For Honor, the Knights vs. Vikings vs. Samurai action melee combat game from Ubisoft Montreal, is shaping up to quite possibly be the best multiplayer title this spring. With a brutal and unforgiving melee combat system, called The Art of Battle, this game challenges you to learn attack combos and stance switching for blocking incoming attacks. You’ll also need to learn preferred attack styles for each of the twelve heroes since everyone has a unique skillset.
The medieval setting and lore of the three factions will be fleshed out in the full single-player campaign, and the multi-player lends an extra sense of community with the War of the Factions. This metagame within the game allows you to pledge allegiance to either the Knights, Vikings, or Samurai (I chose Samurai). After that, every match played, no matter which hero you play as, contributes points called War Assets to your faction. These points can be distributed to territories your faction is defending or attacking on a global, persistent, cross-platform map shared with each player.
The War of the Factions will run in seasons, and the faction controlling the most territory at the end of the season earns special in-game rewards (so go join Samurai and help us win). For Honor also offers armor and weapon customization, which is pretty much a must for me in any game. While not terribly in depth, you do have the ability to customize your hero’s outfit with different colors and designs, as well as upgrading pieces for better stats.
My biggest complaint so far is the lack of dedicated servers, which has lent to annoying matchmaking issues and lag related deaths at times. While peer to peer server hosting has some advantages, a combat system like this one requires fast reaction times and a lag spike can spell death in a match. On the upside, launch day won’t have to experience overloaded servers as seen in other AAA titles. Ubisoft has addressed complaints by saying their P2P system is designed differently from the traditional system and won’t give server hosts an advantage, but that they are remaining open to user feedback to make changes to the system.
After having the chance to play the Alpha in September and the Beta last month, this is one of my most anticipated spring releases despite my complaints, and I’m excited to see even more players join the community in the open beta late this week. The For Honor Open Beta runs February 9th-12th, with the full game release set for February 14th.