PAX Prime 2015 Day 3 Recap – For Honor, Kill Strain, Master of Orion, and Cosplay!


Ubisoft – For Honor


For Honor Pax Prime 1

No press appointments here folks. I stood in line with the rest of the attendees for a good hour of my limited time remaining on Monday. No regrets. This game is worth waiting in line for! For Honor is the latest take on the hyper-realistic medieval 3D fighting genre. Unlike its competitors though that are focusing on European styles, For Honor branches out into other cultures fighting styles to answer the questions of what happens when Samurai clash with Vikings.

Unfortunately my match-up was basic European knights against European knights, but it was a fun introduction to the concepts nevertheless. Not too unlike the highly anticipated MMO, Kingdom Under Fire II, you and a team of three other player generals must lead massive armies of AI controlled peons to war against four rival generals and their minions. The mode we were thrown into was a dominion style bout to control three vastly separated points while keeping the enemy forces out of our castle. As such we had the defensive advantage, while they were coming from the wide open stretches into our narrow tunnels of death.

For Honor Pax Prime

First off, I can’t stress enough how beautiful combat is in this game! You have so much control over your broadsword, be it attacking or defending. 1 vs 1 general battles are sort of like a game of rock, paper, scissors, only that occasionally when you throw rock and they throw paper, you can punch the guy in the face and run for the win. There are quick stab attacks you can use to chip away at a foe that is too keen on over the top power swings. These fast attacks are easily parried, if you can block your blade at the correct angle. There’s just enough time to read tells in battle and counter, at least with the European knight style. However if you get too defensive, you may leave yourself vulnerable for a devastating power swing that will blow through your defenses and leave you staggered.

Combat gets far more intense when multiple generals find themselves in the same location. When close to a general you automatically lock onto them. When there is more than one there, you have to swap your view between the two to properly engage. Proper cat and mouse might get you a lucky kill, but it’s overall a truly bad experience you should try to avoid at all costs.

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As such one would think that sticking together as a group of generals is the ultimate strategy, but the massive size of the map makes playing solo a necessary evil to stay competitive. Running from point A to B on the castle map required close to 2 minutes, assuming waves of enemy minions, artillery barrages, or other generals weren’t involved in delaying the journey. Note: This is NEVER the case. Plus the wreckage of the arena can be quite challenging to navigate, with hollowed out holes in the walls and tall ladders become par for the course of medieval parkour. As if you didn’t need to do enough sprinting between control points, you will need to take breaks to push back the enemy minions from overrunning your castle (as the defenders). Generals have an ability to rally nearby troops, letting you do some serious push damage at locations where waves are clashing. While the minions will try to gang up on you, and their flurry of attacks can disorient you with the way the UI reacts as you take damage, they don’t actually do much damage. Only at one point where I was surrounded with agro from ten minions did I ever feel threatened, and even then I escaped only losing about 20% of my HP.

For Honor Pax Prime

Generals also have the ability to call in devastating artillery barrages, that act similar to how a grenade would work in an FPS. If you see an enemy general lift their arm with a forward motion, you know to watch out. A red circle appears shortly after, signifying where fire is about to rain down from the sky. This is certain death, whether friend or foe of the barrage, so be sure to ignore that sword protruding through your chest as, believe me, it’s lower priority.

For Honor Pax Prime

From holding control points, landing kills on enemy generals, and cutting through their minions, you will eventually rack up the required point total to enter end-game mode in For Honor. At this point victory (at least on the defender side) was achieved by perma-killing all four enemy players. Basically this end-game turns off their respawn potential. However they were still rallying points during this phase, meaning if they can hold out long enough to reach their point total, it becomes a no respawn situation for either side.

While For Honor isn’t in a state the devs attending felt comfortable for screen recording, the polish level is certainly clear. Every landed blow feels visceral and meaningful, and battles are fought with enough on the line that you’ll be holding your breath with every swing. I jumped foes and ended their lives in two seconds flat, and dueled to draws against others after multiple traded blows over 20 seconds. It’s all about twitch skill and strategic placement in this game, while tacticians will appreciate the rewards for knowing how to control the overall flow of the battle. With just knight battles, this game would be stellar. But once I get to see the various cultures going head to head, with all new styles to adjust for, I can’t even imagine how good this game will be. For Honor certainly holds my most positive first impression out of all the new games on demo at PAX Prime.

For Honor Pax Prime


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