The medieval fighting game For Honor is alive and kickin’ us off ledges, and as a part of that, Ubisoft just released a new mode called Soul Rush. A little cops-and-robbers and a little PG-13 blood-fuelled deathmatch, Soul Rush rules, and only gets better the more you play it.
Ubisoft announced the new mode at its E3 press conference as part of the game’s next big event, called “Shadows of the Hitokiri.” Two teams of heroes battle it out on a small, well-designed map to collect souls from sword-fodder NPCs. Players then deposit those souls in specific areas on the battlefield, and whichever team gets 1,000 points first wins. The catch is that opponents can kill you and steal the souls you collected. And if you die and your teammate doesn’t revive you, the souls you collected disappear.
I tried out Soul Rush earlier today. Although it took about 10 minutes of matchmaking before For Honor placed me into a game, once I started playing, it was hard to stop. More than once, I’d have to decide whether to help my teammate in a one-versus-two fight and risk losing my souls or run past them and deposit what I’d collected. Should I go on the offence and take down enemies, or dedicate my time to evading them and gathering souls? As time went on, the initial strategy of simply mining souls and harvesting them quickly melted away as more galaxy-brain strategies emerged: camping enemies’ favoured soul deposits, guarding your own, or hunting down and ganging up on any straggler enemies to steal what they’d earned.
Well, okay, none of that is exactly rocket science. But it is immensely satisfying. For Honor has some great core mechanics, and at its base feels really, really good to play. Building on those basics – guarding, guard-breaking and jabbing – with area control and resource-collection gameplay is a winning idea.
When it was originally released in 2017, For Honor had a bevy of connectivity and grinding issues, and it’s likely that deterred people who might have otherwise been interested in it. Yet Ubisoft is still supporting the game with new content and modes, making it better and better as time goes on. Now might be a smart time to jump in its deep waters and see whether you can vie with the sharks who’ve been cutting their teeth on For Honor for three years. Or wait until there’s a sequel.