On paper, For Honor sounds great. It’s a game that sees epic Viking, samurai and knight battles across a single-player campaign of sorts and a multiplayer that could very well go the way of Rainbow: Six Siege, Destiny or Overwatch, garnering a massive audience as the game grows.
But ultimately, it feels like a game that’s incredibly marmite. It’s going to divide the opinion of anyone who plays it.
We’ve read the reviews that praise For Honor for being one of the best multiplayer experiences in recent years, but we’ve also been among those to really, really hate it at times.
Although, it’s games like these that define the gaming industry as, after all, the success of titles like Dark Souls almost relies on some people loving to hate them.
Here’s why For Honor is another of those games that will spark passionate debates:
The Single-Player Leaves a Lot To Be Desired
At five to eight hours long, For Honor‘s campaign plays out more like an extended tutorial than a full-on campaign. It’s divided across three chapters, with six missions per chapter, but each chapter explores a different faction: Viking, knight or samurai.
You’re only fighting the game’s AI, which means it’s ridiculously easy for the most part, except the boss fights. Most of the time you’ll be learning how each faction plays, which is certainly handy for the multiplayer. But it won’t appease anyone hoping for an engaging storyline from the game’s single-player.
The actual plot is incredibly thin on the ground and you won’t care about any of the characters. But, in a game where the historic timeline is so warped, we doubt you’ll even care.
Gamers who love For Honor are treating it as a multiplayer-only experience, more akin perhaps to a Call of Duty or Battlefield title than another multiplayer title. There’s some story there, but you’re here for the PvP slaying.
For Honor Is More Fighting Game Than Hack-and-Slash
Although you’re fighting waves of foes in For Honor, one-on-one combat is the game’s main core.
If you’re coming into it with the impression that it’s a hack-and-slash game akin to Castlevania or Devil May Cry, you’ll be disappointed. You’d be better off thinking that For Honor is more like Tekken or Street Fighter.
You’ll only defeat your opponent through a combination of attacks, blocks, dodges, parries and stuns, all the while working with the three difference stances. It’s surprisingly complicated and the longer you play, the more you’ll learn about the various character quirks, combos and powers.
For Honor‘s combat will give back as much as you put into it. It’s not a game that you can dip in and out of; you’ve got to grind, learn and ultimately submit to it in order to enjoy it.
For some, that’s not going to appeal, especially as it can be incredibly punishing in multiplayer battles.
It Can Sometimes Feel Stuck in the Past
Did you ever play any of the Lord of the Rings games on the PS2, like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers? Well, as soon as we booted up For Honor, that’s all we could think about.
It’s a game that could be accused of being stuck in the past – and no, we’re not just talking about its medieval setting.
With the repetitive barricade settings, it lacks the variety you’ve come to expect from modern multiplayer games. Yes, the combat may be clever and sophisticated, but the settings in which you play out these battles just fade into one.
Maps aren’t memorable, you won’t be seeing a For Honor version of Nuketown going down in history as one of the greats, even if the combat might.
More Modes Are Needed For Long-Term Appeal
For Honor‘s one-on-one combat really shines in two of its five multiplayer modes: Duel and Brawl.
It’s here that For Honor is at its best and these modes really excel at showing off the nuances of its battling system. It’s only in these modes that you really get a sense of accomplishment in a battle.
In the larger, 4-vs-4 Dominion, Elimination and Skirmish modes, these subtleties and one-on-one intensities are more lost. Brawls become messy and the loss of one player can mean you’re surrounded by enemies in seconds with few options to rectify the situation.
The Revenge mode equaliser goes some way to alleviate your feelings of total frustration, as it’s a temporary attack and defence buff that slowly fills while you’re on the defensive.
However, it’s usually that the team with the most players wins. And it can often feel that the only way to win is through team organisation and constant communication, which will be incredibly infuriating for anyone looking for a solo quick match.
There needs to be another mode for the 2-vs-2 brilliance to be found in For Honor, otherwise it may start losing any players not partnered up with pals.
Player-Hosted Matches Can Be a Turn-Off
Many will find that the fact all multiplayer matches are player hosted is incredibly frustrating too.
There have been so many instances where we’ve been playing a match and the host drops out, only to be replaced by an AI that can’t adequately fill their armour. It’s ruined entire matches on multiple occasions to the point that we’ve turned off the game.
Or there’s just the simple issue of joining games that are nearly over, meaning you’ll spawn onto a losing side just minutes before the close. It’s just another way to fall out with For Honor.
A Controversial Microtransaction System
There are plenty of high-end AAA titles that feature microtransaction systems, aka in-game content that you can pay extra for with real cash. Overwatch and Destiny both have micro-transactions, for example, but it’s only for optional cosmetic content that won’t change the actual gameplay.
However, when a game allows players to pay their way to better characters or game-changing boosts, you’ll find some gamers scratching their heads – or sharpening their pitchforks.
For Honor does feature an in-game store that lets you buy armour and weapons with real-world dosh that actually boosts your character’s stats. But, those boosts will come at a cost.
It might be that some gear will boost your character’s “Feat cooldown”, but you’ll lose “Revenge gain by defence” as a downside.
Paying for perks will be a trade-off of sorts in For Honor then. Any of these items can be bought using in-game currency, but purchasing them will be swayed by those with more money than time to spend on games.
Whether that’s a problem for you will be totally down to personal preference, but for us, it seems like any quick win in a game will be a disadvantage to someone.