Season 2 of For Honor starts today, which means a new round of the Faction War as well as two new maps, new gear, and more. Two new Heroes also join the roster for the new season: the Samurai now count the nimble Shinobi among their ranks, while the Knights get the powerful Centurion. Both of the new Heroes are available now for Season Pass owners, while other players will be able to unlock them for 15,000 Steel each starting May 23.
We’ve put the new arrivals through their paces, spending a considerable amount of time hurling chained sickles, ringing opponents’ bells with mailed fists, and shoving hapless warriors into lava pits. Here’s a quick distillation of what we thought:
Mikel Reparaz: The Shinobi might be my favorite of the two new arrivals, although it’s a closer contest than I expected. Unsurprisingly, the Shinobi isn’t much for soaking up damage, but nobody’s faster, and the long-distance grab moves – which can hook and pull in an opponent in a surprise block-breaking maneuver – are immensely fun to execute, especially if you’re quick enough to launch into a combo as soon as your target gets close. You can keep enemies guessing by backflipping away after an attack, which might look like a simple dodge but enables you to launch into a flip kick or another grab.
Keep in mind that “quick” is a double-edged sword here. The Shinobi can execute some stunningly fast moves, like a double-dash that can chain right into an attack, and a deflection that lets you teleport behind your enemy – but at the same time, you’ll have to perform those moves quickly to be effective, especially since the Shinobi’s stances (and ability to block) evaporate almost instantly after you nudge the right stick. That’s especially true considering that the Shinobi’s most powerful attacks are charged by windmilling the kusarigama, which leaves you vulnerable to attack for a brief window. Find an opening and strike quickly, or you’ll lose your advantage.
Andy Bauman: The first time I sprinted toward and subsequently slide-tackled my opponent at the start of an elimination match, I knew the Shinobi was pretty cool. Shortly after, I realized the new Samurai is not only adept at close-range combat, but can strike at long range as well, making the Shinobi a must-master warrior. That’s going to be easier said than done, however, because there are so many useful moves and abilities available to you. Once you’re up to speed, you’ll be flinging your chained kusarigama from pretty far away, then summersaulting in to close the distance and land a flurry of close-up hacks and slashes, only to then time your dodge perfectly to when the enemy attacks to teleport behind them to pull off a stylish kick to their backside. Hopefully, you’ll still have some stamina left to get away and start the combo over again, because if not, well, you’ll be dead in just a few hits. Pesky light heroes. You might not care, though, because of how awesome you just looked.
Giancarlo Varanini: The Shinobi is the kind of For Honor Hero where you see it action and say, “Wow. I want to learn that character!” As Andy and Mikel pointed out, the Shinobi has an impressive array of short- and long-range maneuvers that are sure to keep even the most experienced For Honor combatant on their toes, but it might take some time before you can get to that point. All of those cool moves feel like they require a bit more situational awareness and sharp reflexes than most of the bruisers on the For Honor roster, but if you can put in the time, it’ll be well worth it.
Mikel: As an ancient Roman soldier fighting alongside knights in plate mail, the Centurion might seem a little out of place on For Honor’s battlefields – but he’s a battering ram of a Hybrid, with a hulking frame and toughness to match. He’s a big fan of combining his short gladius with devastating punches, and if you’re tackling an enemy head-on, his jab combo – which actually begins with an impaling gladius lunge, continues with an unblockable punch to the face, and follows up with a couple of quick slashes a downward stab if your enemy fell over – is an excellent opener. I also had a lot of fun with his Lion’s Roar combo, which involves staggering your enemy with a punch, and then moving in close to bash them in the head a few times with the gladius’ pommel. He’s a brawler who can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, but if you’re fast enough, you can get around his defenses and cut him down to size.
Chris Watters: Many of the heroes of For Honor obscure their faces for battle, but there’s something uniquely unsettling about the Centurion’s expressionless human mask. Perhaps it’s that the appearance of calmness contrasts so sharply with the rowdy close-quarters combat at which the Centurion excels. Like the Berserker, he (there’s no female Centurion) rushes in with both arms swinging. The difference is, the Centurion is more heavily armored, so he can take more of a beating, and he only wields a single one-handed weapon, leaving his gauntlet-clad hand free to grab, punch, or grab and then punch.
His bulk can be frustrating when he’s casually blocking your strikes with his flared vambraces, but don’t mistake him for a hulking heavy. If (or rather, when) one of his haymakers knocks you to ground, he will quickly dive on top of you like a rugby player scoring a try—only instead of a ball spiking into the grass, it’s a gladius stabbing into your chest. The Centurion brings a new style of combat to the battlegrounds, not to mention the chance to live out some classic warrior movie fantasies. Leonidas’ iconic front kick that sent a Persian envoy the bottom of the well in 300 is part of the Centurion’s move set, as is a taunting execution in which he baits his prey with a thumbs-up and thumbs-down, as if to ask his downed enemy whether his life should be spared. The Centurion’s verdict? To chop off his arm and stab him to death.
Giancarlo: There’s such a sharp contrast between the finesse of the Shinobi and the brutality of the Centurion, and while the latter might be easier for most For Honor player’s to ease themselves into, it won’t be any less of a challenge to master them. In my brief time with the Centurion, I became quite fond of using his running attacks to surprise a foe and then follow it up with a barrage of staggering melee attacks. However, I found it can be just as easy to be overzealous and lose track of how much of your own stamina you’re using to maintain a barrage. I can’t wait to play more.
For Honor is available now on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. For more on the game, check out our previous coverage: