So I participated in the For Honor closed beta test over the last few days. Now, I went into this pretty pumped. The concept to the game is pretty awesome. Some personal info about me: As a kid I was obsessed with medieval times because my fourth and fifth grade teacher did units about it that included projects like building an ideal castle for defense out of whatever materials we could find (mine was made out of old cracker boxes and paper towel tubes and had bitching arrowslits and battlements) paiting murals of medieval battles as a class and being knighted. And as an adult I’ve always had an affinity for the culture and concept of samurais.
Now, I’m glad Ubisoft has given us the chance to play this ahead of time, because lately (like many) I’ve had a much more wait-and-see attitude towards their games. Especially something that is pre-dominantly online (cough Division).
Here are my thoughts about it:
So, the graphics look good. I think they did a good job creating a convincing, well thought out environment. The characters themselves look good as well. The armour and weapons of each faction and class look interesting and relatively historically accurate.
Unfortunately, that’s about where my compliments end. Ubisoft has once again dropped the ball. This game is another Division or Rainbow Six: Siege. Great in concept, but failing in practical application.
First thing that struck me was how confusing the explanation is as to the larger picture of the game. I mean, I got it. It’s not that hard to comprehend. But you get a lot of information thrown at you very quickly. I guess the idea of territories being based on season outcomes is something new, that could end up being fun. But, right now, I’m not convinced. The other problem is that taking territories forces you into specific types of matches – like 1v1 brawls. Which, from experience this weekend, didn’t do a whole lot for me.
Speaking of game modes – I expected the whole thing to be massive battles with players functioning as some sort of hero.
Well, it’s like that and it’s not. Two of three game modes are duels. And they’re exactly what they sound like. It is just a couple of people smashing blades and hoping the other team dies first. Now, some people might like this kind of mode – not me.
The part of the game I had the hardest time with was definitely the controls. While the tutorial gave me all of the skills I needed to succeed in the game, it is a hell of a lot easier learning against a dummy that moves slow and predictably. When you get into it with other people – it isn’t as easy. A quick rundown for those who haven’t played it, you have two types of attacks – light and heavy and you can attack from three directions: left, right and top. To block, you need have your weapon on the same side. Now, I’m no button masher (though one does almost want to do that with the way this game feels, rather than how it actually plays), but I had a really hard time getting used to the way the controls work. During duels, I did poorly. It feels like playing a third person fighting game, in a 3D environment. You’re expected to make quick movements to block and attack, varying them to oppose your defense and protect yourself. Honestly, I’ve never been great at fighting games, maybe that’s why I found the game difficult to play. But, in all honesty, I think the game just plays really clunky. Everything is slow and hard to maneuver and it really shouldn’t be considering how reliant on those controls the game is.
Anyway, this is all conjecture. I didn’t like it. I won’t be keeping my preorder. But that’s me. You read this, so I assume you care what I think.
– The Ego