E3 2015: For Honor is as ‘Video Gamey’ as Video Games Get

So often in this industry, we’re inundated with details about narrative evolution, emotional impact and realism that we forget that video games, at their core, are supposed to be entertaining. It’s the ultimate case of missing the forest for the trees; by building a game that has contains everything other than fun, you’ve created something that gets away from the roots of what this medium started from. Sure, games like Journey and The Last of Us excel because of their collective ability to change what games are able to do to those who play them, but both of these experiences are enrapturing at their base level. While there is a place for every type of game, certain titles are exciting because of how truly gamey they are, and it’s sad that these games have come to surprise us. Ubisoft’s upcoming multiplayer title For Honor captures the very essence of why we play video games: to have a good time. Whether or not the final product winds up being a commercial or critical success is largely irrelevant at this point, as it seems like the development team is having an absolute blast making a game that hopes to be, well, an absolute blast.

For Honor is a four-on-four multiplayer-focused swordplay title that aims to change the way we think of competitive multiplayer games for good. By creating a “shooter with swords and shields,” Ubisoft Montreal has not only created a new genre, the multiplayer sword-brawler, but it has made a great deal of people (including myself) want something that they didn’t know existed until 24 hours ago. Think about it: For Honor was a game that was kept completely under wraps until the Ubisoft E3 Press Conference, and now it’s one of the coolest titles to come out of the biggest video game event in the world.

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Though we don’t know anything about it’s solo campaign yet, we do know that its multiplayer will lean heavily on a number of fascinating one-on-one battle mechanics. Because every action you take in battle leaves you vulnerable in one form or another, multiplayer showdowns will involve numerous sequences where two people are constantly trying to out-think each other. You go left, I go right; you go up, I go down. The combination of these quick mental battles, fluid gameplay and a number of intriguing game modes (including Ubisoft Montreal’s take on Domination, where players have the ability to temporarily gain and lose points as a result of their actions) have the potential to make For Honor one of the best multiplayer games we’ve seen in quite some time.

Watch or take part in any interaction with the From Honor team, and it’s clear that this is a project that they’re extremely passionate about. It’s damn near impossible to wipe the smiles off of their faces, and why wouldn’t it be? After all, they’ve created a game where vikings can decapitate samurai simply because, well, they can. For Honor is gorgeous and atmospheric, yes, but at it’s core it’s fun, and that’s what’s truly important. This is the type of title that makes me want to embrace multiplayer gaming like I did last generation, as the combination of fantastic swordplay, MOBA elements and novel takes on multiplayer gameplay have the chance to make For Honor Ubisoft’s secret golden goose. Don’t let the seemingly serious name fool you, this is a game that’s designed to bring a smile to your face…until someone lops off your head, that is.