For Honor Season 5 Review – Blood, Sweat, and Still-Questionable Match-Making

For Honor

I have to admit that I used to be a big fighting game fan. I remember sauntering into my local city arcade with a pocket full of dollar bills, transforming them into handfuls of quarters (or tokens for certain arcades), and then heading to the nearest fighting game cabinet of choice. I’ve played them all—Street Fighter, The Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury.

When fighting games became big on home systems, I geeked out even further since I had access to straight-from-Japan games. Back then, the fighting game genre as a whole was taking more chances and being highly innovative. Two games stand out that exemplify this: Tobal 2 and Bushido Blade. Tobal 2 offered 3D fighting action along with clinching and grappling moves, much like today’s UFC games. Bushido Blade, meanwhile, set the standard for weapon-based fighting games.

Bushido Blade was very unique because it allowed players to roam freely around in its expansive fighting arenas. It also had set stances with which players could engage in in the hopes of drawing their enemies out with. There were no life bars and no time limits, just you and your opponent trying to outwit and out-maneuver each other.

Since the early 90s, fighting games have fallen into extremely restrictive guidelines. You had 2D fighters which played out along a single plane, and 3D fighters which were more like 2.5D since none of them allowed you to run around in them like Bushido Blade had. As the fighting game genre began to die out, their developer’s creativity seemed to dry up as well.

When I’d first heard about For Honor in 2016, I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, the game’s debut itself was about as wonky as Rainbow Six: Siege’s. Not only where there loads of bugs to contend with, but also some serious desync and matchmaking issues. I wisely held off of purchasing For Honor at that time, at least until they did something about the highly unreliable peer-to-peer networking system. I waited…and waited…and waited some more.

In fact, it took a full year for Ubisoft to get with it and finally introduce dedicated servers. By the time they did, in February 2018, much of its highly agitated player-base had moved on. Here is what Ubisoft had to say about the recent update:

“The implementation of the dedicated server infrastructure was announced last summer as part of For Honor’s ongoing development schedule. Following a successful Open Test in December that has allowed the team to gather data needed for the live release, the development teams are now ready to deploy the dedicated servers in For Honor. At launch, the dedicated servers will focus on PVP game modes and will fully remove the session migrations as well as the NAT requirements while eliminating most of the resyncing, resulting in a more stable experience and improved matchmaking. The development teams will closely monitor the situation to ensure a smooth transition for PC players before implementing the new infrastructure on consoles.”

The big “fix” was released alongside the rest of the regularly scheduled seasonal content (Season 5), titled the Age of Wolves. It not only included dedicated servers, but also including improved single-player tutorial content, some major overhauls for under-played classes and a configurable Vs AI arena mode.

So did For Honor rebound as expected, or had the game’s ship already sailed. Well, when I booted the game up right after the Age of Wolves update, I didn’t see any server lists at all. In fact, it was the same sort of match-making scheme—you click to play in a multiplayer game and wait there until someone joins you. I thought that there would be a massive list of MP games to choose from (or where you could host your own game).

When I did wait for a game, matching up with people of similar skill levels was hit or miss. I joined some 4 v 4 games where everyone was about on par with one another, while other times I’d get stuck waiting 5 minutes for a duel only to be matched with someone way more experienced than I.

For Honor, as a game itself, is a masterful melee-oriented fighting game featuring the same large arenas as Bushido Blade had. Graphically and mechanically it’s almost perfect. But with the game’s ongoing match-making issues, I’m not sure that it will ever recover even an iota of the buzz which once surrounded it.

SCORE: 71%

For Honor features outstanding graphics that make its fighting combat gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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