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Review: For Honor (PC)

 

 
Overview
 

Game Length: 6 hours (campaign)
 
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Annecy, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Toronto
 
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
 
Platform(s): PC (reviewed) | PlayStation 4 | Xbox One
 
Release Date: 14 February 2017
 
Platform:
 
Gameplay
8.0


 
Visuals
8.0


 
Audio
7.0


 
Gratification
3.0


 
Value for Money
3.0


 
Total Score
5.8
5.8/10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Positives


Engrossing swordplay

Negatives


Peer-to-peer | Unable to play MP | Short, uninspired SP campaign | Where are the scabbards?


Bottom Line

For Honor promises much, but we can’t write about multiplayer modes we aren’t able to play.




15
Posted February 21, 2017 by

 
Full Article
 
 

For Honor grabbed my attention a long time ago, with its interesting take on the way sword combat works. It was complex but natural and led to cool moments in one-on-one duels about honor, glory and victory, outwitting your opponent and driving your blade home. However, without the emotions attached to beating another human in a game, For Honor loses a critical component. Or at least I have lost that component, because the multiplayer is completely inaccessible right now.

I want to love For Honor, I really do. But the short, contrived singleplayer campaign serves wholly as a training mechanism for a multiplayer component that I am unable to access. After spending most of Sunday and Monday trying to access multiplayer content, sitting through long matchmaking queues to only run into error message after error message. In all this time, the game’s counter says I have spent 6 minutes in PVP. The majority of that time is loading screens, I would guess, and one game against bots where the bots would sometimes teleport in and out of combat.

Peer to problem

For Honor has been out for a week now and the matchmaking issues are not unique to PC, though it seems the PC has the most matchmaking issues of the lot. Matchmaking takes ages to find a game, despite a cheery message of high activity in a game mode, and errors can occur during matchmaking, after finding other players or, and this one is the best, when you finally finally get into a game and start playing and get kicked with an error message. For a game whose heart and soul is the multiplayer component, this is beyond confusing. Instead of leading a charge and discovering that everyone else that plays this game is so much better at it than me, I get to watch an endless process of matchmaking followed by error messages. No thank you.

In essence the singleplayer campaign is a six hour romp built to teach you how to play the majority of the classes and how the multiplayer maps work

So what can be done in the game? The singleplayer content. The story follows the machinations of Apollyon, who wishes to teach people to become wolves again, feeling they have grown soft and docile thanks to years of peace. She somehow manages to pit three factions against each other, but her hope that war will last for months before they come for her are cut short, probably due to her all too obvious plots and schemes. She never explains why she wants war so badly, despite every level intro and observable item, a type of collectible in the game, being voiced by her. In essence the singleplayer campaign is a six hour romp built to teach you how to play the majority of the classes and how the multiplayer maps work. You defend points, help your army of grunt push up to a point and sometimes have enjoyable boss fights.

Thanks to this customisation of characters, you end up with some very silly conversations. With the knights you meet people like Holden Cross, Mercy, Apollyon and more but you are the ever helmeted Warden. At first it just seems weird, but it almost gets away with it thanks to an apparent lack of other wardens (similar to how using Shepherd or Inquisitor gets around cutsomisable characters in other games). There is a moment which is absolutely cringeworthy during the viking campaign where a large viking repeatedly shouts “RAIDER” at the top of her lungs, until your character arrives, a raider class hero. It is terribly executed and I almost couldn’t believe what was happening. Even the samurai campaign suffers from this, with every class getting a named character except tho Orochi, the Emperor’s champion.

Gritty, glorious combat

The setpieces and the combat are the true stars here. Working out how the combos, feints, unblockable and uninterruptible attacks all combing together into a fighting style takes time to learn and can only be compared to the complexity inherent in a fighting game. On the surface is looks deceptively simple, until you start looking into combos, cancels, stuns, parries and many other mechanics that make the whole system come alive. Each class has a distinct feel and playstyle, from balanced combatants to slow but heavy hitters and counterattackers that keep their foes at a distance. Working out how to kill someone isn’t that hard: the sharp end goes into the enemy. But finding out how to do it without the enemy even scratching you once, your defenses perfect while taking advantage of every opening your foe leaves, now that is a spectacle and a treat. Finding the gap, tricking the enemy into thinking they know where your next attack will come from. You feel the thrill of victory as you lop off your enemy’s head.

