At its core, For Honor features hack-and-slash gameplay that explores sword fighting in group battles and button mashes. It's designed to reward skill development, yet not so deep that it drowns all the fun of typical hack and slash game. The player can choose between 3 legendary factions, Knights, Vikings, and Samurai. Each faction has 7 characters that the player can choose from, each having its own special abilities that the other classes won't have. A fourth faction exists, the Wu Lin, however they are not a joinable faction, and currently only have four Heroes.
Players will start with one character of each faction unlocked. The Warden for Knights, the Raider for Vikings and the Kensei for Samaurai. These Heroes are well balanced for defense and offense and are relatively easy to play. As a player progresses with a character, they will be able to unlock other Heroes in that faction.
When starting the game, players will be able to make their own crest. This crest will represent them in-game. Armor is customizable and will be a way to make your characters more unique. After a match, the system will conduct a loot search of the battlefield and if any was found, it will be made available to you to use on your hero. Players can also earn crest symbols that are not available at the beginning of the game. These are earned by ranking and gaining experience.
There are currently six game modes in For Honor, plus a practice mode. One is the Story Campaign Mode and the others are PVP related. The practice mode is for players wanting to learn how to move and fight without getting completely destroyed within seconds. Playing against experienced players in the battlefield when you are new can be frustrating. The Campaign takes a look at the game's lore for each of the three factions. Why has the fighting gone on for hundreds of years and who is Apollyon?
The PVP modes are :
- Duel - 1v1
- Brawl - 2v2
- Skirmish - 4v4 Point-based Deathmatch
- Elimination - 4v4 Elimination-based Deathmatch
- Dominion - 4v4 Capture Points
- Tribute - 4v4 Objective Capture and Secure
- Breach - 4v4 Siege
These modes can also be played against AI bots, or be a complete game of bots aside from one self.
The Art of Battle
This innovative fight control system called Art of Battle allows players to be the warriors they always wanted to be. It was created by combining two passions - weapon handling and multiplayer games. Its design gives the player a believable feeling of control over how they fight against their opponent. This presents a whole new challenge, but in a way that is fun and rewarding. Players will be able to block using three-way directional stance, feint their attacks to fool enemies, strategize and quickly adapt to incoming strikes.
There is no "block" button for blocking attacks. Instead, Players will block in the direction they face their stance, and attack from the same direction. Players will need to read their opponents carefully and react with the proper stance to block, parry and counterattack. As an example, with a controller, moving the right stick to the left, places the sword to the left side of the character's body. Moving it to the right, moves the sword to the right side. By reading the stance and weapon position of the enemy, players will be able to determine their next intended move.
Players can use the same mechanic to feint an attack and hope that the enemy falls for it, allowing them time to change stance and counterattack with a different move, possibly even an execution strike. All Heroes have access to the Guardbreak ability, which will make the foe vulnerable to attacks, unless the opponent correctly counters the Guardbreak.
You see a hit coming, you block, and you get hit anyway. Sometimes pretty hard. There are a couple reasons this may have happened (other than being slow to respond).
There are 25 Heroes total, each with its own special abilities but the basic rhythm of blocking and slashing remains the same... mostly. The standard block allows a Hero to stay in a blocking position until forced out of it. There are those however, like the Orochi whose blocking is reflexive and players will either need to keep holding the guard up if they wish to block, or retreat. Players will need to discover the pros and cons of each hero type. Heavies are better at defense but lack speed. Assassins are brutal offense players but can't take heavy hits.
Each Hero has their own unique combination of attacks between Light Attacks, Heavy Attacks, and other special attacks. Using the most of these combos and abilities will allow any Hero to champion their foes.
So how useful are you when you are dead? Players who have fallen and are waiting to respawn, or if a 'breaking' has happened (see Dominion mode) and they are hoping for a revive instead, they can still see the battlefield and help allies by warning them of impending danger. That's about were the helpfulness ends however.
As if swinging swords, axes, flails and who knows what else wasn't enough, the environment can kill players as well. Getting shoved into spike protruding from a wall, or getting tossed off a ledge can mean certain death. An ill-timed miss-step, and players can probably even kill their hero themselves. Using the environment against an enemy is smart gameplay. While getting pushed into a burning pile of rubbish may not kill them right away, getting pinned in one might. At the very least, it will do a significant amount of damage.
Feats. These are boons players can discover and use during a match. These can be rallys, heals or atillery strikes to name a few.
Capture points heal allies. The urge to capture a point and then run to the next might be temping, but in For Honor, capture points are a good thing to hang on to. A captured point will heal any ally the second they step into its boundary.
Remaining inside a capture point will also earn the team additional points. Since there are three capture points, holding one or more may not be easy while trying to capture the last. There are no AI defenders on the two outer capture points which leaves a majority of the enemy soldiers gathered in the center, making the center capture point the most difficult to take. While the enemy soldiers die often in one hit, they can hinder movement and do real damage if there is enough of them.