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Grudge & Glory

Being a long-time sword collectors, fans of the Medieval era and ancient weapon technologies… For Honor immediately attracted our attention from Day-1 of the “non-official” announcement! I mean it was a hit right from the start on our charts… and we’re going to talk about why in this review today!

7.0

Author's rating

Overall rating

Design
4.0
Features
3.0
Performance
5.0
Value
2.0
Overall rating
3.0
The good
  • First Of Its Kind Video Game
  • Amazingly Polished Visual Effects
  • Variety Of Multi-Player Modes
The bad
  • Hard Crashes & Generic Prompts
  • No System To Punish ``Dishonor``
  • On-Line Rank Matching Is Inaccurate

At the time of the Closed-Beta announcement, we literally could not believe our eyes as what we were actually witnessing. Here was Ubisoft, known for making massive FPS shooter style games announcing on a very low-key that they are working on a game which is literally a sword fighting simulator historically placed at the time of the crusades. It was just mind-blowing to see a new genera of gaming burning it’s path into a non-existent category of gaming, which was anticipated by Ubisoft fans for a long time!

For Honor! For Glory!

We quickly started following every single update, and revealed material by Ubisoft from that point on to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, till there was more content available for a complete review. Then magically one day, we get an invitation from Ubisoft, to attend their Ubilounge and check out some of the games which were on the drawing board at the time. This included Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon as well… as all these hit games from Ubisoft were being developed all at the same time.

The first time we actually had a hands experience with For Honor was at the time of “pre” closed-beta, at Ubilounge, during the demonstration version of the game, which was a combination of a tutorial, and a multiplayer arena setting, where you could get a quick feel of the character and the moves in a brief tutorial walkthrough, then head out to the open to get killed by other rookies siting on the other side of the table. It was fun, but most importantly it was absolutely NEW!

We have never experienced a game with this kind of realism and attention to detail in the sword fighting arena. So right then and there we instantly knew that this game is going to be a hit. Not only because it was a new title, but because it was the 1st of its kind in the history of game making. I mean, quite literally there is no other game like For Honor out there in the market. It’s kind of like the Arma 3… when people ask us “what’s better than Arma 3?”… the answer is usually “nothing!”. Because there is no other game like Arma 3 out there… just like there is no other game like For Honor out there. This is a blessing and a curse… but it’s more of a blessing than a curse. I will talk about this in more detail below.

The Pioneer of TPSF’s!… Epicness On Another Level! – ALPHA Rogue Gaming Network

That being said, we started testing the Close-Beta of For Honor from the 1st instance it was available. This version was extremely cut and dry with only the core components in tact specifically geared by Ubisoft for testing purposes. They even had the huge Ubisoft logo on the screen at all times with a Non-Disclosure Disclaimer which literally told the player that Ubisoft will come after you with razor blades and lemon juice if the test version was dare to be published by anyone.

Nevertheless, after finishing the Close-Beta testing state of the game and getting a good feel of what are in the works to come… we absolutely fell in love with the game, hence ordering the Collector’s Edition right after the Close-Beta session! Being a gamer, an I.T. Professional and a sword collector, I can proudly say that For Honor offered one of the best Collector’s Edition item in the industry. I will touch up on this point in few moments, but it’s a shame that a lot of Tripple-A titles, which have been around for extended periods of time, still do not offer items which For Honor offered in its official release.

The game was exciting, even in early Closed-Beta stages… we kept a good track of the updates and the development progress by Ubisoft thought the development stages of the game. The changes this game went through as far as development goes, is tremendous! Now that I think about it, the game looks nothing like what it did at the time of the Betas. Which is absolutely a good thing in this case. I can’t say that for a lot of other games, such as Rainbow Six | Siege, but for this game… it absolutely spot-on rocked!

Menus got upgraded, characters got polished out… moves got balanced and tons of new items including weapons, shields, helmets and statistical items got added to the game progressively. The game had few balancing issues during the betas but eventually all of them got corrected, at least for the time being, before the game actually got released.

We had For Honor game pre-loaded and ready to go at the time of release as we were eager to get in and slay some Vikings with Orochi, which was our Primary character since Day-1. However, with high expectations and high emotions, we started to play this game of Honor, Glory and Comradery… to only find out that some of the major problems which were in the Betas, totally carried over to the final released version of the game. At first, we didn’t mid them as we were trying to get a grasp of all the new things that were added to the game. However, once this initial learning phase wore off, the problems became more apparent and frankly just flat-out upsetting.

One of the issues that got carried over and stayed with the game for extended periods of time, was the part where you had to choose between upgrading your hero after the match or skip the upgrade screen and go to the waiting queue. If by any chance you lagged a little bit with your decision making process and could not decide if you wanted to customize your character with the new items you obtained from the previous match, or flat out go to the next match… the game would literally kick you out of the session with a “generic error prompt”, that almost looked like a windows’ crash prompt. We’re not sure if the development team was not aware of this issue, or they were aware, but they didn’t care to fix it… whatever the case was, it felt like the game was unfinished. I mean you literally had to exit to the main screen, then look for another match with the reset filters, then get in and basically go through the same circle over and over again.

