Ubisoft’s much hyped medieval action title, For Honor, is less than a month away from release. It features an alternate world where vikings, samurai and knights fight each other in duels and wars with a single player campaign but focus primarily for it’s multiplayer the largest selling point of this game is the combat system called Art of Battle.
For Honor is a medieval-fantasy game that takes place after an apocalyptic event in an alternate world. Three factions have risen up fighting over what’s left of the planet. The factions are warriors from the darkest eras of our medieval history: European Knights, the Japanese Samurai, Norse Vikings. Players can align with any faction and choose a different warrior in each one specializing from speed to strength wielding an assortment of weapons. However, the selling point is the “new” combat system called Art of Battle.
On the surface, one would think it’s Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors clone with several AI units that you cut through as fodder and heroes that are overcome with excessive button mashing and that is where they differ. “The Art of Battle”, will remind players who are familiar with Mount and Blade, Chivalry, Dark Souls or perhaps the first Assassin’s Creed (sort of a stretch there), a combat system that based on a strike and counter method emphasized during combat. Similar to a fast game of mental chess, you will be guessing when to attack or defend in the middle of any battle claiming victory on your way. That is how sword combat was and is still fought. It isn’t a constant dance of swinging and slashing hoping to get business done instead opponents square-off and try to predict who attacks first and how to interrupt it. The Art of Battle seems to combine similar ideas from these games; Fights are initiated by locking-on to a target. There are directional attacks and blocks and the attacks differ from light and heavy strikes. You can setup the opponent at the same time avoid environmental traps. The other games mentioned earlier have either one or two of these features but not all in the same game. Keep in mind, slashing and blocking isn’t everything on the table, by the way, you have guard breaks, throws and several dodges to help stay in the fight.
The system has three stances left, right and high guard. While selecting whichever stance you’ll either block or attack from the direction the stance is in. If they attack high you block high and so on. This has more of an emphasis on creating counters. You can also do a guard break, a full body attack that opens the opponent temporarily to tackle down, throw into the environment or add another strike. Once the general moves are down pat. You will combine light, heavy and special attacks, the special attacks vary depending on the character that you choose.
It seems like a mechanic that is easy to learn and thankfully there is a single player campaign and people practice with that to get a grasp of things while enjoying a storyline at the same time. The Art of Battle might seem an annoyance or too much to grasp initially however like other dueling games that focus on attack-block gamers will pick up to it and enjoy it.
Now here is a video of the executions.