Generally, games in the vein of Dark Souls are not my cup of tea. However, the one thing I admire about games of that ilk are its combat systems. After decades of twitch action, Demon Souls slowed things down in a way that made every move, dodge and parry matter. As a fighting game fan, I can appreciate the nuance to combat in those games, though I can do w ithout the insane difficulty and lack of checkpoints.
For Honor takes that core combat style out of its dungeon crawl roots and puts it in a Call of Duty style multiplayer experience. Does the shift in format frame up the combat in a game that is more palatable to my sensibilities?
Behind it all is a loose story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where knights, vikings and samurai are all fighting for their survival. It’s window dressing for the setup of the game, but I’m okay with that.
You’ll take control of one of nine different character types split between the three factions. Each character has its pros and cons, so you’ll want to experiment to see what works for you. I only got a chance to play as the first samurai character and the samurai assassin, but I could quickly tell the difference between the two and greatly preferred the latter.
On the battlefield, you’ll move your character around the map, managing their attacks, dodges, parries, grabs and any other special techniques they may have. In a 1v1 scenario, the combat truly shines. Players are greatly rewarded for reading their opponents and making precise attacks instead of button mashing. Once I got a general feel for it, combat was a joy to partake in. My favourite aspect of the combat was the ability to use the environment to your advantage. In once instance, instead of engaging in a drawn out duel, I simply grabbed my opponent and threw him off a bridge into their watery grave.
There is a 1v1 mode in game, though I personally prefer the variability that comes with 4v4 team deathmatch. As players start to die off, the odds become uneven, opening the door for players to outnumber their competition. Once you get ganged up on, things are generally bad. However, you do have the means of overcoming numbers at times. There were a few times I fought my way out, though it’s generally best to find your fallen teammates and revive them.
Where the combat falls apart is in the Dominion mode, which is an area control mode that also features dozens of AI players on the battlefield. While their presence makes sense within this universe and they add an extra level of scale to the combat, the game’s systems clearly weren’t designed with this in mind. You can’t lock onto these AI enemies, and there are too many to fight against, which turns a thoughtful fighting engine into a button masher. If I were to pick this up, I would avoid modes with the extra AI completely.
For Honor caught me by surprise. This wasn’t on my radar at all, but now I want to play more of it. Taking the Souls style combat and placing it in a PvP system seems to work great. The game is out today, so keep your eyes out for reviews. Hoping the final product delivers on the promise of the beta.