I can’t believe this hasn’t become the standard control scheme for every game

But how does that happen, and why is it so different from other games involving hacking and slashing? The control you have over your movements. Using your right analog stick (or your mouse) you can choose to attack from the left, right or top. Your character will move their weapon over to that side of their body, and an attack from the same direction as you are holding your weapon will be blocked, unless you are playing a class with a neutral stance, who needs to ‘lean’ into attacks. Your attack options are split into light or heavy attacks, a guard breaker or a dodge. Each hero uses these moves differently to chain together short combos, switching position of attack to keep the enemy guessing and find purchase through their defenses. It makes sense, it feels natural and to be honest I can’t believe this hasn’t become the standard control scheme for every game with a solid amount of time dedicated to melee combat.

I want to call this a review in progress. I hope to hop on one day and find the issue fixed but right now I am left with a bitter, cheated feeling. The game as it stands is not worth the money or frustration of sitting in a matchmaking queue again and again and again, only to have error messages pop up.





Garth Holden

 
Sometimes called the Dream Breaker, Valshen is often spotted playing anything with the letters RPG somewhere in the title or genre. Or apologising for things that his beard did.


  • baasg3n3

    this review reflects what I saw in the trailers, can’t believe Ubisoft thought this game would succeed.

    • Smuroh

      The game has serious promise and the mechanics are very well balanced even each of the characters are a lot of fun to play and take time to master and skill, where they went wrong is the whole matchmaking area and for some reason went the same initial route they did with Rainbow 6 Siege so i am hoping they fix the issue just like they did with siege.

  • DemonGamer

    Pc only problems ? Cause at 500 I would get this

  • Labeeq-Sama

    You disappoint me SAGAMER I have been playing multiplayer a lot and there is even a SA facebook group and steam. your review does not describe this games awesomeness.

    Metacritic (PC) 76/100[
    (PS4) 81/100[
    (XONE) 82/100
    Game Informer 8.25/10
    Game Revolution 4/5 stars
    GameSpot 8/10[23]
    IGN 8/10
    PC Gamer 74/100

    • Valshen

      So basically you are saying that because a game is scoring well in other regions with better connectivity, my problems are completely fabricated and should be ignored?

      I described what I could play: a lacklustre singleplayer mode made to teach you how to play multiplayer. If the multiplayer gets fixed I will look at it again and adjust score if necessary.

      Apparently the problem is less apparent (but still there) on other platforms.

      • Labeeq-Sama

        Peer to Peer is a problem because of NAT issues, adjusting some settings and opening a few ports should open your NAT(GREEN) but it doesn’t work for everybody as many people still have issues.

        • Valshen

          My NAT is green. But thank you for offering some technical advice.

        • Smuroh

          Sorry to say its not a NAT issue and not a net seed issue, there is a serious flaw in the matchmaking especially for local guys, and I can account for this on Xbox One the the issues are the same as what Valshen is having i have even opened the additional ports that they require you to do for Xbox One but i have yet to still enter a MP game beyond the 1v1 arena since the games launch, i bought the game because of how much fun i had in the closed and open beta but there is something very very flawed in the matchmaking/ P2P system, it feels as though the game is not catering for your “solo” player.

          This is an amazing game and has so much potential but at the moment there is a problem, I even have the ubisoft support looking into the issue for me even though they do take extremely long to reply.

    • Small Charlie

      I had the same issues playing in the Beta, it looks great, has great promise, but the matchmaking was an issue. It’s something I hoped would’ve been fixed before launch. And I did it on PS4. I saw there’s some other international critics having the same issues though, so I don’t think it’s SA specific.

    • Please do remember this is the PC REVIEW of the game, that’s why we’re here reading this… I look forward to a follow-up especially regarding the feasibility of playing this with Keyboard and mouse.

  • Treezle

    Is anyone surprised? It’s Ubisoft…

  • Dave

    Thanks for the warning, I guess this will be moving down on the wishlist to near the bottom thanks. I loved playing chivalry, which surprise, surprise, has dedicated servers. That was made by an indie company. How the heck a big company like ubisoft still thinks peer to peer is the best way to show off their product is beyond me. The motivation must be financial, as in in they don’t want to pay for servers or develop a system to let others host their own. But then people don’t buy the game because they can’t play it properly. So it makes less money. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Raidz19

    I feel the same. I can barely give an opinion because over the 2 weekends of the beta, I probably played max 5 games. and got disconnected about 20 times.

    I feel like it might get old soon ubless they release DLC. The mechanics were brilliant but it became a bit repetitive and later on I didn’t feel like going back for more (but this might also be about the server issues)