For Honor Really Surprised Me!

(Originally posted to Dreambubble on September 18, 2016)

If you’ve been watching the super big gaming conferences lately, you may have heard about Ubisoft’s upcoming game For Honor. It’s advertised as a third-person hack and slash game set in an alternate timeline where knights, vikings, and samarai duke it out for… honor.

*DISCLAIMER* There is a lot of blood, gore, and stabbing in this ‘M’ rated game!

The main appeal of the game is it’s rock-paper-scissors gameplay where you must position attacks and blocks to damage the opponent or prevent incoming threats. Think of it like the swordplay minigame from Wii Sports Resort but with a lot more blood. Now when I first heard about this game I got exited because I’m a big fan of the medieval setting, however, the initial pitch sounds a lot like another hack and slash game with similar mechanics… Chivalry: Medieval Warfare!

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Chivalry was originally a PC game where you also swung swords at other people, but it was the first game (to my knowledge) to do it extremely well! All attacks and blocks were relative to your reticle so you had to physically aim your sword to parry and swing. This made for very fast and chaotic battles where players had to use feints, jabs, and kicks to get around their enemies defenses. Because For Honors gameplay looks very similar to Chivalrys, I assumed they would also feel the same. I’ve spent more than 100 hours in Chivalry, so when I got in the For Honor alpha I was prepared to “wreak some scrubs” with my previous melee knowledge. Let’s just say it didn’t go as planned…

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I got demolished for the first few games because I didn’t understand the ACTUAL mechanics of For Honor. I would go sword-swinging without paying attention and then get confused when I died shortly after.

I spent an hour being chopped up into pieces before learning about the important combo system. Instead of focusing on landing individual attacks (like you would in Chivalry), you chain them together so the opponent has no opening for a counter. Whoever decided to label this as a “hack and slash” is completely oblivious because it actually feels like a fleshed-out fighting game! Instead of being fast and chaotic it’s slow and suspenseful. You focus on manipulating your enemy into a weaker position, not hitting them like a pinata. After watching the advanced tutorial for my character and practicing on bots, I finally started playing the game the way it SHOULD be played: Reading the opponent, blocking out of combos, and most importantly, NOT MASHING THE ATTACK BUTTON.

The combat for Chivalry and For Honor are both hard to fully explain in words, so if you need a better picture of how they work here’s two gameplay videos so you can see for yourself:
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
For Honor

What I learned from this experience is just because a game is SIMILAR doesn’t mean it’s EXACTLY THE SAME. Both these games do medieval melee combat with slashing and parrying, but little gameplay tweaks make them feel completely different! Don’t go into games all cocky like me, take the time to learn mechanics first before applying them. This advice applies to life too!

If you’ve played For Honor or Chivalry before or have other surprising gaming experiences, share your thoughts below!

CURRENT THOUGHTS:

I’m writing this in the present (8 months later) and I’d like to add some quick points about the rough release of this game. Ubisoft has been known to over-promise on games and spend more resources on marketing instead of making their games ‘good’. We’ve seen this with graphical downgrades of games like Watch_Dogs and The Division after release. In For Honors case, they released the game with GOD AWFUL servers and loot balancing. You’d constantly be booted from servers which prevented you from leveling up or even playing the game at all (since it requires an internet connection, even with bots). The players who actually managed to grind and level up completely demolished newbies with overpowered gear stats. Thankfully Ubisoft later fixed most of these issues, but only after the community threatened to boycott the game. This resulted in the playerbase decreasing by roughly 89% two months after release. I love For Honor and still play it occasionally, but I’m tired of falling for Ubisoft’s bullshit.

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