rAge 2016: For Honor hands-on

For Honor cover

Last time I wrote about For Honor, I got a little nitpicky with the fighting system and its authenticity. I promise I won’t descend into such levels of neckbeardiness this time, and focus more on how the game actually plays. Anyway, rAge Johannesburg 2016 has come and gone, and For Honor quickly became one of the most popular games on the show floor.

For Honor is an upcoming multiplayer game by Ubisoft, and it pits players in 4V4 matches to capture control points and cleave foes. The storyline takes a few liberties, and establishes a thousand year conflict between Knights, Vikings, and Samurai. For… reasons, these factions are fighting, and it’s clear the compelling narrative is not what will attract gamers.

In the rAge demo, players chose a hero unit from the Vanguard class. They’re basically the front-line fighters, with sweeping attacks and two-handed weapons. After a quick tutorial, a battle kicks off with one side playing defence, and the other attacking. The fighting system is the main draw here, and getting used to the intricacies doesn’t take too long. Players take a stance when guarding, either left, right, or high. All attacks come from the direction of your stance, and your enemy’s attacks are automatically blocked if you’re in the correct stance. It works great in one on one duels, but the system doesn’t cope with multiple attackers, and the game becomes overwhelming quickly.


Some elements of MOBA gameplay are present too – NPC mobs spawn on your side, for example, and rush the enemy. They’re little more than cannon axe fodder, and are satisfyingly killed in one hit. In the demo, character selection did not matter much, because each character essentially fulfills the same function. As such, it was very easy to switch from a Knight to a Viking, and they played largely the same. Characters did seem to have different special abilities, but the tutorial didn’t delve into those, and my Viking got cut down while I was testing them out. Interestingly, teams could mix and match heroes from different factions, so your Samurai can fight alongside Knights.

All in all, the demo felt promising. The overwhelming combat can be mastered by picking your battles, and the game feels unique despite all the familiar features. It was also incredibly well supported, and I saw expo-goers sprint to play it each morning. For Honor launches on 14 February 2017, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.