This impression covers the Closed Beta Access I participated from January 26-29. Only Multiplayer was available outside of the tutorial with the following online features: 1v1 Duel, 2v2 Brawl, 4v4 Dominion, and Events. All 3 Factions were playable, each with 3 different classes (though there is rumored to be 4) and unique arenas based upon the Faction you choose that will offer level designs around that decision.
Throughout this article, I will discuss the different features of For Honor and my experience with the Beta Access itself.
Systems (s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Showcasing a much more mature approach to the traditional action hack and slashes we have experienced before, For Honor incorporates a new melee combat system described as “The Art of Battle. Offering the Faction roles of a medieval Knight, Samurai, or Viking, this title offers a brutal experience set in a beautiful and detailed environment. Combining what seems to be a more in-depth approach to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Dynasty Warriors, we see combat that is far more immersive than ever before.
The Art of Battle is a battling system in which the player chooses 1 of 3 stances (left, top or right) to attack and block with. How the player utilizes the different combinations is ultimately up to them and offers a more intimate way of melee combat then experienced with traditional hack and slashes.
Each Hero will have its own different attributes, abilities, and skills that will cater to each player’s playstyle differently. Using class-specific melee weapons, players will utilize different feats which grant different perks for a limited time such as health regeneration, buffed offense/defense stats, different assortments of attacks and much more.
Each Faction offered 3 types of classes:
- Vanguard – Well balanced, offering a solid defense as well as offense.
- Assassin – A combination of fast attacks and strong dueling capabilities but has weaker attacks.
- Heavies – The slowest of the classes but ultimately the strongest. Yielding high damage resistance and slow movement, the Heavies also swing the hardest and are useful with tank-like tactics.
- Hybrids – (rumored to be the 4th class in the full game release) This class is rumored to be a combination of the 3 and will offer uncommon skills.
This was the only option offered to players over the weekend and featured many of the similar aspects expected to be in the Single Player. A.I. minions, the battling system between players and bots, as well as the perks and abilities. Friendly fire is enabled as well, so if players attack a teammate on accident, they can potentially kill them. This will be the only option where players can customize the different classes, going as far as some rather deep modifications to the wardrobe, weapon and much more.
- 1v1 Duel – This game mode is the one that is mainly based on skill rather than character selection. Though upgrades throughout the game changed the way I approached combat overall if I couldn’t damage the opposition it was pointless how strong my weapon was.
- 2v2 Brawl – Players team up in squads of two and face off in an even more brutal take on 1v1 Duel. By utilizing different tactics, the player can essentially keep reviving his fallen comrade until the opposing team is cut down. This game mode becomes especially more challenging when a teammate is slain and the player is left fighting the 2 enemies alone
- 4v4 Dominion – In this game mode 4 players (or a mixture of A.I.) will team up against a team of 4 players or bots in a race to earn the most points. Players earn points by capturing and holding various points while fighting and defeating the other players and team. Once the score cap is hit, the winning team is tasked with hunting down the remaining opposing members and kill them.
- Events – I wasn’t able to experience the Events part of the Beta Access though I was informed it is based on gaining higher grounds for the player’s Factions through different match types. I will be able to confirm more when the game launches.
The For Honor Closed Beta Access, although lacking any sort of indication of the single player experience, was able to capture my interest to see what the full game entails. Although the idea of having your attacks (R1 for light & R2 for heavy) varying by the 3 different stances shows signs for a repetitious atmosphere but with the combination of abilities and perks, it looks promising that the experience can be played for a considerable amount of time. The combat was on par with what you would expect with an action hack and slash but it goes even deeper with the battling system. The Developers even went as far as allowing your guard breaks to knock players off cliffs or ledges depending on their stance and positioning while in battle. Different items can be scavenged from the battlefield after different battles and depending on the equipment you select, the player’s stats will increase in various areas. Ultimately the player can create a Hero to fit their playstyle and further enhance it with different equipment attachments. The grounds of combinations to find that fit seems almost endless.
For Honor is scheduled to launch February 14th, 2017 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 & Xbox One