For Honor is one of the most surprising games to arrive this generation. I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance until the beta to play the game, but from watching videos and previews of the game, I didn’t think in the slightest the game would be as good as it is. I’m very happy to say I was wrong.

When jumping into the beta for the first time, you’re thrown into a tutorial section to help you learn how to play the game. I opted to only do the first bit of the tutorial section, mainly so I could see how much I could learn on my own about the game. Much to my surprise, there’s a very deep fighting experience in For Honor.

The Art of Battle system is not a gimmicky system in the slightest. It’s easy to tell how much time and effort the developers have put into fine tuning this system to make sure it’s easy to pick-up, but difficult to master. If you go in trying to just continually attack your opponent, you’re going to lose. Timing and anticipating your opponent’s next move is essential to winning battles.

For Honor is a game where you can progressively see yourself getting better as you become more adept at timing your blocks and counters, and ultimately outwitting your opponent and pulling off a flashy execution.

I had read previews from other outlets that really enjoyed the fighting system, but I really had no idea it’d be this polished. Not to mention that game’s environments and animations are equally as impressive.

One of the game modes in For Honor allows you to compete in one-on-one duels, and this is where their battle system really shines. Matches are intense and require more than just a bunch of hacking and slashing to take down your opponent. Duels can sometimes last for minutes at a time, as each player looks to outwit the other and land that fatal blow.

It’s a super satisfying experience, and after 30-plus matches in the duel mode, I’m still ready for more. The other mode currently available in the beta, outside of the two vs. two brawl mode, is Dominion.

Dominion pits two teams of four against each other along with a number of bots on the field of battle as they fight to control three different points on the map. The mode is very much like Domination in the Call of Duty games, with the main difference being that B is constantly shifting hands as the AI continuously battle it out to gain control of the point, with player controlled heroes coming in to shift the balance every once in a while.

Battles in Dominion are fun and intense, but with the added player counts it’s a bit harder for the great combat system to shine when you’re constantly fighting two or three enemy combatants at a time. In my personal opinion, I much prefer the duels in the game, which feel much less hack and slashy and more about skill.

Regardless, I can’t deny that there’s a certain thrill to rushing into battles with your friends on dominion. I do hope there’s more game modes to come, however, as what the website currently lists is pretty bare bones.

Ubisoft has been surprising me a lot lately with their multiplayer offerings. Between Rainbow Six Siege, Steep and For Honor, the publisher has been releasing some very high quality and unique AAA multiplayer games that are highly polished and fun. I’m excited to get my hands on For Honor when it releases on February 24th.

As of now, Ubisoft has a winner on their hands.