For Honor:What you can’t refuse the guys from the Canadian division of Ubisoft is the belief in the consumer desires of mankind. The experience of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege with a slight eye on Blizzard’s genre success and buyers’ wallets did their dirty work. For Honor skillfully plays on the public’s desire to look stylish, fight beautifully and indulge in narcissism in pre-battle cutscenes and their own inventory, while not forgetting to unobtrusively offer short, but not free paths to perfection.
In order not to be disappointed ahead of time, the advertised single player campaign must be played either in small doses or in an unconscious state. A six-hour festival of scripted insanity should be lived through just for the rewards of online play. People who, after a beautiful story trailer, expected a serious heat of passion and dashing turns, betrayals and murders of the main characters, run the risk of being very upset. During the above time, the local snake under the deck – the commander Apollyon – ingenuously deceives and pits naive knights, Vikings and samurai, who, by the will of an ancient cataclysm, found themselves on one continent.
The actions of the antagonist are illogical, and all sorts of plot excuses about natural selection are sewn with white threads. Apollyon warmly welcomes in his ranks those who are ready to stab in the back, and mercilessly executes humble captives. Such “Darwinists” usually woke up soon with daggers in their chests. But the rough soldiery in For Honor is desperately stupid, throwing epic phrases about the “time of the wolves” and does not forget to cut each other’s throats, even after learning the truth about the true radish in the skull helmet. To finally finish off common sense, an arcade chase with obstacles on a rail horse and several episodes with a shooting gallery with the participation of an automatic ballista and crowds of “cannon fodder” were added to the campaign. Some bright moments, like the original bosses, after everything tested, there is simply no desire to mention.
Thank God, Odin, and the ancient Shinto deities, For Honor doesn’t focus on story missions. In fact, she just flaunts the hem in front of the poor Overwatch for this business, for which they ask for about the same, but they don’t offer a single mode, giving the story in short films. Like Blizzard, Canadians from Ubisoft have relied on the network game.
In multiplayer, For Honor shows itself from a completely different side. First of all, combat mechanics are revealed to the fullest. Each of the twelve currently available character archetypes plays very differently. Justicar Knights are masters of heavy counterattacks and enemy control; nobushi samurai amuse themselves with nasty ranged attacks with accompanying bloodletting; and Viking berserkers deliver dozens of blows from unexpected directions, paying with frail defense. For every action of the players there is a reaction, and strengths are balanced by weaknesses (although balance changes are inevitable).
Duels between players are kept in constant tension: someone relies on their own attacks from sudden sides and stunning attacks, someone plays defensively and punishes the enemy for the thoughtless waste of stamina and predictability. Unequal one-on-two fights are shaking on your nerves, but even here you can emerge victorious by carefully parrying and accumulating “rage” – an active ability that gives a bonus to attack and damage absorption. Only quartets of raiders are finally pissed off – close-knit groups of lawless people, squeezing out control points and beating lone players who are trying to adhere to the division into roles and areas of responsibility. To some extent, this justifies the current limit of four characters on each side – with a larger number, a real bacchanalia would reign on the maps. But at the same time, scale suffered: Not only can the modes with eight players be counted on the fingers of one hand, in addition, even in them there is an intimacy of what is happening. The “cannon fodder” introduced into some of these options does not help either – dozens of mindless bots put pressure on the central zone, die from one hit and often irritate more than they are useful.
The events of network battles unfold on a global map divided into regions. Having decided on his faction, the player earns precious points in battles, which he subsequently invests in the capture or defense of the selected area. The goal of dividing the continent is extremely simple – to be the dominant side after a certain period and get premium resources that will go to medieval shopping.
You will have to spend almost more time in your own inventory than in the game itself. Customization of the appearance of the characters here is huge: dozens of options for coloring, engraving and decorative elements for armor are waiting to be discovered and fussed in the fitting room. The most beautiful bells and whistles, visualization kits and additional animations, however, cost just an obscene amount of in-game currency. Well, how can one not sneak in the seditious thought “Relax and donate so as not to strain your limbs in several hundred matches”? You can, of course, rely only on your own strength and daily tasks that bring experience and steel (the so-called local money), but for ordinary matches they give a miserable handful of resources. You can take comfort in the fact that in the heat of battle there is no time to pay attention to your own and other people’s decorative frills, and it’s just like death.
The visual component of the game is almost flawless. Especially the efforts of artists are visible in animation, character design and locations. The same battlefields start to look different depending on the dominant faction. There are no complaints about the voice acting with music – the work of Sonder Jurriaans brings back memories of Jeff van Dyk’s chic melodies from the Total War series. Too bad there aren’t many songs.
For Honor from the start has good data to fuel its own ambitions. First of all, this is a chic combat mechanics and impeccable visual style, which can give you many tense minutes in the thick of battles. Of the obvious disadvantages – an extremely hacky campaign, which was done only “for show”. You can blame the lack of scale in battles and focus on duels, but in the end, we are more likely to have an ideological successor to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare than Mount & Blade. If Ubisoft regularly indulges the public with new content, without much sticking out its sin of acquisitiveness (after all, a lot of money is to be paid for the game anyway), then For Honor is guaranteed a place in the sun and its own niche in the genre.