For Honor’s Closed Beta is Foreplay for Valentine’s Day

It’s hard to believe that after its announcement over a year and a half ago, the release of For Honor is now only a few weeks away. For those who haven’t been following our coverage of the development of For Honor, this is a game based on the true historical alternative facts surrounding the war orchestrated by Apollyon between the Legion, the Warborn, and the Chosen, or in layman’s terms knights, vikings, and samurai. The closed beta before launch allows players to play some of the multiplayer modes along with a taste of how the Faction War will play out.

A few months ago an alpha version was briefly released and the beta was essentially an improved and expanded version of that, this time offering the player the choice between nine of the twelve heroes that will be available at launch. The same multiplayer modes were present that could be played with out players or AI bots, which included the Duel 1v1, Brawl 2v2, and Dominion 4v4. The Duel and Brawl are both best three out of five round fights to the death, which are one on one or two on two battles respectively.

Dominion is the mode that was personally the most enjoyable of the three. Dominion is teams of four facing off against each other for control of territory. There are three zones in each map that need to be captured and maintained. Capturing a zone grants a team 100 points, and if the captured zone was controlled by the other team the team that lost the territory also loses 100 points, so an early lead in Dominion should never be taken for granted. Once a team reaches 1000 points the other team reaches breaking status and their heroes will not automatically respawn. Victory is achieved in Dominion by scoring over 1000 points and then killing all your enemies. In addition to the four opposing players, both teams will have AI soldiers that are essentially cannon fodder but do contribute to the on screen chaos.

Players can take on optional challenges called Orders to give themselves some bonuses. Some examples of these can be things like performing 50 takedowns in Dominion mode, reach a glory score of above 350, or play as a Warborn character ten times. Successfully completing these can give awards like steel, which is For Honor‘s currency that can be used on equipment upgrades and unlocking playable heroes.

The Faction War was a new feature showcased in the beta. This is the perpetual war that shapes the world map between the three way battle among the Warborn, Chosen, and Legion. With the Faction War being divided into six hour turns, two week rounds, and ten week seasons, a beta lasting only a few days will not show the extent of the effects of this feature but does give a feel for what this is. The player chooses which faction they wish to fight for and any war assets they gain from multiplayer and place on the map will benefit their chosen faction. This has no limitation of what character they chose to play, someone could chose to align themselves with the Warborn but decide they would rather play the Orochi from the Chosen or Peacekeeper from the Legion. Cross platform play between the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC is not available in For Honor but the Faction War’s results will cross all three formats. The Faction War is one of the more intriguing features of For Honor as the results will alter the shape of the territories controlled by each faction on the map, especially since it will play out over an extended period of time based on the results of player battles.

The beta didn’t really introduce anything that hasn’t been discussed on this site in previous articles. The single player campaign was unfortunately absent from the beta, but the multiplayer modes were as fun as they have always been. For Honor is a game we have been watching for a while now, and while we won’t know how well it turns out until February 14, the quality of the beta gives plenty of reasons to be optimistic. For Honor’s unique style of gameplay with its Art of Battle system and the Faction War shaping the map and scenery of certain environments have the potential to separate it from other action melee combat games, and while the beta did not introduce anything new to me, it did succeed in reinforcing my desire to get my hands on this game in a couple weeks.