When single-player content is included in a multiplayer-focused game like For Honor, prospective players’ first fear is that it’s all going to feel like a gussied-up tutorial. Ubisoft’s own Rainbow Six Siege somewhat plays into this assumption: where there could be a story mode recounting the backstories of each distinguished Operator, there’s instead the spartan Situations Mode consisting of simple training simulations against the AI. But For Honor’s story campaign clearly isn’t half-baked. With a fully voiced cast, multiple playable perspectives in the Knights vs. Vikings vs. Samurai conflict, and bursts of gameplay that stray from the established combat mechanics of multiplayer, For Honor’s single-player won’t just be some option on the main menu that you never bother to boot up. Besides priming you for player-vs-player bouts, as you would expect, the campaign weaves an intriguing tale of ancient, psychological warfare featuring multiple protagonists, and sets the stage of For Honor’s entire multiplayer ecosystem.

With its February 14th, 2017 release date fast approaching, anyone interested in For Honor should be familiar with its duel-focused combat, where opponents lock on to one another and clash weapons with telegraphed directional attacks. From what we saw at this year’s E3, we already knew that those same core mechanics lent themselves nicely to missions where you’re a one-warrior army, slicing your way through swathes of units and occasionally squaring off against tougher, smarter generals. But the two single-player stages I recently played – which take place somewhere between the missions from the E3 demo – highlighted some of the quieter moments from this melee-centric war. As in, the quiet of an adept assassin as she sneaks up on her mark and silently slits their throat before a proper fight can break out. But between all the brutal neck stabbings, there were also welcome bits of optional lore, as our anti-hero surveys the state of the world around her.

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