Starting your journey with For Honor, you'll pledge your allegiance to one of the three rivalled factions. Each of these factions contain up to four unlockable heroes which totals 12 unique characters for you to command out on the battlefield. Each character benefits from solid design and handles in their own unique way with some heroes having a long range but feeling slow and lofty, and others being quick and nimble but lacking weight behind their blows.
Combat requires quick-thinking and swift reflexes, as you're required to rapidly defend yourself from oncoming attacks and exploit any fleeting holes in your opponent's defence. Controls, for the most part, feel awfully smooth allowing for fluidity in battles. By holding LB (on Xbox One) and pushing the analog stick, you can block in three possible directions and by triggering RB and RT you can unleash light and heavy attacks. You also can counter moves, barge through your foes defences and push enemies to their peril off towering ledges and into seemingly inescapable pools of water. There's much here to master, and with such a varied move set, it's easy to formulate an attack strategy that suits best to your individual style of play. That being said, fighting groups of opponents is especially troublesome as alternating between targets feels clunky and it's almost impossible to defend yourself whilst being attacked simultaneously.
If you finish your opponents with a heavy attack, you also have the opportunity to execute them in a number of fantastically gory ways by pushing either the X or Y button. Whilst also feeding your lust for gore, executions work to extend respawn times in the multiplayer mode and can give you health bonuses whilst playing the campaign. Feats are also items which you can equip before battle and can be used to heal your team members, temporarily improve your stamina and allow you to attack through your opponent's defence. There are also passive feats, which can be equally as game-changing as they can work to bulk up your base HP and attack stats.
Before delving into the multiplayer an extensive tutorial section is available to help hone your skills and smooth the imposing difficulty curve. After growing tired of pummelling dummies, you'll then be challenged to a duel to test what you've learned and demonstrate your worthiness for battle. Following this, both the single and multiplayer modes will become available, but we would recommend trying the single player first, as it's a chance to gain further practice in a non-pressure environment. Alternatively, you can toggle on and off bots within the online modes if you'd like to get a feel for the various modes and how they're played.
Multiplayer is divided into five main modes; with two of the clear standouts being domination and duels. 1v1 battles named duels, are the ultimate test of skill, where you must rely on all but your quick-whit and ability to read your opponents to win the best of five unfolding rounds. Domination, For Honor's flagship mode, has a heavy focus on team cooperation, as you and your allies will work to dominate regions of the map and slaughter opposing players to rack up points. Once 1,000 points have been gathered the opposing team will start to 'break,' and the focus is then switched to a largescale game of cat and mouse to hunt down and eliminate any surviving players. This mode is especially bracing due to how quickly bases can be dominated, which creates a constant sense of urgency and a reliance on teamwork to ensure that all territory remains secure.