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‘For Honor’ refreshes video game monotony

New ideas still prevalent in an oversaturated market

Ian Davino, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 24, 2017

The video game industry suffers from an abundance of trends. Microtransactions, open worlds, first person shooters, any gameplay aspect that is shown to make money is snatched up by triple A companies and milked dry. These days you see many consumers opting to indie games, hoping for a new aspect that hasn’t been completely worn out yet.

That’s what makes it surprising that one of the more unique combat focused games was released by one of said triple A companies, Ubisoft.

“For Honor” is a competitive melee combat focused game set in a fantasy world where Knights, Vikings, and Samurai all exist in the same time period. There’s enough effort to make the world structurally sound, but it’s mainly just to have that classic historical matchup. Less focus on accuracy, more on enjoyable combat.

It uses a tri-directional system to adjust your character’s stance. The enemy attacks upward, move the joystick (or mouse) upward to block the incoming attack. Attack left? They need to block left. It starts out as a rather basic game of reaction speed – but the games swordplay is intricate and spiraling. Soon enough, there’s learning how to parry attacks, timing attacks right before theirs hits so you can deflect it.

Feinting, faking out attacks, luring the enemy to swing only for the player to attack quicker, or parrying their attack in return. It evolves to this level of messing with the opponent’s mind, reading their attacks, how they play — and manipulating that, leading to victory.

There is a single player story that practically functions as a long-winded tutorial to prep new players before jumping into the ever-changing multiplayer scene. While the computer controlled enemies are programmed well enough to give a challenging fight and reinforce the concepts of combat, the story itself isn’t very memorable.

The main issue of “For Honor” lies in the developer delay patching errors and connection issues. For example, a fundamentally broken character remained in the game for a period of several months before being addressed. It’s understandable that a game centered around various combat styles requires precision balancing, but it’s unprofessional and detrimental to the playerbase to take such a long time period to do so.

It uses an experimental peer-to-peer-to-peer connection, that has led to numerous disconnects or errors. Although there has been ironing out since release, there is a bit of a love-hate relationship between the game that provides gameplay like no else, and it’s apparent determination to not let people play it.

But in the end, “For Honor” is one of the few video games that captures the intimacy of combat. Every fight is a game of your prediction, three minute chess matches. It’s personal, brief, frustrating and satisfying. Continued updates from developers mean the content is still expanding at a steady pace, without any sign of faltering.

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‘For Honor’ refreshes video game monotony