There’s something unusual about being asked if you’re a knight, a samurai or a viking while you’re sitting on the floor of a convention centre in Cologne, but without thinking twice I replied ‘Viking’. Really this was just so they could give us a little wristband and a free t-shirt, but it started to get people a little excited for the demo. Sadly we were only going to be playing as knights vs knights in a 4v4 game of domination. But what a game it was.
Much like domination in other games, there were three points and you could capture them by standing in a circle on the ground. Unlike other games, there’s also a war going on while you’re trying to do this, specifically the siege of a castle. Hundreds of AI infantry and piling into each other at B, with the attacks trying to break a door down and the defenders trying to stop them, while at A and C reinforcements were coming in and you could get a good overview of the central battlefield. The sound production and visuals were spectacular and it really felt like this was a dynamic battle. Your main opponents are always the other players, but sometimes you need to clear out an objective and wading into the ranks is entertaining and relatively safe. My character also had an ability that inspired the other soldiers MOBA-style, letting them surge forwards and take the objective for good.
Unlike other games, the way to win wasn’t simply to get more points. Once you reduced your enemy to less than a 1000 points (gained by killing players and holding points) they went into retreat, and if you kill the players, they’re dead for good. This means once a side goes into retreat it’s a mad rush to track the players down and end their lives before they can rally up and capture a point, gaining more points and allowing their teammates to respawn.
The controls are worthy of note as the first time third person melee combat has been done well in this kind of game. You lock on to an enemy with the left trigger. You then choose your stance by moving the right stick in one of three directions, corresponding to left, right or top. If the enemy attacks while in the same stance as you, you’ll block them. If you attack when they’re in a different stance, you’ll hit them. There’s fast and strong attacks, as well as a kind of throw where you shove an enemy away, breaking their block altogether for an ally to strike them before they recover. If you hit them enough you open them up for an execution, which wins you some more points and looks pretty cool.
In our game (we only had one as the queue was possibly the most ridiculous in all of Gamescom) we absolutely destroyed the enemy, with me getting 18 kills and not dying once thanks to me getting to grips with the combat system before the others. Once you have built up a certain score you can use extra abilities, from heals and the aforementioned inspires, to a full blown bombardment from off-map catapults.
We can’t wait to play more of ‘For Honour’ and will bring you more news and impressions as soon as we get a chance!