When For Honor dropped there was a throng of day one Reviews, Let’s Play’s, and Beta VS Live impressions that were everywhere. Write ups, videos, blogs, live streaming. Ubisoft sure know how to drum up hype. At the time I took stock and decided I didn’t really have much to add to that conversation.
Two months later however, chatter has all but died. It’s at this time that really, these AAA releases need to have retrospectives. Take stock and decide was it worth the cash? Did it deliver what it promised? Did it even deliver a good game? So, I present you with my experience over the last two months of For Honor.
Now I’m going to be honest, no one here at D1DLC picked up For Honor and went “DAT’S MY JAM!”. We did all see its merits, and the polish that went into the game and its release were evident, but after both the open and closed beta’s we just didn’t really feel it. We’ve all played similar
hack’n’slash pvp such as Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Reign of Kings and thoroughly enjoyed them at the time, but the For Honor beta’s just didn’t grab us like the majority of impressions made you expect it would. This, coupled with persistent server connection issues which Ubisoft ensured us would be rectified by release, left me with a slightly sour taste in my mouth directly before release. Was it due to Ubisofts hype-train lead up and subsequent let down? Maybe, but only time would tell.
Release day rolls around, and none of us pick it up. That in itself says something about our expectations, if not the reality. We have a review copy on its way, but it’s not here yet. Issues with getting physical copies here in ‘the arse end of the world’. Plus they have to print custom upside down labels for us, so I’m told. When it does rock up I throw it in the PS4 and crank it that night. I am summarily reminded that I am a long term PC master race gamer, which is how I played in the beta, and not yet used to PS4 controls. I am also reminded that to compete in PVP you should probably be at least a little bit familiar with those controls. So like any good little chastened black duck I headed off to the tutorial/co-op campaign. I am so glad that I did. Not only did it teach me the controls, it elegantly demonstrated each of the playable classes available on release and wove an interesting story line between the warring factions packed with history and trivia through a discovery/collection system. Much more than just finding more feathers. I was honestly taken back by how enjoyable learning to play the game was, and by the time I finished the entire story, was pumped to jump into multiplayer.
By this time though, gamers with far less family and work commitments had been absolutely thrashing PVP and I was, yet again, reminded that I was not up to par and it seemed this is becoming a common theme. So chastened was I at this point that I headed to the grand font of understanding and knowledge that is REDDIT and asked what I should do to have any chance of surviving long enough for it to be classed as gameplay. Once my post had been downvoted to oblivion and I’d waded through the inevitable “git gud” responses, I actually received some decent advice. Mostly that I should be practicing in the VS AI scenario’s. Now, up until this point, I had not had to deal with wait times to join games. Obviously the solo campaign is locally hosted, and the true PVP servers seemed to have decent enough response times for my area with minimal (2-3 minutes at most) waits. My first attempt at VS AI took 20 minutes to form a party of four, subsequent attempts all seemed to take between 15 and 30 minutes. This has seemed to hold steady at least up to the time of writing.
I’ve made multiple more attempts to really ‘get into’ For Honor, but there is either a skill gap, or a learning gap that I simply can’t seem to find a way across. It also seems as though Samurai are, at present, clearly the strongest faction to play as. Based on my admittedly anecdotal research the vast majority of the classes played are from that faction, even if the players themselves is otherwise aligned. Some balancing in this regard is sorely needed.
Ubi also promised a “dynamic” system where the world would be changed by the performance of the various factions across the PVP seasons. With the cessation of season one just days away, it will be interesting to see how this is implemented, however I’m not sure if I’ll actually be hanging around to find out at this point. I do know I won’t be shelling out for either the season pass, or any of the individually released DLC’s, as I don’t see them adding enough to keep me interested.
My honest opinion right now is, if you can pick up For Honor on special I definitely recommend giving it a look, the co-op campaign is highly enjoyable. However with limited replay ability and a steep learning curve for PVP with little pay off for success, this gamers opinion is that it doesn’t stand the test of time.