Updated: Nov 13, 2019
A superb competition game ruined by a casual base
Ah, For Honor my newfound love. I've always been a fan of hack 'n slash real time beat 'em ups. I find them a true test of reflex & skill, one of the few game genres where you can go through the entire game with an enemy never laying a finger on you if you're good enough.
"This leads to a very balanced and varied game play as no two characters feel the same."
Steam recently gave several games HUGE pushes by offering them for free, among-st them was For Honor, the medieval themed PVP beat' em up. For Honor centers around 3 factions, Knights, Vikings & Samurai. Each faction has it's classes, all of which have their own unique special abilities and move sets. This leads to a very balanced and varied game play as no two characters feel the same. This is where For Honor excels at, every player has a character that truly represents their play-style. Me being the strategic counter-attacker starts me off with the Viking Raider, a two-handed ax wielding powerhouse.
Graphically the game is stunning, beautifully rendering at a perfect 60+ FPS with all ultra settings on my desktop, "Sinuous Simi" (see #Caselabs post for more info on this.) Optimization is excellent as well with an almost seamless experience. Aside from a few missed hit cues or blocks every now and again, the game doesn't miss a beat.
Character creation is pretty standard. You get to create your own emblem, pick your faction and choose from a decent number of appearance options. Once you get in-game there's dozens of different tattoos, engravings, etc. that your character can don. You even have dozens of emotes and affects as well, which hearkens back to the create a character systems in #WWE or #NBA games. Most items you can unlock through normal progression, but as always there are others unlock-able by buying a season pass which includes character classes as well.
"The story jumps around to different characters in an effort to introduce you to the different classes, making it seem very disjointed."
Story mode is actually quite challenging on the hardest difficulty. The combat system actually forces you to learn how to use it as if you try to button mash...you're dead. The main antagonist "Apollion" *rolls eyes* shows some promise as things unfold and I look forward to meeting her in combat. The one complaint I have about the "chapters" is that they are way too linear and short. One wonders how this game would turn out if they took more of a GTA, open world approach versus your standard story missions. The story jumps around to different characters in an effort to introduce you to the different classes, making it seem very disjointed.
Now on to the meat & potatoes, the multiplayer. This is where the game shows at times sparks of brilliance. There are several game modes to play, duels (1v1), brawls (2v2), deathmatches (4v4), Dominion (a 4v4 version of capture points/zones on a map), tribute (4v4 capture altars.) Aside from Dominion and Deathmatch, the player count seems to be rather low So finding a match can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes. Once you're able to get in a match things are great! There's nothing like matching reflexes and wit with someone of superb ability. I soon found myself spending hours and hours entering combat and crushing skulls.
" 95% of the players you meet are absolutely terrible and will ultimately cost you the match unless you're one of the 4% "God Tier" players that go 20-0 in a death match versus an entire team."
However, I do have a love/hate relationship with the player base. It seems with the new influx of Steam players came essentially fresh meat for the grinder. 95% of the players you meet are absolutely terrible and will ultimately cost you the match unless you're one of the 4% "God Tier" players that go 15-0 in a death match versus an entire team on their own. A majority of the time I've spent laying on the ground without a revive or yelling at players for going for kills instead of the objectives, which is eerily similar to the shooter gaming scene of "Call of Duty" and "Battlefield." A game like this shines with dedicated players who strive to become the best, but the experience is completely ruined once the game goes mainstream and casual players are introduced to it. Kudos to those players who took the time to learn the game's mechanics...hopefully more will join your ranks in the future. Until they can find a way to balance out the game without making it too casual friendly, the multiplayer experience is absurdly infuriating a good amount of the time. On top of this you have to deal with an alarmingly frustrating hit detection system which will leave you speechless at times. If it weren't for these glaring issues this game could be e-sports material as watching those "God Tier" players duel one another is a thing of beauty.
"To me the game seems balanced pretty well as I've only been playing for about a week and I'm already able to either beat or somewhat hang with those same players using the basic techniques I've learned from just playing the game."
Right now this game gets mixed reviews as the player base is running into these "God Tier" players and getting destroyed which makes it seem unbalanced. To me the game seems balanced pretty well as I've only been playing for about a week and I'm already able to either beat or somewhat hang with those same players using the basic techniques I've learned from just playing the game. Not to mention A LOT of those casual players are buying the season pass and immediately getting access to the endgame, expert tier classes which are clearly labeled as "hard & medium difficulty of use" so they are choosing characters that are hard to play for a new person and getting dominated.
All-in-all this is the first multiplayer game in awhile that I actually WANT to put an extreme amount of hours into and that's a testament to how good this game is. It's a solid game that I definitely hope they build upon and hopefully the player base reaches it's full potential.
4 out of 5 stars