For Honor’s Gryphon Y4S4 update ends the year on a high

New season, new hero.

With For Honor Year 4 Season 4 ready to storm the battlefield, we got some early hands-on time with Ubisoft’s latest content drop for their unique multiplayer fighting game.

The recently announced Y4S4 “Mayhem” caps off 2020 with the arrival of a bold new fighter. Gryphon will be the 29th hero to join the For Honor roster, felling foes with his biting bardiche blade.

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Many of For Honor’s original line-up were treated as archetypes or classes, but with the number of new heroes having slowed over the past couple of years, Ubisoft have adopted more of a character approach, giving them names and backstories.

Gryphon embodies this shift better than any fighter before him. As Holden Cross, he makes an appearance in For Honor’s often overlooked single player campaign as the first boss character you face. However, after the events of the game’s story, he’s exiled from his order and becomes a mercenary, forging alliances and adopting battle techniques from each of For Honor’s warring factions. He’s now an anti-hero of sorts, throwing his lot in with the Chimera Rebellion as they clash with the evil Order of Horkos.

Is For Honor still worth playing in 2020?

Lore stuff aside, he’s still pretty badass. On top of that, he’s easy to learn and a great choice for new players or those returning to For Honor after a hiatus. Gryphon is an easy tier hybrid fighter who slots into the versatile and support fighter classes. Not only is he formidable in duels and team fights, he can also aid his allies with health-boosting abilities.

There are no flashy or overly complex fighting moves to remember when playing as this battle-worn warrior though you’ll want to make use of his unique Veteran mechanics. In short, the third attack in each of Gryphon’s combos will have an effect with heavy strikes being uninterruptible and light strikes being un-dodgeable. The difficulty with using Gryphon is making sure you’re hitting those third attacks in each sequence. Thankfully, you won’t have to rely of light and heavy strikes, weaving in dodge (“cleaving”) attacks as well as using the old-timer’s shove.

Gryphon’s moveset is offence focused, aligning with the gameplay shift we’ve seen in For Honor following 2020’s core combat update. Overall, duels are quicker and more dynamic instead of defaulting to two fighters circling one another, waiting to react with a parry or counter.

He isn’t the most visually striking character in the For Honor roster though there are some nice quirks to his design. The armour and cosmetics available to Gryphon reflect his time as a wandering mercenary, with outfit options inspired by Knights, Vikings, Samurai, and the Wu Lin. We also noticed that when performing attacks he’ll occasionally mimic voice lines from other characters – a small detail For Honor die-hards will love.

Y4S4 Mayhem also introduces a new battle pass crammed with rewards to unlock. Finally, four existing heroes will be entering the Testing Grounds this season, as Ubisoft are making adjustments to the Warden, Peacekeeper, Nobushi, and Shugoki.

We’re not sure what Ubisoft have planned for their flagship fighting game in 2021, though they’re far from abandoning For Honor. A next-gen version for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S has been confirmed, packing in some serious visual upgrades. Naturally, we’d love to see more maps, modes, and heroes though, admittedly, For Honor’s trickle of fresh content has slowed over the years. We’ll likely see more character reworks and perhaps another drive to support its fledgling competitive scene. Even so, it continues to be one of the most captivating live games out there and one that can hopefully find a new audience on Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles.

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