After spending four days playing the For Honor closed alpha I have to say, Ubisoft has got something here. For Honor is easily one of the most fun games I have played in a while. It is a fresh face in a sea of shooters and sports games.

In For Honor, you play as one of three main factions—Samurai, Knights, and Vikings. Each faction has a uniquely different play style, and each comes with four different classes of warrior. For the alpha only two classes were available for each faction, but the variety of ways you can play with each class really stood out.

The Viking Raider, as seen in the For Honor Closed Alpha
If you aren’t listening to Amon Amarth whilst playing as the Vikings in For Honor, you’re doing it wrong.

My favorite class during the alpha by far was the Viking Raider, a massive warrior with a large two-handed axe. He’s a bit slow, but he packs serious power. One of his more useful attacks was a heavy swing that is completely unblockable.

The Warden, a knight character, was another favorite. Easy to pick up, difficult to master. I must confess I didn’t spend much time playing as the samurai, but based on how they fought historically, they are just as you expect they’d be. Quick reflexes and devastating counter attacks is the name of their game.

The Orochi, the Japanese factions' counter specialist and overall speedy assassin is most assuredly going to get nerfed.
The Orochi, the Japanese factions’ counter specialist and overall speedy assassin is most assuredly going to get nerfed.

The combat system in general in For Honor is thoroughly impressive — it’s simple and addicting. As you get familiar with the game’s controls the possibilities for combos and clever counter-attack opportunities make for a rewarding experience.

The For Honor Closed Alpha left me thinking about far away February is, when it is due to release. For those who didn’t get to try the alpha, you can still sign up for the beta here. For an alpha, they gave us three maps to work with, and three different game modes. First was the standard 1v1 duel mode, next was a 2v2 ‘brawl’ and lastly was a 4v4 ‘dominion’ game mode which saw both teams attempting to capture three points across the map and hold them until one (or sometimes both teams) reached over 1000 total points.

Once a team reaches a thousand total points, the opposing teams’ heroes loses the ability to respawn. If the other eliminates all four players before the ‘breaking’ team can lower their opponents total points the game is over.

There are plenty of customization options in the game including appearance, weapons and abilities. Items and equipment are randomly awarded at the end of games — at least based on my personal experience.

The savagery of the fighting in For Honor is extremely satisfying, that being said—some of the classes need to be better balanced. It is only an alpha though, so it was expected that balancing will need tweaks. As mentioned earlier, the Orochi warrior is quite possibly the most powerful warrior, in terms of speed. As much as it pains me to say, the Viking Raider could probably use a small nerf too. Being as big as they are, it’s expected that throwing their weight around in a fight should be effective, but the tackling ability they have makes it too effective.

I am very interested in how this game will turn out and have already signed up for the upcoming beta. As I stated earlier, all of a sudden February feels too far away. This is a fresh face in a largely uniform gaming industry these days, and here’s to hoping Ubisoft will just keep building on what they have from here.