After an entire weekend of hacking, slashing, cutting, thumping, and charging, the For Honor closed beta has come to an end. We’ve yet to hear anything regarding exactly how many gamers were invited, but according to developer and publisher Ubisoft Montreal, the closed Alpha in September last year was the largest they’d ever hosted. So think big.
As it happens, I was one of the innumerable lucky Ubisoft fanboys to be invited, so read on for the world’s leading authority on all things For Honor. Or at least, a run-down of what we saw in the beta.
These images courtesy of IGN Wiki page.
The For Honor closed beta offered us 3 core game modes, none of which exceeded 4 players per team. You’ve got the very personal 1 v 1 Duels, which are actually a great starting point for newcomers hoping to get to grips with the controls. Then there are the 2 v 2 Brawl matches, which follow the same ‘best of 5’ format as the Duels; last on this list is the 4 v 4 Dominion game mode, which pits 8 players in two teams (obviously) against one another in a small, 3-objective domination format battle. Dominion also features waves of AI soldiers, whose purpose is to fight over the central objective and hold it once taken. According to Ubisoft, the full game will also feature further 4 v 4 game modes, such as basic Team Deathmatch and Elimination.
There were 9 different characters to choose from in the For Honor closed beta, amounting to 3 per faction. Both Knights and Vikings offered 3 similar types of playable character: the standard soldier, the shield-wielding defensive class, and the agile, duel-wielding beserker. The Samurai differed slightly, replacing the shield with a long-range staff (which was, I might add, a royal pain in the ass) and opting for a reasonably well-balanced light character. The full game will include an extra character for each faction – that’s Lawbringer, Shoguki, and Valkyrie on the pictures I’ve provided. Every character is very, very customiseable, both in terms of aesthetics and weapon/armor effectiveness.
It’s difficult to tell how many maps we were offered in the closed beta: For Honor seems to revolve around 3 locations, each being the homeland of a different faction. The multiplayer maps reflected this, being set in locations reminiscent of Asia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe, often at the gates of a mighty fortress or on a temple bridge nestled in the mountains. The important thing to note is that none of these maps were particularly large, and all of them tended to cater to their respective game-modes: an altered 3-lane layout (with the central lane swollen to accommodate so many AI soldiers) for Dominion, and slightly smaller arenas for Brawl or Duel. Pro tip, from me to you: the environment is deadly. Try not to back yourself onto a ledge, because you may find yourself pushed from it.
Now, I know it’s not my best, but this is Dominion, and those are AI soldiers.
A fresh approach to ye olde combat mechanic has been concocted specifically for For Honor, making use of three core stances (operated with the right analog stick) for both attack and defense. It reminded me a little of sword-fights with humans in The Witcher 3, insofar as dodging and counter-attacking seemed – excluding signs, obviously – to be the most effective methods. Characters have their own unique move-sets, so make sure to learn those combo attacks because you’ll be lost without them.
What else? The introduction of a Factions War feature means that you’ll be feeling competitive even when you’re not in-game, as you permanently align yourself with one of the three and attempt to dominate the world map (which doubles as a game-mode menu) over the course of several ‘turns.’
Yes, you can emote. No, you cannot ‘dab’.
And I think, I hope, I pray, that’s everything.
The For Honor open beta will be available for anyone who fancies a go from the 9th-12th of February, and will include everything from the closed beta as well as an extra game-mode. The full For Honor game arrives on Valentine’s Day, much to the amusement of the gaming community.