For Honor, Glory and Sweet Sweet Executions

Written by | Gaming, News, Reviews

For Honor, Ubisoft’s newest sword-fighting, axe-swinging, shield-blocking title has a lot to offer players with the skills and patience to master their heroes.


By now you may have heard that For Honor’s campaign mode isn’t exactly a narrative masterpiece, but despite being a usually story-oriented gamer, I was surprised that I didn’t mind as much. After the first mission, which introduces you to the Warden, I was expecting and kind of hoping for Mass Effect-style loyalty missions for each hero instead of a classic story mode, but what we get is a hybrid of the two.

There are 18 missions in total, six missions for each of the three factions. Throughout the story missions, you play as eight of the 12 heroes – sadly, the Conquerors, Berserkers, Shugoki and Nobushi are left out. If you’re looking to try them out, you’ll have to do so in either training or multiplayer mode. Still, the chance to try out different characters is definitely one of the biggest positives of the campaign, as it forces you to branch out. Given the opportunity, I probably would have chosen the Kensei throughout the whole campaign, my favorite hero from the beta, but playing as Mercy, one of the Black Stone Legion’s top assassins, in the “Sabotage” mission started me down my path as a Peacekeeper.

Instead of a cohesive story mode, the missions are a series of flashbacks from the perspective characters which culminate at the spark of the Faction War. While the format of the campaign was intriguing there was a definite lack of depth in the characters, plot progression and overall lore of For Honor’s world. In a 2016 GameSpot interview, the game’s creative director, Jason VandenBerghe said, “We built the campaign so that if you bought the game just for that, that you would be satisfied even if you never went online and played multiplayer.” While I can’t say I agree, the campaign is entertaining and worth the play through. Being able to play missions in co-op is also a nice little bonus.

If you take the time to run around, collecting the Observables and Breakables, you’ll get a lot more about the history of For Honor’s world. They’re definitely worth rounding up because of that and the items bonuses, but I recommend doing a run through on easy. I got slaughtered a few times on hard mode trying to trigger an Observable, and fending off hard mode enemies is no easy feat. The Collectables can be a bit difficult to find but GamesRadar has a great guide.



The multiplayer centers around the Faction War, a cross-platform battle between the Knights, Vikings, and Samurai for control of the map’s territory.

Before the game came out, I read VandenBerghe’s comments about choosing your faction:

When I say “Knight, Viking or Samurai?”, I’m not asking you what your favorite is, I’m asking you what you value.

People who answer Samurai tend to value skill, mastery, honor, right? People who choose Viking tend to value freedom and expression, and enthusiasm and celebration, right? And people who choose Knight tend to value culture and defense and a sort of nobility, and sort of codes and that sort of stuff, right?

So it really is this statement about what do you believe in, right, which is just incredibly powerful.

Knowing this, I decided to hold off on choosing what faction I was going to fight for until after I completed the campaign mode, thinking I would discover my cause and stake in the war. I was sorely disappointed. Unfortunately, none of VandenBerghe’s talk of values was reflected in the story mode. I have no idea what I’m fighting for, but it in an attempt to keep this a spoiler-free review, all I can say is that it isn’t exactly for honor.

The multiplayer itself is a lot of fun, especially with friends, though our group did have some matchmaking and connection issues. I’ve tended to stick with the 4v4 modes, especially Dominion, because it’s much more fun charging into battle with friends and because I know most of the players in the 2v2 and 1v1 duel modes would wipe the floor with my Peacekeeper.

While there has been a lot of talk about the challenge and learning curve of For Honor’s Art of Battle system, with its complex attacks, guard breaks, and counters, I found it much easier to improve and actually enjoy the game once I found a character that fit my play style. All twelve warriors seem incredibly balanced and I haven’t come across a class that is inherently overpowered, so I didn’t feel the need to choose a certain hero or face getting repeatedly slain. A week ago, I would have told you that I hated playing the game out of frustration, but after investing several hours of training with my Peacekeeper, I’m finding the multiplayer incredibly satisfying, especially after pulling off a well-earned execution. I would definitely advise giving it time before you rage quit and trade in your game.

There have been some complaints about the environmental hazards playing too large of a role in multiplayer, but the game is meant to be realistic. Being pushed into a fire is going to hurt in real life, it should be punishing in the game. The Lawbringer I played with has been called a ganker for pushing people off of cliffs, but For Honor is a tactical fighting game – either avoid the cliffs like I do or adapt and use them to your advantage.

Customization and Reputation

More than the Faction War, what’s really keeping me in the game are the customization options for my hero because I’m a sucker for having a badass looking character. Besides the normal gear and weapon customization, there are endless options for your character’s appearance from paint patterns to helmet ornaments to color palettes as well as hero-specific emotes and executions.

You can unlock new gear, weapons and appearance options in a variety of ways – competing for story mode objectives, playing multiplayer matches, unlocking them through Ubisoft Club, buying them with steel, For Honor’s in-game currency and, of course, increasing your Reputation. Be sure to complete both training modes, as they give you a cumulative 2,500 steel and complete Orders in multiplayer for XP and steel.

Overall, For Honor is a challenge worth the effort it takes to master and, unlike many games, it becomes more rewarding the longer you play. What it lacks in story depth, it makes up for with its intricate Art of Battle system and vast customization options that will keep you coming back for more.

Last modified: March 1, 2017