Video Gamer Play // For Honor re-review – a troubled wargod finally g...
For Honor re-review – a troubled wargod finally gets into its stride
Sometimes the best parts of a game aren’t where its heart lies. If you want to experience For Honor in its prime, make a beeline for duels. Here, you’re free to savour the meaty wonderment of the game’s weapon-based combat system without distraction, away from the chaos of the team-based modes. A quick overview of the basics, for newcomers: fighters switch between left, right and top stances to launch or block attacks from those directions, as indicated by a three-segment shield icon. Each move burns stamina, and draining the bar will leave you as helpless as a kitten, so knowing when to ease off and catch your breath is key.
A year on from release, the system remains a terrific reworking of concepts familiar from 2D fighting games, spiced up with presentational elements from shooters – all the guard breaks, zoning, feints and psychological war of a Soulcalibur, fed through Gears of War’s over-the-shoulder camera. Duelling is where the game really sparkles, where the beautifully animated movesets of its vikings, knights and samurai warriors are easiest to dissect and master. It’s also where the game is most civilised, with players often apologising for hoofing you into those terrain traps, and thanking each other like grown-ups after a hard-fought encounter. But it isn’t where the heart of For Honor truly lies.
That would be in Dominion mode, a 4v4 mashup of Battlefield’s Conquest mode and the MOBA which swamps the finer points of swordplay in streak rewards and unrelenting ganking. Here, teams duke it out over three capture points, one suffused with NPC creeps who can be farmed to fuel secondary abilities or “feats”. Capturing bases fills up a points bar, and when one team hits a thousand points, the other team can’t respawn till it has wrestled back some territory. Where duels are often sportsmanlike affairs, here there is no fairness and no mercy. In Dominion you’ll scientifically dismantle a cornered knight, only for three other knights to rock up behind and kick you around like a traffic cone while your victim flees to safety. In Dominion, you’ll regroup on an objective, ready to reclaim the lead, only for the other team to wipe you all out with a ballista strike rather than killing you hand-to-hand.
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