Try ‘For Honor’ beta game right now

Ubisoft is giving an open beta for the game on all platforms — PC, PS 4, and Xbox One — from Feb. 9-12. It’s not the complete game, but it’s enough to show the kind of experience to expect from this ‘Fo Honor’ version on Feb. 14 release.

I’m just here to tell you: it’s good stuff. That is because really good. We spent about 40 minutes messing about with the recent closed beta during an assault of #ButtonMash and came away impressed.

For the following the following the following the following the following the following Honor appears a small item like a stripped down Warriors game — Mashable’s Ben Fullon documented it as a “1v1 Dynasty Warriors” — with its focus on melee combat across sprawling battlefields. But that “1v1” item in Ben’s explanation is crucial;Honor also embraces the spirit of fighting video games with its deceptively deep duel swordplay.

It really really works like this: every warrior can possibly guard or strike in one of three assistances at any given moment: left, right, or top (i.e. over the head). You ward off harm by roading in the same assistance your foe strikes from and you dish it out by strikeing what ever assistance they’re not guarding.

It really really works because of smart iconography. Whenever you find your self in a duel, a three-pronged meter appears in front of your warrior and in front of whomever you’re facing. It’s an easy-to-read visual that conveys the assistance you and your opponent are strikeing or guarding.

The more than GIF just presents roading. It’s best to start out by understanding that skill. Reading your opponents — not just how they’re strikeing, but with what message — is crucial to success.

Unlike more standard fighting video video games there aren’t any specialized button combos here. Attacks chain together more organically than that; if you dish out three light strikes in quick succession and you time the button presses right, your chosen warrior will make it look cool on his or her own.

Your foes can also chain strikes together, and but that’s where the natural ebb and flow of
Honor’s swordplay comes into focus. Ideally you’re guarding towards a quick flurry of strikes and then striking back immediately afterward, when there’s an opening.

Those are the basics of combat, but you have other gear as well. You can dodge strikes instead of roading them, for instance. The time is trickier, but carrying out a it right can position you for an easy strike at your foe’s exposed flank.

You can also perform a guard break, delivering a quick closed fist to your foe’s center that stuns them momentarily. You can follow that up with a quick strike or, if you prefer, a throw.

Much like dodges, well-timed throws disrupt your foe’s momentum by dance them out of position. On certain maps, throws can also end a round prematurely if you manage to get rid of your opponent out of the arena.

Note the red shattered shield icon. That means you’ve aesthetically broken through your opponent’s guard.

Which was really all there is to the basics of For Honor’s combat. A “Revenge” meter fills up as you road strikes; once you top it off and trigger it, your warrior does amplified harm/takes less harm for a short time. It’s a mechanism that lets you turn the tables when you’re barely hanging on.

There’s plenty more to the game, of course. A variety of multiplayer modes — towards humans or A.I.-controlled bots — alongside a story mode. Multiple warrior classes with their own quirks that mix up the basics documented more than. An elaborate system of loot and level unlocks.

Much of this is showcased in the beta throughout the weekend. It’s great to have that sampling, but For Honor’s combat is the best reason to check the game out while it’s together free.

This is such an uncommon game. It’s one of those “easy to learn/difficult to master” types of tales with an original approach to melee combat. You will not get the complete experience from a beta, but if the combat clicks for you — as it did for me — you’ll certainly want to sample more.