For Honor is set to release on February 14th, but Ubisoft decided to release an open beta of the game for free from February 9th to the 12th. I played For Honor at Gamestop Expo back in September and I had a blast, so I decided to try it out now and see what the game is like inside and out of gameplay. After playing around 4 hours of For Honor, the game I remembered back in September vanished into the wind, and what I did play in the beta is nowhere near as good as when I played 5 months ago.
Back at the expo, I played the game mode Dominion, which is capturing two different areas in the game while fighting grunts in the middle for the third zone. It was a lot of fun for those ten minutes, as for I was working with my team and playing against others who were just as new to the game as I was. The way the game is set up is that if the other team reaches 1000 points, your team stops spawning until you take points away from the other team by capturing other areas. It was fun, as for it was a second chance mechanic that got me on the edge of my seat hoping that the last guy alive on my team could capture a point. We lost the match, but we had fun doing it.
Dominion in the beta is set up exactly the same way as it was back in September. I played Dominion again, and it was a lot of fun, but this time, the whole second chance feeling was intensified. The match was constantly shifting; we were winning, then they were winning, then we were winning again. It was a lot of fun. The other mode, which is team deathmatch, was also like this too. On top of that, every mode can be played with any amount of bots, which was great because the multiplayer had some network issues, and the bots themselves were a real challenge to fight. On top of that, the hero customizations for each hero were fantastic, changing their weapon and armor stats, abilities, and clothing. So where did it go wrong?
When I first played the beta and was having tons of fun, straight off the bat, I noticed two big aspects I did not like. The first aspect was the faction war map. In the beginning of the game, you choose whether to be a knight, viking, or samurai. Your choice didn't affect what hero you played as, but what it did was put you in a faction. After each match, everyone gets faction points. With those faction points, you can spend it to attack or defend territory. The map gets updated every 6 hours with each faction gaining and losing land, and the map resets every 14 days. This faction war edition is unnecessary, dumb, and something I don't care about. it seems like a waste of time to try your hardest to grab territory and be all strategic on something that doesn't really matter, just for it to reset and you getting some cosmetic items as a reward. The other aspect was the Rainbow Six: Siege like approach to the game. The season pass will get you new heroes, cosmetic items, and boosters. Just from this, I can already tell that the microtransactions and the season pass will be set up like a free to play game, and that what For Honor gives me at $60 with not be a complete game. Content like heroes should be given to you for free, something that a game like Overwatch does well. But with the fun gameplay and the good use of bots, I thought that those aspects will be something that won't affect me harshly with my experience.
But then I played some more, and that was when I decided I won't get this game any time soon unless it goes on a good sale. What made me come to that decision? The gameplay. The more I played, the less fun I was having and instead, I was just frustrated. When you fight, you have the option to go into a focus mode, in which you concentrate on one enemy. In concentration mode, you can do all of the blocking and special attacks, while outside of this,you can only dodge and do basic attacks. The problem with this is that if two people go against you at the same time, you are guaranteed to lose. They concentrate on you, but you can't concentrate on them, because their are two of them. This was constantly happening to me, and the only thing I could do is run. But running was hard itself, because if two enemies are attacking you, you keep stumbling, which allows them to attack you more. Whenever this happened(and it happened a lot,) I would be incredibly frustrated. But even the one-on-one combat frustrated me as well. Enemies can spam a special move over and over that doesn't allow you to block or dodge until they kill you. One time when I was playing, one person I was playing against would bash me with this powerful bash that i couldn't block or dodge, which would knock me on the ground. He would attack me as I was getting up, and right when I was able to move, he did it again. And again. And again. that was when I deleted the beta and decided to write this blog.
For Honor(beta) is a game that will give you two hours of fun, then countless hours of frustration. Despite some good mechanics, fun hero customizations, and a good system set up with bots, the faction war map, microtransactions, and multiplayer frustration made me want to throw things in my room. I can't tell you if the singleplayer will be good or not. But if the problems in multiplayer are not fixed, then I can say that the multiplayer-which is the main mode of For Honor- will not be fun for casual players.