Having said that, this game is probably the only game which had major uses as such and was actually playable to its full extent. Yes, it was annoying, yes it would make you curse badly at times, but it was darn fun to be in a game with your 3 other buddies, going around slaying enemies and then cutting their heads off. It was pure awesomeness without compromise! It was like Mortal Kombat on steroids! The game felt fresh, it was not boring at all, it was super addictive and most important of all, it was extremely competitive. We could almost tell that Ubisoft will take this game to another level eventually, due to the competitive factor… and ultimately make it part of the E-Sports titles, which is happening right now!

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I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.After grinding with Orochi for straight 2 months, and getting him to Reputation level (8) and gear score of 144, we realized that the game is becoming somewhat stale, as our gear score got maxed out and there was really not much to do besides Duel with other hardcore players in the same gear score bracket. Even so, this was just flat out boring at times, because there was nothing else to do, as once you got the hang of the move list and got proficient with it, the character became somewhat limited with their abilities. There were literally about 2 movies in each category of the move set, and there were not many categories of moves to begin with. All in all, maybe about 9-12 moves maximum for the most agile character, as the game was mainly based on timing, realistic movement and physical possible movement to be more specific. While all this was on the plate of Ubisoft, they managed to release the Season 1’s batch of content, which introduced new characters like the Shinobi and the Centurion. It was exciting at first to find out about these characters and their abilities, however when we started actually playing with them or against them, we realized that they are extremely over-powering.

This brings us to the next segment, which is the balance of the game… or the “unbalance” of the game I shall say.

Initially, when the game was introduced… there were 9 heroes and 3 factions. These heroes where almost hand picked out of history books and themselves, represented very historically popular timeframes. It was impressive! Not only that, but these heroes were ultimately well balanced and did not need much tampering from development point of perspective… of course, only in the beginning. The game felt very practical and balanced for the most part with minor bugs and glitches in the Renown-System. There were few generic error prompts when you would get kicked out of a laggy game. Things that we hoped would certainly get fixed in the very near future. But, in general it felt solid. There was a counter defensive move for any hero, and everything was superbly balanced it seemed like. In this state, the game was really all about being good and having fast reflexes, as every move of your hand and mouse would have a lighting fast response time in the game… On the other hand, was the leveling up system, which was well thought out and absolutely fun to play with. For Honor is based on a “Reputation” driven system. Once you leveled up your character to level 20, the next rank causes your character to gain (1) Reputation Ranking Point, and the general ranker would drop down to 1. This creates a virtual ladder for the game to expand in the future when the player base gets overly saturated. Therefore, it was amazing to find out the game was designed to expand in the future. So regardless of the game being somewhat flawed, the core system was absolutely intact, and we loved it! Probably one of the very few games For Honor was, which we actually enjoyed playing while in this non-optimal state.

On the contrary, the game got absolutely destroyed by the development team about 2 months after release, as a lot of players started reporting “bugs” which in some cases were accurate, and in others just plain out complains about things they were unable to pull off with the characters. In other words, either they did not understand the purpose of the move, or they could not pull it off due to hardware issues. In either case, ultimately creating complain topics online forums and such, which pushed Ubisoft to make either buff the character or amp it up. But in either case… this entire complaining and trying to please the player situation turned the game into child’s play. The (Reputation-8) Orochi, which was slaying almost anything coming across its path in the initial release version, eventually turned into a regular character which would be killed very quickly in duels or dominion matches by rookie players who had absolutely no reputation once so ever! Why was this happening? And Who was responsible for this pathetic statistical carnage in the back of this wonderfully satisfying game? Nobody knows! But the reality was that the character we spend 2 months ranking up, now was as good as some of the (Reputation-1) heroes which were either rookie players or players who owned another character and were ranking up their 2nd character per say. In either case… it was ugly! We had to literally stop playing the game, as it was ridiculously frustrating, and flat out broken! I mean this was happening to a point where the response time between clicking the mouse button and the actual registered hit were at least 1 second off. This madness would go on for maybe 30 minutes before finally kicking you off the entire session with the “Generic Error Prompt” we talked about earlier in this review. Imagine that… just being thrown off the session with absolutely no explanation, except an error prompt. Huge slap on the face!

Despite all this, we continued to follow the game closely and periodically getting back in the game to see if there are any improvements. And to be completely straight forward, there were! However, this was around the time of the Season 1 content release, so there were 2 additional heroes released as promised by Ubisoft… Shinobi and Centurion to be more specific, and boy these 2 heroes felt award to play against or with. We’ll talk about this in more detail, so it will make a bit more sense from non-technical point of perspective.

