Stabbo! For Honor’s multiplayer beta is go

Ubisoft’s multiplayer swordfest For Honour [official site] is in the middle of a big ol’ closed beta weekend, so I thought I’d stop by and check in with y’all. I’m not playing myself — I’m not allowed near swords since a Dark Souls-inspired incident with a broom in the RPS treehouse — so, er, how’s it going? I know Alec enjoyed being a Viqueen in the alpha and I suppose I’m curious how For Honour stacks up against homegrown stabbers like Chivalry. For those not playing, here’s a brief infoblast.

So! For Honour will launch on February 14th, with both multiplayer and singleplayer action about vikings and samurai and knights throwing down because reasons. Not “because stabbing is great” but some overly-serious tosh about eternal war and gods and whatever. It’s class-based, with multiplayer progression coming through ability and equipment and prettybit unlocks.

This closed beta test started Thursday and ends on Sunday. If you signed up but don’t see an invitation, maybe check your spam folder? Or beg a pal for a code? I suppose watching others play is a last resort, and folks are Twitching and YouTubing all over. I can’t vouch for anyone, but I do trust that the Ubifolk playing in the official beta launch stream at least didn’t scream slurs and obscenities:

Ubisoft also recently confirmed the system requirements, which may be helpful for folks concerned about their PC’s sagging muscles. It’s a shame that betas have mostly replaced demos, as those of us who don’t get it don’t get to directly test it on our systems.


  1. Kyuurei says:

    I’m in the beta right now, only played for a couple of hours and it’s decent fun, but from what i’ve heard people that played for longer are getting bored of it already. I’ll hold my purchase at least untill we get some reviews and a couple of week of people playing it.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Most of what I’ve seen does imply the game to be a bit one-dimensional. Definitely a ‘wait and see’ case for me too.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      The game was clearly designed with a HUGE focus on its mechanics. The maps are just a little more than a arena, with zero strategic elements to it – objectives are very close to each other and the army surrounding you has little perceivable effect on the outcome of the battle.

      Therefore, all hangs on duels between players. The team with the players that can chose, acquire and defeat targets more quickly will surely win. Oh, maybe that’s the only place where strategy lies: it’s really hard to win a 1 vs 2 fight, so ganging on enemies is very effective.

      Now, since the game is completely dependent on its mechanics, than I’d expect something to the level of Street Fighter, King Of Fighters or a number of other fighting games. Something that’s dynamic, where you’re not just smashing buttons but choosing the right movement each time, pushing back and then being pushed. That’s where the game falls apart, in my opinion. The designers did a fairly decent job – the dual stick thing has its charm without being stupid. I can only compare it to Bushido Blade, and it can stand against that title fairly well… Until you play it for some minutes. The fighting is somewhat realistic. Moves are slow and not exactly responsive, so you can’t cancel moves or roll and deflect easily. And after a while I decided that the best thing to do was block and quick attack after it. Then the combat dries down, and you’re left with a game with little personality and a repetitive core mechanics.

      On a side note, there’s a thing called battle of the factions (or something to that effect, I forget) which is an attempt to add another layer of interaction for the player. You get some points (which are called something fancy, but are points nonetheless) and you invest it on a war like map. A noble effort, but my skeptical mind makes me see it as a loose development focus. Take other successful competitive multiplayer and you see little of those shenanigans in the core game.

      • Al Bobo says:

        Block+quick attack is effective, sure, but there are ways around it. Easiest is the guard break, when someone stubbornly blocks all the time. It’s basically a shove that leaves enemy vulnerable for a brief time. Then there’s feints to make it seem like you are going to attack from one direction, but you cancel the move and attack from another. There’s special moves that go through block. And lastly, there’s combos that can’t be interrupted by simply blocking and will often have faster follow-up moves that will punish you, if you try to hit after blocking.
        You could also try to parry to mix up your blocking game. Parry is done by blocking at the attack direction and pressing heavy attack just before enemy hit lands. When done successfully, your enemy is left vulnerable to even a slower heavy attack from you. However, if the opponent feints an attack by canceling it and you try to parry an attack that never comes, your character won’t do parry -animation but heavy attack and that is easy to punish.
        So, as you can see, you didn’t manage to find a fatal flaw in the system after playing 10 minutes. You just were pitted against players who had even less game knowledge than you.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        If you are button mashing and winning then, as is the case with Street Fighter, it’s because you are fighting shit players. Button mashing is extremely easy to counter.

