E3 2016: For Honor: A Knight, a Viking, and a Samurai Walk into a Bar…

What sounds like the set up for a joke that has a historically inaccurate and probably not funny punchline is the set up for Ubisoft Montreal’s upcoming hack and slash game For Honor.  Taking place in a world that is essentially an alternate history version of this world where Scandinavian Vikings, Japanese Samurai, and Western European Knights come together to brutally massacre one another.  Featuring both a single player campaign as well as local and online multiplayer modes, For Honor attempts to create a visceral combat experience that is deeper than the typical hack and slash.

The single player campaign tells a story that covers all three factions, during the course the player will control an avatar in each faction.  The tale will begin with the Knights, controlling a character known as The Warden.  The player will be able to customize The Warden including assigning gender.  The Viking and Samurai factions will also feature an equivalent character that the player will be able to build and customize however they see fit.

The reason for narrowing down the factions to knight, viking, and samurai is somewhat based in what each archetype represents, almost like a western culture personality test based on preferred method of melee disembowelment.  The knight would represent a desire to defend an uphold virtue.  The viking would lean toward valuing passion and living life to the fullest, while the samurai would be about mastery and achieving perfection on the battlefield.

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The world of For Honor is meant to be an exaggerated and exalted version of the real world.  When dueling with another player, the game introduced the “Art of Battle” system.  This is meant to make combat feel more realistic, where the player will have control over how a weapon is held and positioned and choosing what direction to attack from.  This is designed to give the player a feel for the weight of the weapon, and adding a depth to the combat that makes it more strategic than simple button mashing.  This system is not designed to replicate real combat exactly, but to recreate the emotions of battle.

The multiplayer modes are patterned after those found in first person shooters despite the fact the game is a third person melee combat affair, such as capture the flag.  With local and online multiplayer, both competitive and co-op, there are numerous ways to enjoy For Honor with another person.  This is fitting given its scheduled February 14, 2017 release date.  From viewing some gameplay footage, For Honor is making staying in and cutting out your enemies’ hearts seem like good plans for next year’s Valentine’s Day.  And with couch co op, it can be a bloody good date night.

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