Ubisoft’s For Honor is a million miles away from the game you’re expecting. The studio traditionally makes ocean-broad, puddle-deep open-world games where the challenge comes from finding hidden collectables. With that in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking For Honor was going to be a fairly standard hack-and-slash. It is, however, essentially Street Fighter with bloody huge swords.
Need help winning the war? We've got tips and tricks in our For Honor guide.
For Honor is a deeply complex, skillful duelling game. It requires dedication, patience, and essentially boils down to a battle of wits between two players. You may need a helping hand. That’s where our class guide comes in. Our breakdowns of each class will explain the factors that make each warrior unique, and why you should choose them. Upon making your decision it’s vital that you then study their move sets within the game menus; it’s far more useful to use the in-game training than read reams of button inputs here.
The first class you’ll likely use are the Vanguards, who are designed as an all-round class. Not every Vanguard is the same, though. Akin to Overwatch and MOBA games, different characters within a class in For Honor have varying techniques and approaches.
Each of For Honor’s three different factions get their own unique spin on a class. In this case the Knights get the Warden, Vikings have the Raider, and the Samurai field the Kensei. Since the Vanguard is designed to be the easiest class, all three are broadly similar. The Kensei’s huge blade allows them longer range than the others, and the Raider’s bulk means he can literally pick enemies up and run with them, but swapping between them results in a feeling of familiarity. All three use the basic core principles of For Honor’s fighting system: moving your sword to the left, right, or upwards will block incoming strikes in that direction, and combinations of heavy and light attacks can be chained together. Provided you understand how to position your sword, how to block and parry, and how to manage your stamina, you’ll be able to hold your own against many opponents.
Your decision on which Vanguard to use will depend on more minute factors. The Warden is the most well-rounded (see: vanilla), and can use a shoulder barge attack to push enemies away/off cliffs. The Raider, as previously mentioned, can throw people on the floor like a bearded wrestler, but is the slowest of the three. The Kensei doesn’t have a run-and-bash attack like the others, but is much quicker and can perform swift side-step attacks.
Things become very different when you begin to branch out through the other classes. The Conqueror, a Knight Heavy who uses a shield and flail, feels entirely different to use. He rolls with the punches far more readily, with blows bouncing off his shield like hailstones. His flail feels somewhat less impactful than the Warden’s clanging sword, but when landing a perfect thudding blow with it you can crack skulls. You can even hold down the heavy attack key to charge up the blow. He’s certainly a heavy, and that comes across in the more cumbersome nature of his controls.
The Warlord, on the other hand, has an entirely different feel, despite being in the same class. He’s considered a harasser, and Ubi have made this clear by the way his weight feels powerful and dangerous, rather than armoured and slow. This Viking would rip your jaw from your skull and shout obscenities down your gullet. His sword is brutal and carves precise, weighty paths through armour and bone. The Viking classes seem to revel in the violence they cause, making them the more entertaining faction to play as.
Importantly, both the Conqueror and Warlord use a shield, which can be used to block attacks from any angle without adjusting stance. You’ll be locked into a defensive position when using this, and it costs stamina to maintain, but it’s a key tool within their ability set.
While the knight and Viking heavies have a certain amount of overlap, playing the samurai Shugoki is a distinctly unique experience. A colossal, pondering giant of a man, he takes an age to swing his tree trunk-sized club, but when it hits it practically halves an enemy’s HP. He’s also effective at breaking through guards and shrugging off incoming blows. Being so slow and heavy means that the Shugoki takes a lot of patience to use effectively, especially against small and swift opponents. If you’re prepared to learn the unique rhythm of his combat style though, he’s For Honor’s most brutal damage dealer.
The Assassin class is, broadly speaking, the hardest to master. They differ from their allies in that you need to be more active with your defence. Where moving your sword to the side with other classes results in a sustained block in that direction, with assassins you are required to repeatedly match the direction of incoming blows as blocks only last for a fleeting few seconds. Mastering this is absolutely vital to surviving as an assassin.
While this initially can be seen as a drawback, it actually offers Assassins a powerful tool. Between block stances they will return to a ‘neutral’ pose, which means enemies cannot study your body and match your angle. They’ll only know what direction you’re striking from as you attack, leaving them just a fraction of a second to react.
Both the Peacekeeper and Berserker are dual-wielders, meaning they can chain together frantic-paced swipes and stabs that can overwhelm the enemy. The trick is to keep changing the direction of your strikes. Combined with the superior speed of the Assassin, you’re likely to land a multitude of blows. Ideally you should use lighter attacks to keep the chain fast and flowing, and finish up with a heavy (multiple heavy blows are easier to interrupt).
The Orochi uses a single sword rather than two blades, and so has a slightly different combat approach. They don’t have to be as close to deal damage, but lack the same capacity for lighting fast, repeated attacks. They are far more effective counter-attackers, though, and so should focus on parrying enemy attacks and fiercely striking back while they recover.
Talking of counter-attacking, Assassins are unique in that not only can they parry attacks, but also deflect them. A deflect, unlike a parry, doesn’t break your flow, which means you can instantly follow up with a riposte attack. You can deflect by dodging into an attack at the moment you’d usually parry, meaning you should be dodging as much as (if not more than) you block.
Hybrid warriors combine the characteristics of the other classes to create singular characters that stand out among For Honor’s roster. There’s no unifying theme among them as each one controls drastically differently to the last, and all require a bespoke approach.
The Lawbringer is a heavy warrior that feels akin to the Viking Raider, with long-rage attacks courtesy of his gigantic polearm. While not as heavy as the Shugoki, his towering armoured frame means he strikes with similarly crashing thuds, albeit somewhat more elegantly. His attacks can stun enemies, so it’s wise to make the most of this. Disorientate your opponent and use this window to strike heavy and true. Such tactics should help you gain the edge over faster characters that, when not stunned, will outpace you.
With her shield and spear, the Valkyrie is essentially a Warlord with far better reach. While the stabbing attacks of the spear may not be as heavy as those of a sword, they can be astonishingly fast. The most important thing to master though is the spear sweep attack, which knocks enemies off their feet and leaves them open and vulnerable. Clever use of this, followed up by a heavy attack, should keep opponents at bay. It’s a stamina-heavy combo though, so return to a guarded rest stance after unleashing a couple of sweep attacks in a row.
In the Samurai corner is the Nobushi, a character that proved immensely popular in the For Honor beta thanks to being a key to an easy victory. Her Hidden Stance ability means, like Assassins, the enemy can’t see what angle you’re planning to attack from. She wields a polearm with the longest range in the game, allowing you to effectively prevent many opponents from closing in and frequently land first blows. Considered a zoning character, it’s vital that you use her range to stay in relative safety and harass enemies with a series of fast strikes.
Got any advice for a fellow warrior? Let us know your best moves and tactics in the comments. Don't forget to check out our For Honor tips and tricks guide, too.