For Honor’s 1v1 Duel Mode Makes Combat Feel Personal and More Brutal

Last month, we got a chance to look at For Honor's rather ambitious multiplayer modes. Featuring robust PvP modes and customization options, the upcoming online brawler from Ubisoft Montreal looks to have a lot to offer players when it comes to intense melee combat. While the game is still several months away, the developers have got something in store

In the upcoming Closed Alpha, launching September 15 and closing out on the 18th, players who are among the small few to participate will be able to try out the game's classes and multiplayer offerings, which are vigorous to say the least. During Ubisoft's pre-Gamescom event, we were fortunate enough to get a sizeable amount of time to play with the new features and classes. While we covered much of what we experienced, we're now able to talk a bit more on the game's Duel mode, which will definitely bring the competitive gamers out in droves.

As a 1v1-focused mode, Duel Mode will have players who square off against another with only their wits and weapons at their side. Without any other AI soldiers or any other objectives to focus on, battles are purely about overcoming the opponent in front of you. It's like a modern version of Bushido Blade. After choosing your preferred class from the three factions, players will battle in matches, which are best 3 out of 5 rounds, set across the various maps. While the other modes and epic battles are great, the duel mode was where For Honor's combat felt the most pure.

Without all the distractions, combat feels far more intimate and engaging. Like I mentioned in my previous article, the fighting system gave me callbacks to classic titles like Bushido Blade, where one wrong move can lead to disaster, and that feels much more pronounced when you don't have the luxury of other teammates and variables at your side. I felt more impressed with how gameplay worked in the Duel mode, and I can see a number of players who are looking for something a bit more intimate to dive in here for extended periods.

As I've said previously, I do worry that the learning curve will be a bit too steep. After a couple hours of gameplay, which included a tutorial, I still felt like I was just getting the hang of the combat system. While it's great, there's a lot of nuance to it, so I was a bit frustrated that I wasn't able to pick up on the finer details of the gameplay earlier—which no doubt would have helped during the hairier segments of my session.

I admire a lot of what For Honor is going for, and seeing it become this odd title that came out of nowhere, to a game I've been itching to get back into has definitely caught me by surprise. With the full game launching next year, Ubisoft's online brawler definitely is one to keep an eye on.