recent third-person shooter Tom Clancy's The Division. Both are primarily online games that focus our attention on PvP modes. Both have huge amounts of customisation for each character. Both have disappointing single player modes.
For Honor, though, is remarkably more unique. You play as either a knight, viking, and samurai, attempting to dominate this fictional world following an almost apocalyptic event. Before each multiplayer battle, you choose which of the three types of warrior you will be. However, there’s also an overall faction to fight for. I, for instance, chose to be a knight. By winning matches, I could use by prizes - War Assets - to further my faction’s control over the fictional landscape, leading to further rewards.
The actual gameplay, meanwhile, is a mixture of Dynasty Warriors, Assassin’s Creed and Sony’s recent exclusive Nioh. While there are moments when your warrior must cut through numerous enemies, the main fighting happens one-on-one, when two players lock onto each other. When this happens, there are three poses to choose from, meaning three angles to attack from. To defend, you must choose the opposite pose to your opponent.
Other players can enter into your combat scenario, making for messy battles between multiple characters where you struggle to lock onto just one enemy. Whenever things do come down to a two-on-one situation, it’s nearly always impossible for the singleton to win (at least in my experience). Chances are, you’ll just have to run away and find another team mate to help fend off the attack. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s an intuitive system that’s relatively easy to muster.
This doesn’t sound a whole lot like The Division, does it? You’re right, the gameplay is vastly different. These two games, though, share something that has become a known problem with recent debut Ubisoft releases: a feeling of not being quite finished.
The Division, of course, has improved with updates, but the levelling system, the campaign, and - most importantly - the online functionality have all been issues. For Honor shares these nitpicks, the last one obviously being quite frustrating as online games have, so far, stopped multiple times midway through for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, the menu system is both intimidating and cluttered, leading to a slightly difficult experience.
That’s not to say either The Division or For Honor are bad games, but there’s a polish missing. For Honor has enough customisation for each character, and enough variety between their play-styles, to make for interesting and competitive play, but there’s something missing to keep bringing me back. Like Watch Dogs before it, no doubt the sequel will master the game’s formula to create something wonderful. Until then, For Honor offers a challenging combat system but certainly isn’t an essential purchase.