        • HeavyStorm says:

          Not what I said… Button mashing doesn’t work at all. In fact, there’s a lot of skill involved in duels, and I lose more often than not.

          My point was that it feels repetitive, and, even considering the previous comment about guard breaks and counters, I think it’s a little simplistic to support a competitive game. For instance, are there really significant differences between the characters? So far I think not.

          The only thing that I haven’t seen yet is feinting, and I have no idea how to perform it.

          I think my comment came down too hard – I’m still getting to know the game and surely my opinion can change.

      • ShadowlessAllen says:

        Just wanted to comment about 2v1 being effective. It’s not against good players. If you time your blocks right you can take out 2 people pretty easy with the rage mechanic. It’s super easy to block a secondary opponent and it will generate more rage than blocking who you are locked onto, it seems, at least for me.

    • Menthalion says:

      The creeper mechanics are just for pacing the game, having a frontline that moves gradually instead of one wipe deciding the game. It’s a more engaging format than something like best of five TDM, layering in a bit of strategy.

      It’s what Monday Night Combat did with an FPS format, but this does it with Melee. In the end the melee mechanics will decide on the longevity.

      Chivalry had me hooked for 1000+ hours, even though their melee had some very basic flaws, the flow of combat was spot on.

      I’m not convinced with the melee mechanics of For Honor though. I’ll give it a try for sure, but I’m more excited for Mordhau. Their melee is akin to Chivalry’s, but fixed on a fundamental level.

      • Anguy says:

        Oh my god, you just made my day! I’ve never heard of Mordhau before and just checked out their website. It looks bloody brilliant. Nothing in the past couple of years got me as excited as this tiny studio has with their game which is exactly what I had been looking for. Thanks a ton!

        • Menthalion says:

          You’re welcome. I’m pretty excited about it as well, the melee has the potential for tons of gamemodes, I hope they’ll deliver on that in time as well.

          If not, here’s to hoping what they have now can support extensive mods or act as middleware. I’d love to see these melee mechanics in RPGs and Mobas as well.

  2. Banks says:

    Overall this is pretty fun. I’ve had cool moments and I get utterly destroyed by high level players, which should mean that it has plenty of depth.

    Still, there is A LOT to improve. The animations and controls are very slow and inaccurate, making the overall feel very unsatisfying, and there is way too much downtime between matches and rounds. Also, 4v4 is a total mess.

    And it has leveling and fucking lootboxes. I hate that garbage.

  3. Anti-Skub says:

    The game isn’t bad, but short matches coupled with no dedicated servers and the notoriously god awful Uplay Peer 2 Peer means you spend half your time in menus and loading screens.

    It’s just not worth waiting for.

  4. Hensler says:

    Still waiting for a melee multiplayer game to surpass Jedi Academy – was hoping this would be it, but probably not from what I’ve seen. I guess I can go back to pretending to like Blade Symphony, I saw 4 players online AT THE SAME TIME the other day.

    • DudeshootMankill says:

      I can recommend Chivalry. I effing love Chivalry.

      • Menthalion says:

        Seen the Mordhau vids yet ? They’ll launch their kickstarter soon, but the mechanics already look solid, and so does the modelling..

    • Faxanadu says:

      Dark Souls III is the best multiplayer melee right now. And that’s more like a multiplayer slapped on a singleplayer, so yeah. Melee’s are not doing so hot in MP.