When the Season 1 content was released, it was extremely exciting as there was a lot of leaked materials going around on the internet in regards a character being developed that was of an Ninja Origin. It was almost predictable due to the nature of the game; however, it was still super exciting. Sure enough, after the content was officially released, a lot of players started playing with these new characters, therefore exposing all the flaws these characters brought with them into the game. One of the issues was Centurion’s combination attacks, as it was extremely easy to pull off and it would cut through any guard or counter attack if the buttons were smashed fast enough to make Centurion unstoppable, even without Revenge!. Not only that, Centurion was extremely aggressive, completely disregarding all the counter mechanics of some of the core characters like Orochi or Warden. In short… if you wanted to be unstoppable, you picked Centurion. It would absolutely wreak havoc in the battlefield with its leap-forward front kicks and very deceptive spinning combos which almost 100% landed regardless of the hero you were playing with. I mean it was devastating to a point where we had to switch our main character Orochi for Centurion, because even Warden could not stop this guy.

On the other hand, there was Shinobi, which was this amazing looking Ninja Warrior, who came straight from famous movie scenes we watched as kids… more specifically the “American Ninja”. It kind of reminded us of the bad guy in the movie American Ninja… the commander of the Black Ninjas to be more speck. It was freacking amazing until we started playing against Shinobi to realize that this character was more of a “filler” character, more superficially created for the younger crowd of For Honor player base, because it was super easy to play with Shinobi, all of her moves were combination moves with few button presses, and She would pull off these combos effortlessly. In addition to this, Ubisoft decided to give Shinobi some very unnatural super human abilities, like the shadow attack, which pretty much had Shinobi move around while in this untouchable shadow state, where at the end, he would take a good chunk of your health without you even getting a chance to counter it.

Very quickly this became of the signature “cheat” moves of almost all Shinobi players, leaving the game absolutely feeling hopeless. Imagine having a Reputation 8 character absolutely powerless in front of these new characters which were under developed, not very well thought out as far as “fitting the character into the existing statistical system” goes… so it overpowered almost every character in the game senselessly and forcing tons of dedicated players like ourselves which have been with this game since the Close-Beta stages, to just abandon ship and move to other games.

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That was the experience of this amazing game For Honor in its beginning stages. Eventually with the Season 2 content and also with the season 3 content, majority of these bugs and errors go corrected. However not completely as recently we were watching a For Honor tournament sponsored by Ubisoft where one of the key players in the competition was using an exploit with Nobushi to gain an upper hand advantage against other heroes. More specially, he was using this “Unlock-Tech” which was a huge aggravation even from the beginning of For Honor, which allowed him to basically create an attack that cannot be blocked or parried by the other player. In the hands of a skilled player like Jakub Palen for example, it’s absolutely unbeatable! That being said, For Honor is almost at the stages of being an E-Sports Contender in the very near future. If these types of exploits still exist in the game, which were present in beginning stage of the game and have not been corrected yet, despite the game being rolled into Season 3… then we hardly believe For Honor will be a E-Sports contender, as nobody likes to lose to a cheater, and we all know… if there is an exploit in a game, it will 100% be used by the player guaranteed! And that is unacceptable by a company which is famous for hammering out Triple-A titles!

The final judgement For Honor is surprisingly positive despite all the frustrating moments we had to live through while playing this game. For Honor truly falls under the “New Genre” of gaming, as there is absolutely no other game which you can play to mimic For Honor in any way. Since this game was the eye opener of a new generation of gaming, it came with an extremely valuable Collector’s Edition, which includes the metal helmets of each faction… extremely well detailed, a bit heavy due to the metal workings of the helmets, and a nice background lithograph which can be used for enhancing the display of the main item. It’s just overall win-win when it comes to the Collector’s Edition of For Honor. If you are a fan of the ancient world and the ancient warriors, this game is for you! There is literally no other game in the market which will satisfy your deep urge to grab a sword, hop into your favorite armor, crank up the stats of your character while enjoying the details of your accomplishments and wreak havoc in a team deathmatch against other players who feel the same! The game is all about Honor and Respect! However, you can find very little of that in the actual matches… but whatever the case is, For Honor delivers on multiple layers like no other game ever did in this arena!

If you have not looked into For Honor yet and you are interested in this one of a kind beast of a game… then you’re in for a treat! Order the game, and the Season Pass for that matter… and if you are as passionate as we are about the Medieval Era, and the ways of these ancient warriors, you should then absolute pick up the Collector’s Edition of For Honor as well… you will not be disappointed that is for sure, and you can thank yourself later for not only owning an awesome piece of collectable, but also being part of this history in the making, which makes For Honor the 1st ever created, First Person Sword Combat Simulator in history! Yes… it’s a big deal, and there is not much love for this game out there yet, due to its super competitive nature. But if we take a step back, and look at this game from historical, technical, categorical, and hierarchical point of perspective. It’s the first of its kind and it’s a genius Masterpiece!
Having said that… Deus Vult! We’ll see you on the battlefield!

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