For Honor: Everything You Need to Know

Talk about a bloody Valentine. For Honor, Ubisoft’s brutal medieval action game, launched today (Feb. 14), and whether you want a chaotic single-player campaign or a long-term multiplayer obsession, the sword-fighting simulator seems to have your number. If you’re eager to dive into a world where knights, samurai and Vikings do battle with one another for an over-the-top villainess, here’s what you need to know about For Honor.

What is For Honor?

For Honor is a historical fantasy action game for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Players can tackle a single-player campaign that tells the story of three factions at loggerheads with one another: knights, samurai and Vikings. (The game plays pretty fast and loose with history; we’re in this for the spectacle, not the factual accuracy.) There’s also an ongoing multiplayer mode, in which players can pit fighters from the three factions against one another and earn rewards over time.

For Honor

What’s unique about For Honor?

For Honor isn’t a standard third-person action game. The melee combat takes center stage, and dispatching foes requires finesse, patience and strategy. Rather than simply mashing buttons to attack, players must decide the directionality of each attack, as well as prepare their weapons for defense. These split-second decisions have the potential to make each battle harrowing or thrilling. If you’ve ever wondered why no one in a video game ever thinks to block attacks with a sword, For Honor provides a healthy dose of parrying for you.

Each faction has different strengths and weaknesses, and each one offers four different character classes, each of which wields a different style of weapon. Matches are strategic, unpredictable and brutal, whether you’re playing by yourself or online.

What’s the single-player campaign like?

In a medieval low-fantasy realm, three societies exist within a tenuous balance: Chosen (samurai), Warborn (Vikings) and Legion (knights). A warlord named Apollyon believes that peace can do nothing but weaken the three groups, and sets out to pit them against each other in a setup for a disastrous all-out war. The campaign that follows is partially doing Apollyon’s bidding, and partially working to thwart her schemes, as you take control of all three factions in turn.

How does multiplayer work?

For Honor offers five different multiplayer modes: Dominion, Brawl, Duel, Skirmish and Elimination. Dominion is the most expansive of the five, offering AI underlings and huge castles that need to be conquered and defended. The other four modes simply pit between one and four players against each other, to see who survives and who scores the most points. Over time, players earn various gameplay perks, as well as cosmetic upgrades for armor and weapons.

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Is For Honor any good?

So far, For Honor's gameplay seems tight and the story seems appropriately over-the-top. If nothing else, the game deserves some kudos for creativity. Massive multiplayer shooters are a dime a dozen, but massive medieval siege battles are harder to come by. They’re out there (Mount & Blade, and so forth), but they tend to be for fairly hardcore enthusiasts; For Honor appears to be much more accessible.

My colleague Sherri Smith and I played For Honor at two separate events, and both enjoyed what we saw. We’ll have more information available as we delve deeper into the game.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.