'For Honor' Single-Player Hands-On: A Button Masher With Finesse

For Honor is an interesting game from Ubisoft. With a massive focus on melee combat, For Honor is looking to shake up the traditional online-gaming scene, replacing guns with swords and shields.

While we’ve already had the opportunity to try playing multiplayer, Ubisoft has given us our first chance at trying out a single-player mission in For Honor. Like a traditional brawler game, I found myself button mashing to get the most devastating combos possible, but also noticed there was more required than fast button presses to get the most out of the combat system.

The mission I played saw me taking on the role of a medieval knight, defending a castle from an invading force. When fighting, I could be in one of three different stances, ready to defend against incoming attacks. If an enemy attacks you from the same stance, you’ll defend the attack successfully. If you happen to be in one of the other two stances, get ready for a sword slash across your face.

Along with the different stances, there are two different attack types: heavy and light. Like all other games, light attacks are quicker and do less damage, while heavier attacks hit more, but are slower to perform. There are a few other moves included, like the ability to grab enemies, but they weren’t really explored in the mission’s tutorial – I only know about them because I pressed the wrong buttons.

Players also can lock onto enemies, making your attacks more targeted. Locking on is crucial from a defensive standpoint because it shows where your opponent will be attacking from, helping you to get into the proper stance for defending. It also keeps the camera focused on the action, with each encounter feeling like it’s own fight in a much bigger battle.

Moving through the level was easy enough, with a few one-on-one fights and some one-versus-many fights sprinkled in for variety. While mowing down minions was fun, the one-on-one fights were much more tense and engaging. Anticipating your opponent’s moves becomes crucial, because if you find yourself out of position, you’ll open yourself up to taking massive damage or dying. Unlike shooting games where it seems the player who acts fastest typically wins, For Honor seems to reward the patient player who is looking to move reactively against enemies.

Despite how intricate the control scheme sounds, I still found myself mashing the attack buttons without much trouble. Granted, I was playing on normal difficulty on what is probably the introduction mission, so I’m sure difficulty will increase as you progress through the campaign.

For Honor is definitely unlike any game I’ve played before. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, there will be a closed beta starting tomorrow, Jan. 26. Good luck tracking down an invite.

For Honor will be available on PS4, Xbox One and PC on Feb. 14.

So what do you think? Are you interested in playing For Honor? Do you think you’ll be interested in playing the campaign or online multiplayer more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.