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E3 2015: Hands-on Impressions of Ubisoft's For Honor
Two IGN editors went hands-on with Ubisoft’s new game. Here’s what they thought.
By Marty Sliva and Luke KarmaliOne of the big surprises of E3 2015 has been Ubisoft’s reveal of For Honor. Ubisoft Montreal’s 4v4 vikings/knights/samurai game provides the intense multiplayer competitiveness of a shooter with the melee finesse of third-person action game. It’s a weird thing understand from just seeing the footage that aired during Ubisoft’s Press Conference. Luckily, two of us went hands-on with 2016 game -- we both played as knights, the only type of character available at this preview event -- and lived to tell the story.
After you've read our impressions, check out 11 cool facts about From Honor that you might not know.
Considering 12 hours ago I’d never heard of For Honor, it’s remarkable how quickly it’s managed to slide its way into my affections. Maybe it’s because I came in with no particular expectations, but already Ubisoft’s new franchise has established itself as one of the titles I’m sure to pay attention to once this week ends.
At first glance, you may be inclined to dismiss For Honor as a reskinned Dynasty Warriors, but nothing could be further from the truth. The deep combat creates tense stand-offs, as it’s all centred on selecting one of three directions in which to block or thrust. Match your opponent’s blow and you’ll enjoy a successful riposte; get it wrong, and you’re gonna bleed. The result is a situation in which both you and your opponent size each other up, watching your respective blades flick from stance to stance, both playing defensively while weighing up the risks associated with making the first move. It’s simultaneously thrilling and engaging, while the blows feel like they have weight behind them. All-in-all, it’s quite the rush.
Of course, an added dimension is created by the additional three players on each team. Whether you’re facing down the entire enemy team at once or if you’re in the fortunate position of having your teammates beside you as you corner a foe, the resulting skirmish is pretty electric, especially as skill and the existence of friendly fire means a lone defender can easily get the best of his attackers.
But while this teamplay looks like it could be For Honor’s greatest strength, it could also be its undoing. Sitting with the rest of my team of four, being able to turn our heads and share a high five when we successfully captured a point, this really added to proceedings. On the flip side, if you’re like me when playing in the comfort of your own home, inclined to shun your headset and strike out on your own rather than work communicate and work as a team, you may be in for a rough ride.
For now though, it’s early days, and by showing me one class of Warrior and one map, For Honor already has it’s claws into me. I can’t wait to see what it’ll be able to do as we find out more in the months ahead.
I feel like a week doesn’t go by at IGN without someone bringing up how rad Bushido Blade was. Square’s one-on-one combat games for PS1 were wholly unique, and utterly amazing. Well, consider this E3 week a success, because I’m happy to report that For Honor brings back those fantastic, tense feelings of standing toe-to-toe with another opponent in armed combat, knowing that either of you could fall at a moment’s notice.
Slicing through dozens upon dozens of AI creeps -- yes, For Honor wears its MOBA influences on its sleeve -- is immensely satisfying. Leveling up your character, unlocking perks with every kill streak like group buffs, health boosts, and even the ability to call in a catapult strike brings forth some pretty great moments of character development. As I cut down waves and waves of enemies in the name of capturing a trio of zones in a mode called Dominion, it kept the matches going at a brisk pace. Communication with your three teammates is key -- knowing when someone should hold a point, or when someone needs reinforcement is the difference between a swift victory and a sudden defeat.
But once you find yourself against a human opponent, the whole game changes. It reminds me of those moments in any great sword and sandal movie where two opposing warriors meet in the middle of an intense battle, and time seems to freeze around them. It’s at these moments where For Honor feels the most like Bushido Blade. Reading your opponent’s guard position, trying to use misdirection in your own movements, and capitalizing on even the slightest mistake make each encounter a tense, rewarding battle.
There are still plenty of questions still surrounding For Honor in the time leading up to its 2016 release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. How the three classes of characters will differ; how the single-player campaign will unfold; and how deep the multiplayer suite is, all remain to be seen. But after spending 20 minutes going hands-on with a game that I didn’t know even existed until today, I’m happy to say that I’m eagerly awaiting my next chance to recapture that Bushido Blade magic.