For Hon­or has final­ly released and by now it is know the game is basi­cal­ly a 3D fight­ing game. Every­thing thing from mix-ups and foot­sies to revenge meters and char­ac­ter abil­i­ties are a reg­u­lar part of the game. This should mean For Hon­or suf­fers from the same prob­lems that most fight­ing games do, but it does­n’t. For Hon­or escapes many of the prob­lems of the genre in a way that has­n’t been done by AAA titles.

Per­haps the most obvi­ous prob­lem in fight­ing games is the input bar­ri­er. For new­com­ers moves can require hours upon hours of prac­tice to ful­ly mem­o­rize. This often leads to casu­al play­ers mov­ing on to oth­er games before they even learn one char­ac­ter. For Hon­or elim­i­nates these issues with its com­bat sys­tem. Every move a char­ac­ter is capa­ble of is done with at most two but­tons or a sim­ple move­ment. Now what takes count­less hours in oth­er fight­ing games can be done in a cou­ple of hours. This enables play­ers to actu­al­ly get to what many con­sid­er the fun part of fight­ing games in a sin­gle ses­sion.  

How For Honor Solves Fighting Game Problems

Ris­ing Thun­der employed a sim­i­lar tac­tic how­ev­er it still had a prob­lem where play­ers would fall to zon­ing or com­bos they could­n’t or did not know how to counter. For Hon­or still has a sim­i­lar issue how­ev­er to much less­er degree. Moves are slow and indi­cat­ed through both ani­ma­tions and on screen indi­ca­tors. Each move also only has three basic ways to be avoid­ed: dodge, block or inter­rupt with an attack. In turn play­ers are less like­ly to feel lost because they know there are only three options for them and they can learn through process of elim­i­na­tion. Play­ers will also have ample oppor­tu­ni­ty to test this because they can get into mul­ti­ple back to back fights in one game rather than 60 sec­ond rounds. 

Offen­sive moves and specif­i­cal­ly com­bos are also very sim­ple for a fight­er. Most com­bos in the game don’t go over 3 attacks and rarely do they leave a play­er unable to do any­thing. By not hav­ing long com­bos, a play­er can feel like they have con­trol and can do some­thing to stop the com­bo. More often than not play­ers real­ly can do some­thing to stop moves that seem unavoid­able. Two prime exam­ples are block­ing after being stunned by a Raider or inter­rupt­ing a heavy unblock­able attack with a light attack. 

Of course sim­pli­fy­ing com­bos and inputs isn’t new, but has­n’t been done often because the fear of los­ing depth. While it is still too ear­li­er to tell whether For Hon­or has enough depth to last years, there has been a seri­ous effort to do so. Each of the small num­ber of moves has util­i­ty and can dif­fer from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter. A Ken­sei’s heavy up attacks can become unblock­able, War­den’s light attack guar­an­tees anoth­er light attack if the first hit and so on. By giv­ing each one of the moves a func­tion beyond just its basic dam­age, play­ers can plan and think strate­gi­cal­ly just like they would with a game that has many more moves. 

How For Honor Solves Fighting Game Problems

For Hon­or don’t use unique orig­i­nal char­ac­ters like most fight­ing games. In fact most of the char­ac­ters in the game are more like arche­types and don’t real­ly have a per­son­al­i­ty. Some peo­ple may say that his makes them bor­ing how­ev­er this makes the game eas­i­ly rec­og­niz­able and approach­able. Peo­ple just see Knights, Vikings, and Samu­rai which have like­ly have pre-estab­lished feel­ings and knowl­edge about. It may seem like a small detail how­ev­er it cre­ates com­mon ground and an entry point for peo­ple. For Hon­or becomes the game where peo­ple can final­ly be the Knight, Viking or Samu­rai they’ve seen in oth­er forms of enter­tain­ment. In turn the game becomes much more appeal­ing to casu­al play­ers than oth­er fight­ing games with extreme­ly unique char­ac­ter designs. 

I don’t believe For Hon­or is the be all and end all of fight­ing games. The game still requires tech­ni­cal fix­es, bal­ance updates, and some of its mechan­ics (stage haz­ards, pow­er ups, etc.) can make it feel cheap. With that said, For Hon­or is a step towards mak­ing fight­ing games more acces­si­ble to a casu­al audi­ence. It won’t replace cur­rent tra­di­tion­al fight­ing games and I would­n’t it to. Instead I hope the game could spark the cre­ation of sim­i­lar acces­si­ble games that use ele­ments of the genre. These games could even be a gate­way to more com­plex fight­ing games and bring in new play­ers to the genre.