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For Honor Makes You Play as a Woman, and that’s Awesome

For Honor is a game that is absolutely dripping with testosterone. It’s a game about hugely beefy people, wielding close combat weapons of death, marching into battle for absolutely no reason other than the fact that stabbing your friends is really fun. The loading screen for every single online battle features a dude who sounds like his beard is 20 feet long screaming “HONOOORRRR” like he’s Zuko at the end of Season 2. None of the heroes in the game ever show their face, and they are completely anonymous. This is totally a game that you could imagine having zero women in it at all, or perhaps the token female assassin in some kind of leather bodice. And at first, that’s entirely what I thought was going on. Here, check out this video:

As far as classes go, the Warden is the single most basic class in the game. In fact, when you first start the game’s extended tutorial/story mode, you’re forced to play as the Warden for the first three or four levels. So it was to my utter and complete surprise when I discovered that what basically amounts to the main character of the game is, by default, a female character in both Single and Multiplayer. She’s a completely badass knight with her own moral code that steps onto the battlefield swinging a longsword and murdering enemy minions by the hundreds, and she is awesome.

You’d be forgiven for not thinking The Warden was a female character. After all, fantasy and fighting games have taught us that a female badass must be dressed in the most revealing clothing possible. A lesser game developer would have, at the very least, shown off her shoulders. The Dead or Alive developers would have given each boob independent physics. But Ubisoft Montreal chose, instead, to clad every female character in the game in absolutely sensible, totally functional armor. I mean, look at this:

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That’s the Peacekeeper, which is the requisite assassin class for the Knights. And yeah, you can tell she’s a woman, but still – every single part of her is completely covered in protective gear that makes logical sense for the era and for melee combat. This really shouldn’t be revolutionary, but it is. In a game that, tone wise, is closer to Gears of War than anything else, For Honor takes our macho sensibilities and upends them immediately, telling you that not only can girls be just as badass as the guys, they can be more so. The Peacekeeper, the Warden, and the Nobushi are three of the most popular and powerful character classes in For Honor, and to play them, you’ve gotta play as a woman. It’s a fantastic way to subtly rub it in the face of all of the gamers out there who believe women don’t belong in our hobby.

Well done, Ubisoft. Now teach me how to not suck at this game.

Patrick Lowry
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