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For Honor is Strategy and Action Perfected – Hands-On and Gameplay from PAX West 2016

by Kyle Hanson


For Honor was one of the biggest surprise hits at E3 2015, where it was initially unveiled by Ubisoft. The game takes queues from a lot of different action titles, but the end result is something that feels wholly unique and completely engaging. I got to take another look at For Honor at PAX West 2016 and the game is looking even better than before, showing off a gorgeous action title with the perfect amount of strategy to take it to a whole other level.

a gorgeous action title with the perfect amount of strategy

You can hear Will and my thoughts on the game, as well as check out a full gameplay session in the video below. But I also wanted to go in-depth on the title, since it’s become one of my most anticipated of 2017. Essentially, For Honor is what would happen if Dynasty Warriors got really serious about multiplayer and one on one combat. Players choose from famous warriors of the past, such as knights, vikings, and samurai. Within those are classes that we didn’t really get to check out.

Taking place in a large, but not massive battlefield, the 4v4 multiplayer mode that I checked out has players vying over three capture points around the map. By controlling these areas teams gain points, with the first to 1000 putting the other team into an endgame scenario where they can’t respawn. Combat is the main element of For Honor that sets it apart from other action titles, featuring a tense matchup where players square off and attack in any of three directions.

By selection one, either up, left, or right, your character will block incoming attacks from that side. You can also attack from these directions, using either a swift attack or a slower but more powerful strong hit. You’ll have to watch your opponent though, as they can block your shots as well, sending you recoiling and open for counter attack. There’s still more to the fighting though, such as guard breaks and throwing opponents, but that will take a lot more time to really get into and understand how it fits within the meta.


For Honor is extremely team focused. Sure, most multiplayer games can be won or lost by communicating with your teammates, but For Honor relies quite heavily on it. Fights between players are sometimes long affairs, and can be won or lost due to a single misstep. Having another player there swings the odds heavily in your favor, allowing you to flank, and attack from opposing sides, or just making it so the enemy can’t run away once he sees the tide of battle turning.

The tide of battle was the main thing that I took away from my time with For Honor. There are two fights going on at almost all times. There’s the overarching team fight, where you want to capture and hold locations and ensure your team has the most points. But underneath that are all the fights you have with other players, which become standalone experiences unto themselves. Spotting another player, working your way toward them, trying to get in a stealth hit, then squaring off and dueling is an exhilarating experience and was fun every single time it happened in a match.

What’s more impressive is just how well the skill gap is handled, allowing better players to fight back, even when the odds are stacked against them. Still, less able players have their purpose. Simply holding one of the capture points is vital work, and can be done without doing direct combat with another player. And even the worst player can push a 1v1 matchup into a total domination just by causing a distraction and attacking from another direction.

For Honor is feeling like the perfect mixture of high energy action and methodical strategy gameplay. I’ve been thoroughly impressed every time I sat down to play the game and am looking forward to what else it has in store. For Honor hits PS4, Xbox One, and PC on February 14th, 2017.

This is For Honor – PAX West 2016

- This article was updated on:September 7th, 2016

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