I’ll readily say I don’t play For Honor as often as I should, because every time I do get a chance to play it, I thoroughly enjoy the experience. The deep rock, paper, scissors basic combat system that features numerous modifiers and a quick eye for getting on top of your opponent deepens the further into the experience you get with an emphasis on battlefield management, which character and loadout you’re using and how well you know each map and their myriad foibles for exploitation.
It can be daunting jumping into the game at this juncture though, as it’s been out in the wild long enough that the barrier of entry against more seasoned blade-wielders might put you off. This has been something Ubisoft Montreal has been well aware of over the game’s tenure, and as they continue to support it post-release, they’re coming up with more and more uniquely engaging ways to subvert any apprehension you might have about jumping in.
One new initiative, which was on-hand at this year’s Gamescom, is the addition of an Arcade Solo and Coop mode that is short and sweet, but everlong in what it offers up encounter to encounter. I managed to get hands-on with this new mode, and opted for the Solo PvE experience and played with two new characters in Jiang Ju -- a once feared general from the Wu Lin clan, who wields a massive guandao
and Nuxia -- a bodyguard “betrayed by allies” with a thirst for vengeance utilising her unpredictable hook swords
The difference between the two is pretty clear, with Jiang Ju being more of a heavy-type but with fantastic reach, while Nuxia is obviously faster, but needs to be in close for proper impact. What was most rewarding about the handful of “Quests” I played (you essentially play through a round-by-round gauntlet of one on one enemy encounters, eventually finishing with a one on two) was just how quick it all was. Each round has modifiers added to the combatants, such as the enemies strikes causing fire damage, or your own, as Jiang Ju for example, being that successful strikes rewarded the player with small doses of health. These change all the time, meaning each encounter is unique, and while some encounters will have basic grunts attempting to interrupt your duel, for the most part it’s simply a challenge to out-attack your opponent as quickly as possible.
There’s just a handful of rounds before your quest is completed, which will net you cosmetic rewards as well as levelling up your character -- all of which can be carried over into the PvP game. Moreover, Ubisoft has made it that anyone who owns the Marching Fire expansion will be able to invite players who don’t own it into their game and everything they earn in that session will carry back over to their own Marching Fire-less game -- so, rewards all round. And finally from an information front, post-release Arcade mode will also feature weekly challenges, adding to the already “unlimited” concept behind the randomised modifier and challenge system.
For mine, the strength of this mode is in its quick and punchy nature, that couples with the rewards system and the ability to carry over all progress to the main PvP experience -- it’s a way to practise in short bursts, solo or with a friend, and grind your way into a confident position to jump in with those stalwart For Honor specialists without feeling too much like a nub, or blade fodder against their experience. Naturally this mode won’t technically set you up for the most dangerous predator of all: man or woman, but it goes a long way to maximising your chances of holding your own. We have video capture of the mode in play will add once we’re able to, but for now this was a surprisingly addictive and fun way to jump into a game I haven’t really considered deep-diving into, so Ubi has done a great job potentially pulling back players like myself with an experience that is just largely fun.
The Arcade mode is part of the Marching Fire expansion which is coming to all platforms the game currently lives on, on October 16.