So after coming down from the high that was Nioh, I decided to dive right back into some sword swinging action with For Honor.
I was looking for something short to play to kill some time before Horizon: Zero Dawn arrives next Tuesday.
What I ended up with sadly was a major disappointment and still 3 days left to kill.
I am a rather big fan of Ubisoft, there are very few titles of theirs that I don’t play, and I know a lot of gamers take issue with them and their annual AC releases, and other misses like Watchdogs 1 (which I think I am the only person who liked it)
So snagging For Honor was kind of a no brainer as I can typically find some merit in most of their stuff.
Sadly though there was little merit to find in For Honor.
Ubisoft has this weird ability to come up with an awesome concept, and then just drop the ball in the execution. Then they come back in 5 years (ala Watchdogs 2) and knock it out of the park.
For Honor feels like one of those games.
While the concept is amazing, real sword dueling simulation, in a very new intuitive way. What you get though is buggy and laggy controls that make for a very frustrating experience.
The combat works in kind of a rock, paper, scissor fashion. Where you have 3 stances, weapon to the left, right and top, and based on where you hold your sword, you attack, or parry. Not too dissimilar to Nioh, just with much worse execution.
This is the real downfall of For Honor, the controls are meant to be fast, as opponents strike quickly with hits from all 3 angles, and block you accordingly, but what happens is that when an opponent gets on a roll, they are much faster than can be blocked. This does not mean their attacks are unblockable, but if you miss that first parry, you can be struck 4-5 times in a row, often ending in a pretty weak death if you have 75% hp or less.
One saving grace is at least the reloads are fast, but they can be frustrating in some levels. You have checkpoints and some of them can be a bit of a ways out from the boss fight you were just doing, so dying gets to be a bit tedious.
Now I tend to play all my games on the hardest setting available, which in this case is Realistic. Now while not insurmountably hard, the biggest pain with this setting is there are zero checkpoints, so if you die, you go all the way back to the start of the level.
This is pretty rough, I ended up taking the difficulty down to just hard after the 10th death on the 1st level boss, and having to redo the 15 min mission to get back to him again.
There also appears to be a huge disparity in difficulty levels.
I had some crashing issues on the last level, where I was 3/4 done and the game just crashes and sends you back to the PS4 menu, thus having to start the mission 100% over, checkpoints are not saved if you close the game.
So in getting tired of redoing things on hard, I dropped it to normal out of sheer frustration.
Well the difference here is normal proves little to no challenge at all. Where an enemy could hit you for 1/4 of your HP in hard, they now take of maybe 1/10 max. And the AI goes out the window, with most enemies just standing there waiting for you to hit them.
So if you want any semblance of challenge, definitely go Hard mode, the difficulty is a huge jump from Normal. I also recommend turning off the indicator on where an enemy is holding his sword and attacking from, this added a lot to the experience as well, forcing you to pay attention to their movements and hand position, just another way to make things a bit more fun and challenging.
The game itself looked absolutely stunning on the PS4 Pro, things are crisp and clear and there is a ton of detail in the environment.
Sound was decent, but the voice acting for some character seems phoned in, particularly the female Viking, it really sounded like her first time voice acting and really took away from the experience. It was almost comical how bad it was.
The story itself topped out at OK. Nothing to write home about, and it was pretty predictable all told. The main villain seemed a bit too cliche, acting as a female Ares, a goddess of War.
Story mode came in at 7h 32min to beat, which is pretty dang short.
I know the reasoning behind this was because they focused heavily on the multiplayer aspect, something of which I cannot comment as I avoided it 100%
I have read nothing but bad things about it, and decided to skip it entirely.
From server issues, to really lousy sportsmanship, to just plain crappy tactics, what could have been a truly outstanding multiplayer game, becomes a real lousy experience all around.
Speaking of server issues, something to note.
Do not put your console to sleep in the middle of a mission.
The single player game for some ungodly reason requires a connection to Ubisoft’s servers as well. So the moment it interrupted, you will be kicked out of your story chapter back to the main menu.
If you sleep the console, this happens automatically and you will have to start the chapter over from scratch. So try and quit once you finish a mission.
The chapters themselves are not terribly long, most are 10-15 mins each. There is a total of 18 chapters, 6 per faction, Knights, Vikings and Samurai. There are a couple though that push the 45 min to an hour mark, so just be wary you could be set back should you have to leave suddenly.
All in all a rather disappointing game, that we will hopefully see an amazing sequel to in the years to come.
But for now, I would suggest passing on For Honor, or the very least wait til it hits the bargain bin.
A thoroughly mediocre 6/10