      That being said, gosh durn golly I’d love to see Chivalry with Dark Souls combat. Would be amaaaaziiing. Well, maybe a bit less running and dodging so you’d actually have to do combat sometimes…. Or a Dark Souls MMORPG oooooh.

  5. Al Bobo says:

    I’m trying it now for the first time and it is alot of fun, when you start to get a decent grasp of combat. Heroes behave differently and this leads to exploiting weaknesses and playing mind games as your knowledge increases. Some players absolutely destroy me even after I played several hours against a bot opponent to drill my chosen character’s moves in my mind.
    Minions and capture points feel kinda pasted on top – the combat is the real meat and bones of this game and it works well.
    If games, where fighting is the goal, bore you, then this game is not for you.

  6. Asrafil says:

    It’s a good game, but I fear it will die faster than Evolve. I hope it has a good campaign to stand on.

  7. sosolidshoe says:

    My level of prelaunch interest in a game these days is usually directly inversely proportional to how hard youtubers and twitch streamers are whoring for it, and hoo-lordy they’re spreading like a five dollar streetwalker for this one.

    I’ll wait until all the “brand deals” are contractually finished and see how many of them volte face and begin shitting on the game before I even think about forking over cash.

  8. Creeping Death says:

    Installing it as we speak. Though I played in the previous alpha/beta and wasnt that impressed. People were favouring it to Chivalry but I found it much more… arcadey than that. It’s no where near as lethal as Chivalry was.

    It also just felt kinda… bad to control. Like even movement was a bit clunky. I guess I’ll see what they’ve improved on soon.

  9. 9of9 says:

    Played it for a little bit – connectivity has been janky, and the servers seemed to be in bad shape. 4v4 matches would get stuck in the middle of the join-game flow. From a technical side, it’s been very much all over the place. Servers not handling migration properly when the host drops out (because of course it’s peer-to-peer servers only), joining games only to get an instant ‘Defeat’ screen etc. etc.

    Combat is very pretty, but seems to confuse complexity for depth. There’s an awful lot of mechanics piled up onto one another all at once, only half of which seem to be explained in the two tutorials (the fact that there’s even more than one tutorial is hidden behind some very counter-intuitive menus). Hopefully with the singleplayer campaign there will be a better, more gradual introduction to all the mechanics.

    Mouse and keyboard controls are also pretty awful and it’s probably much better to play with a controller. Both in terms of combat and in terms of navigating through the awful UI. And it has one of those weird customisation systems that Ubisoft seems to like doing now, where you can unlock a myriad of samey, muddy-brown items for your character to wear with samey, tiny stat-boosts randomly associated with them. You have a really weird levelling system when your reward for ranking up after several battles is that you’re now allowed to use a diagonal stripe instead of a vertical one across the back of your dirty loincloth.

    It’s pretty and has a lot of promise, but so far it has mostly been tedium, frustration and clunky UI. Basically, uninstalled it a day later – hoping Wildlands proves to be a bit more fun!

    • bp_968 says:

      I agree. I signed up for both betas and really hope they also send me an invite for wildlands. It’s the only ubi game I’ve been excited about for years so I’ll be disappointed if I got picked for this flop and don’t get an invite for Ghost Recon.

  10. Lobotomist says:

    I dont understand why they will not have dedicated servers ( or any servers ) Peer 2 Peer , maybe works in USA or something. But not in my neck of the woods… never did.

    • Christo4 says:

      I don’t understand how they can claim to be oh so much about multiplayer, when they don’t have dedicated servers…
      It should be a requirement if you want to actually have a serious mp game.

  11. dorobo says:

    These tripleA dudes always have visual side nailed and that is what’s gonna make their sales and pre orders and all that. On the other end these indie dudes with Mordhau have a gameplay with real depth but they lack on the visual front. It’s all medieval stuff and what if i like samurais? If we could only somehow combine these two together..