Saturday 25 February 2017

For Honor

Up until last year Ubisoft was widely considered the king of derivative open-world games. The Assassin's Creed series was put on hold to give the publisher time to decide what to do with it. Far Cry steadily devolved into Ubisoft's go-to formula of climbing a tower to open up more tedious and redundant side quests. Watch_Dogs 2 managed to take a step up from its predecessor, at least. Nonetheless, this was Ubisoft's forte; open-worlds, climbing towers, and quick, iterative sequels.

They're now publishing smaller projects, boasting new and interesting tech, with a plan of ensuring sustained support. First came Rainbow Six: Siege. Unremarkable to look at and decidedly small in scale, the conception of Siege came about from the development of a new physics-based destruction technology. This made Siege an incredibly versatile game that saw increased success, helped by Ubisoft's continued content updates.

Now we have For Honor, a game so small-scale and intimate that it's often hard to focus on anything other than your opponent. Before a match begins, you are shown what map you will be playing on, though this very quickly becomes completely incidental. Once the round starts, and you are intently focused on the fight, everything else bleeds away.

Aside from certain ledges from which you can fall to your death, or areas with fire or lava, nothing else ends up mattering. This speaks volumes about For Honor’s combat. It is so tightly focused that fights can either go on relentlessly for several minutes, or end in mere seconds from a poorly timed block.

However, there's only so much about For Honor's combat that I can discuss objectively, because so much of the experience is down to how you as an individual accept certain losses. For Honor can and will get frustrating. There are times when you will be convinced that there was nothing you could have done to defend yourself. I say this being someone who - after twenty hours of play - isn't particularly good at the game. Not yet, anyway.

Yet there is something about it; something that makes me strive to improve, to learn, and to win... and this is the experience that I'm recommending. There is no feeling quite like winning a tough match, when you manage to parry a heavy attack that, if timed incorrectly, would kill you. There will be times when you absolutely hate For Honor, especially during your first couple of hours. It demands patience and dedication. I can't deny how cheap certain mechanics are, such as throwing your opponent of a ledge, but I also can't deny the raw, euphoria of a victory.


Lewis Hill
For Honor at CeX

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