To coincide with the highly-anticipated release of For Honor, I thought I’d take a look at some of the historical facts behind the warriors. For Honor is a melee action game, allowing you to take control of the highly skilled Samurai, the brutally efficient Vikings or the heavily armoured Knights. Set in a fictional world where these three factions clash and battle it out for survival and dominance. With multiple multi-player modes and 3 separate campaigns, there is much sword slashing, shield bashing and axe parrying to be had. So, without further ado, let’s look a bit deeper into these ancient warriors of history with my top 5 facts about each.
- Although Samurai is strictly a masculine term, woman did in fact receive similar training in the arts of combat and warfare. These women were known as Onna-Bugeisha and often fought alongside the Samurai on the battlefield. Their weapon of choice was the Naginata, a spear that ended with a large sword like blade that was light, yet highly versatile. We can assume that these warriors were of a small minority, as very little of their existence is recorded.
- Many people believe that the Samurai were either a small elite force of warriors or defined caste of noblemen. However, it has been recorded that in their peak of power, up to 10 percent of Japans population were Samurai!
- The weaponry and ornate armour of the Samurai made them look tall and imposing on the battlefield, but they were in fact quite tiny. A 16th century Samurai was usually very slim and ranging from 160 to 165 centimetres (5’3” to 5’5” tall! I still wouldn’t want to mess with one though!
- If a Samurai fails to defend his honour in battle or follow the Samurai code of Bushido, he must perform the suicide ritual of Seppuku. The ritual involves slicing into your own stomach with your sword, and actually disembowelling yourself.
- The word Samurai, literally means ‘One who serves’, this is a code that all Samurai would live by. They were also followers of ‘The Way of the Warrior’ or Bushido. From the earliest times, the Samurai felt that the path of the warrior was one of honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master, and loyalty unto death. It was this Bushido code of “loyalty unto death” that made the Samurai so fierce in battle, and consequently very difficult to defeat. They believed that death was better than surrender.
- The earliest knights (ninth century) were men who protected a lord and his peasants. Two centuries later, knights had formed their own social order. This culture of honor, bravery, and battle continued into the 16th century.
- A full suit of plate armour weighed more than 50 pounds, but because the weight was evenly distributed all over the body, armoured knights had remarkable mobility!
- Knights began participating in tournaments in the eleventh century. The purpose of tournaments was originally to train for battle, but since the losers often had to give up their horse and armour to the winner, it became lucrative for some.
- The invention of the arbalest, a kind of crossbow, was thought to be the beginning of the decline of warrior knights. This was due to two facts. Firstly, it required no special training to use, so could be used by anyone. Most importantly though, the weapon was powerful enough to pierce through a knight’s armour.
- Sons born of noble families were sent away at the age of seven to live in the house of a lord. There, they would become pages and begin their knight training. At the age of fourteen, a page became a squire, and began to apprentice under a knight. As squires, the boys trained constantly in order to condition their bodies and perfect their weaponry skills. Many boys were winnowed out during the squire stage because the training was so difficult. Squires who made it through the training program were usually knighted around the age of 21.
- Despite popular belief, Vikings never wore horned helmets. Christians in contemporary Europe added the detail to make the Vikings look even more barbarian and pagan, with horns like Satan’s on their head.
- Evidence suggests Vikings had good personal hygiene and were well-groomed. In fact, excavators have found that Viking era grooming tools were some of the most commonly used of all Viking tools.
- Some people believed that the Vikings were sent by god as a punishment. An example of this was in 793, when their long ships arrived in the northeast of England. They burned buildings, destroyed a Christian monastery, stole gold, and killed and frightened the locals. The British church leaders believed that the Vikings had been sent by God to punish the sinful people of England.
- The Vikings had a complex social structure. Their kings didn’t ascend by right of parentage, as they do today, but were chosen as exceptionally strong leaders and fighters who could protect and defend the people. The Vikings would meet in assemblies to resolve problems, and the king would have the final say. Common issues discussed during these assemblies were law-breaking and punishment. Outlaws, those who had committed serious crimes, had no protection, and anyone could legally kill them.
- There was a special type of Viking warrior called a berserker. They were known to be the scariest and most terrifying of all the Vikings and were certainly the ones who committed the most violent acts during their pirate raids. These berserkers were also famous for eating everything and anything they could find, including taking dangerous drugs. They wore animal skins and made noises similar to a wolf howling when going into battle, in order to intimidate the opposition.
And there we have it, I hope you enjoyed reading about these legendary warriors. For Honor has been out for a week now, it’s a great deal of fun and its intricate combat system is challenging yet very much rewarding. I personally am completely addicted, and the game is so diverse and unique that I probably will be for some time. So put on your war paint, prepare your best battle cry, and I’ll see you on the battlefield.
For a full review of the game itself and how the open beta played out, check out this post by the amazing https://strangegirlgaming.com/ right here> https://strangegirlgaming.com/2017/01/29/for-honor-beta/