With For Honor, you are a Viking invader in a hack and slash game. Unlike many others, it is not a game where you slice through hundreds of enemies with ease (as you do with God of War). Instead, you have to carefully chip away at your enemies until they die before having to move on to the next. It is similar to the early Tenchu games with a hint of the PS2’s Crouching Tiger game.
A Railroad Hack and Slash
Watch the For Honor trailers or the gameplay, and you will notice very quickly that the game is a railroad game. It is not railroading at the level of “Temple Run,” as there is a little wiggle room as you play, but mostly it is a case of following a single track with very little deviation or room to get lost. This is not a bad thing in this context, but it does damage the overall replayability of the game. The first level is probably the most railroaded; where you may get the feeling they are trying to train you up to play the rest of the game. For example, in one scene, the narrator tells you that you are supposed to slide down the big chain.
One of the best features of For Honor is that when you are with other allies, you are not the only one that is swarmed. People seem to be doing their own thing on the battlefield, which is rather refreshing, especially if you are used to modern FPS games. Some may find the combat a little slow, but that it part and parcel of the fact you are controlling a heavyset man with a weighty weapon.
Well Rendered and Expertly Designed
The cut scene graphics are almost up to the standard of realistic CG movies, such as Final Fantasy rather than Toy Story. Sadly, the voiceover is such a cliché that you may be tempted to skip the cut scene. It is the typical husky voice with “heard-it-all-before” tropes. They should have tried something new, such as Samuel LJ shouting about getting these M-F-ing Vikings off this M-F-ing boat. Nevertheless, once you have skipped the cut scenes, you will have to put up with the narrator’s annoying comments for a while.
The in-play graphics are very well lit, well designed and well rendered. You may become a little tired of the same brown colors reappearing again and again, but other games have done far worse with a far better palette. The character rendering is good, and it is easy to see what another character is gearing up to do, which means the blocking and dodging mechanisms work rather well and become an integral part of the gameplay experience.
The impact sounds are understated, but that is a good thing. Games don’t always have to have Marvel movie sound effects. It is good to be able to swing your axe and miss without having to hear a monstrous impact sounds.
There is plenty of room to improve your fighting skills. The fighting mechanics are not as complex as one may hope, but if you learn how to time your blocks, your movement, and your strikes, then it can make for a very interesting game. Obviously, you may run in and smash your way through, but it will damage your gameplay experience and probably lead to you becoming bored.
As hack-and-slash games go, it doesn’t offer you anything that you haven’t seen before, but it does deviate from the more popular slash-the-swarm genre that has appeared. Yes, occasionally you will be swarmed by enemies, but not nearly as much as you will with other games. This game is not about killing as many enemies as you can with one hit, it is about tactically removing enemies with clever strikes and sexy moves in order to defeat them one at a time.