For Honor Y3S4 preview – hands on with the Zhanhu

For Honor’s fourth and final season of Year 3 will be rolling out across all platforms this Thursday. As with previous content drops this one is headlined by the introduction of a new playable hero, the Zhanhu, as well as some extra trimmings in the form of a bonus new map, Qiang Pass.

Throughout Year 3, Ubisoft has adopted more of a lore-centric approach to each season and its characters, its quartet of new fighters having both male and female variants both with backstories. As the Zhanhu, you can play as either Sun Da or Fu Huo, who join For Honor’s Wu Lin faction as their fifth playable hero.

Wielding a two-handed sword known as the Changdao, the Zhanhu is a hybrid style warrior marked as a specialist in both dodge and counter attacks. Despite the hefty look of their jumbo katana, they’re fairly agile, the blade’s length giving them a superior reach over most combatants.

The Zhanhu’s reliance on two hit combos doesn’t make them a particularly exciting or flashy hero to play as, at least on a surface level. It’s only when you start experimenting with more advanced combos, counters, and dodges – as well as their fiery feats – that you start to realise how deadly they are in combat.

The Zhanhu’s basic attacks are easy to lock down, allowing you to combine light and heavy attacks with the second being an unblockable finisher. With this it’s easy to wind up by letting one of your slashes deliberately cut at the air before striking down with another light or heavy attack that’s guaranteed to land unless dodged or parried. The Zhanhu can also perform a dodge between the first and second strike, allowing them to avoid an enemy’s attempt at retaliation and follow up with another blow. If chaining two light attacks with a dodge sandwiched in between, this can be used to chase down targets attempting to disengage.

This hero has a penchant for zone attacks too. Where most fighters have it as an option for crowd control, the Zhanhu can weave it into combos and after some practice it should become a staple when crossing swords with an opponent. To get the most out of this character also requires a good dodge reflex, as this will be your main counter technique and can be followed up using a mix of light, heavy, and zone attacks. Throw in a feint here and there and you’ll completely throw off your target’s defence.

Feats should always be a consideration when choosing a hero in For Honor’s larger team-based modes, especially Breach. The Zhanhu can pick up a number of familiar passive feats to help with health and stamina regeneration among other benefits, though their active feats can prove deadly if used effectively.

Fiery Tusk is a projectile that can deal damage over time; this can be paired with the Qilin Ruse (a gunpowder trap) to rip through an enemy’s health bar even quicker. Then, if you’ve hit max rank during a match, you can use Scorching Deluge to rain down fire on a sizeable area of the map in your attempts to maintain the Zhanhu’s firestorm. To top it off, you can also pick the Fiery Breath passive feat which gives your basic attacks more damage against any targets who are on fire.

Although Year 3 hasn’t be crammed with as much content as 2018’s Marching Fire expansion, it’s impressive to see Ubisoft continuing to expand its roster with interesting heroes that all look and play differently. The Zhanhu is no exception and if you take the time to unlock the many weapon and armour components available for this character you’ll see that the art team has done another stellar job in bringing their fighters to life.

Those who already own a Year 3 pass will get instant access to the Zhanhu on November 7th. Everyone else will be able to purchase this new hero seven days later for 15,000 Steel.

Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualShock at this point.

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