For Honor’s combat is the kind of brutal melee I always wanted, but never thought I’d actually get to play. Its third-person action-game exterior hides a strategically complex fighting game, mixing team-based action with less interesting solo modes, all built on the most flexible and technically complete melee fighting system I’ve ever experienced.
For Honor lives and dies on its fighting system, dubbed “The Art of Battle” by Ubisoft, and it’s the reason For Honor is more like a traditional fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter or Soul Calibur than the hack-and-slash Dynasty Warriors it appears to be at first glance. Locking onto an opponent puts you into “duel mode,” for lack of a better term, where you can change your guard to block left, right, or top. You can block incoming attacks from the direction you’re guarding, and you have to read which direction your opponent is guarding and attack from one of the two directions from which they’re vulnerable to successfully hit.