Could For Honor be Ubisoft's next esport?
Ubisoft, the company renowned for games such as Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and Rayman, have taken an interesting turn with the release of their latest action fighting game, For Honor.
Now, some of you may ask, why is that? And it’s quite simple. As opposed to their previous blockbuster titles, For Honor seems to focus heavily on its multiplayer aspects, rather than its single player campaign.
As a diehard Dark Souls PvP player, I immediately got excited when I saw For Honor for the first time, as did many other players. Personally, I could instantly sense the games potential to take over the Dark Souls community, since the concept behind For Honor is simple enough, yet the game is complex enough to allow hardcore players to easily differentiate themselves from the casual R1 mashing crowd.
While some people may find the comparison between Dark Souls 3 and For Honor simply ridiculous, I believe that the two games share a similar combat system, but aren’t necessarily the same type of game.
Both Dark Souls and For Honor allow players to dodge, parry or simply outrange their enemies’ attacks. However, the most important and exciting feature is that both games enable players to ‘read’ their opponents, allowing you to predict their movement and even shape it to your will.
When I got my hands on the For Honor closed beta, I could feel its potential as a competitive game, as long as Ubisoft perfected the coordination, team composition and overall skill gap. Imagine a 4v4 team battle, in which all the players are nothing more than warriors on a battlefield, who cannot be bested by NPC grunts, but are essential to the tide of the battle. Each action and decision affects how your opponents play and move. Each battle is a pure mind game of whiffing attacks and reacting to each other’s movement. Each 1v2, 1v3, or even 1v4 makes your heart beat with excitement, as your revenge meter builds up. The comebacks are real and the gameplay is amazing.
While the 4v4 game modes brings in very few new mechanics as to 2v2s or 1v1s, which are a blast to play on their own, it does allow you to use certain abilities that can simply save your ass or completely change the tide of battle.
The question now is whether or not this game could potentially be an esport. Does it have an audience of players who want to play the game competitively? I believe so.
Is it simple enough for the casual viewer to watch and understand, but complex enough to maintain the interest of its fan base? Yes, in principal.
However, as with any game, For Honor does have its flaws. Some classes can do insane things, such as the berserker, who has a ridiculously fast attack, which doesn’t combo into anything, but makes it extremely difficult for players to counter and thus is incredibly annoying.
Or the raider, the one hero that people pick in order to simply throw their opponents off cliffs, so they don’t actually have to ‘fight’ them. Or the… You get my point.
Yet, as a Dark Souls player, all I can say to that is: ‘git gud’.
As long as you nail your timing, guard breaks can be countered, most attacks are blockable and with a little practice, you’ll soon learn the unconscious movement and fighting patterns of your opponents.
Of course there are other issues, with reports of disconnects occurring frequently whilst in the midst of a battle, but that’s not what I want to focus on.
For Honor is a brand-new game that came out on 14th February 2017 and while first impressions are great, it’s hard to truly judge the success and failure of the game, since its players still need to improve and get comfortable with the new mechanics.
In order to gain a full insight into For Honor’s potentials as an esport we shouldn’t hop onto the hype train yet, but instead, we should wait and see how the community reacts to the game over the initial few weeks.
Hopefully the hardcore player base will come alive and establish the future of For Honor.
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