I had every intention of playing For Honor on launch day, but due to a wrist injury I had to sit out. Instead of playing, I watched countless hours of other people playing via live stream, bearing witness to its incredible highs and frustrating lows.
It's now been exactly one month since its launch day. Several patches have been introduced during this time, and with that I've found myself in a position where I've wanted to play the game to experience it. So, I bit and purchased a copy on Steam this last weekend.
My initial impressions were positive. As you might have heard, For Honor has an outstanding presentation. Playing on PC, I was able to max out the game on a GTX 1080, resulting in one of the most gorgeous medieval worlds I've ever seen. Though, the graphics aren't alone. Combat is great with a controller. The weight and responsiveness of inputs made it really seem as if I was swinging a weapon at enemies, and taking hits when I made a mistake.
It wasn't until about an hour in that the game's core issues began to present themselves. At first, I was taken back by the microtransaction model of the game. "I just spent $60 on this game", I thought to myself, "why is this game advertising a Season Pass and currency to me as if it's a free-to-play title?" I would come to learn that the grindiness of the game lends itself to promoting these post-purchase transactions that have already cost some addicts hundreds of dollars.
Truth be told, I can handle an onslaught of invasive microtransaction practices at this point. It's become par for the course in most AAA games in this day and age, and like many others I've become immune to its presence to some extent.
The primary issues are just as widely reported and weren't relevant until I stepped into the multiplayer portion of the game. After waiting three minutes for a match,I was thrown into a castle in a 2v2 confrontation. The opponent before me immediately began rubber banding around the screen for one reason or another, making my first experience with online play memorable... in a bad way.
I would lose my initial engagement with the other player, which was to be expected given my lack of experience. It was at the very moment where I began thinking about what I could have done better that I received my very first connection error. And so it began.
I would eventually play five online matches that night, and two of them would be canceled due to server issues. While I had put a good 40 minutes into online play, I only had about five minutes of progress to show for it. It's at this point I understood why its active player base has been falling on a week-to-week basis.
I have no interest in playing the game further for the time being, and that's sad given how much I truly enjoy the gameplay and visuals. I can't help but feel more than anything, even more so than consumers, that For Honor as a game and IP has been let down. This is actually a very fun and at times extraordinary game that at its core has the potential to be a relatively popular competitive eSports title. Unfortunately, as I would learn, its peer-to-peer network and instability have undermined its execution.
And really, there are other hints that For Honor was rushed to market before it was ready. In its current state it doesn't have enough fighter options, to a point where I only found myself interested in three of the 12 available. This will, like many other things, be addressed in-time.
The worst part of it all is Ubisoft's communication has been only halfway where it needs to be. It's spoken about how it'll tackle leavers and AFK farmers, but has made no official statement on what's wrong with the network or what it'll do to address it. At this point even the most addicted players are thinking about calling it quits.
At some point in the future For Honor might be well worth your time and money. For the time being, I recommend sitting it out until major patches cast away the issues. Or, at least, that's what I would have told myself before spending $59.99 on this game.