Title: The Order: 1886
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio
Release date: February 20th 2015 (Worldwide)
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The Order: 1886 tells the story of Grayson, known by his knight title Sir Galahad, who works for the Order. This group is tasked with keeping the world safe from half-breeds: genetically distinct strain of humanity which has humans with bestial traits. As the war rages on between the Order and Half Breeds, a group of rebels is caught in the firefight and decide to take a stand for themselves. The group of Knights is worried that the Rebels have taken the Half Breeds’ side in order to ensure their survival. Question is: Who’s right in this conflict?
The Order: 1886 does provide varied gameplay. While most of the game is told through cutscenes, as some of the game’s chapters are cutscenes only with limited moving around, the pace does pick up after a while letting you shoot away at human enemies. The shooting sequence are all from a third person perspective, unless using a sniper rifle obviously. You basically go to cover and pop out once in a while to shoot at enemies. Some covers are destructible, so you’ll need to run around from cover to cover in order to be protected from enemy fire. Story is developed through multiple cutscenes and interaction between characters; the story is actually pretty griping and interesting, despite the somewhat expected plot twist.
The other gameplay mechanic featured thoroughly through the game is the usage of QTE: Quick time events. QTEs basically require the player to press a certain button prompted on the screen. They’re present in the game’s combat against both humans and Lycans (especially during the latter…), cutscenes and the lockpicking minigame. Throughout the game will be collectibles scattered through most of the game’s 16 chapters which are to be found and inspected. The fun thing however is that once you pick up a piece of newspaper, you can expect it by moving it around with the left joystick or pressing Triangle to view the back of the document.
As far as the presentation goes, this game should be the measuring stick, visually speaking, for any other games to be released from now on. The transition from cutscene to gameplay is seemless and proves now more than ever that trailers can now represent actual gameplay footage. Characters are brought to life by the dark tones and the amazingly well done motion capture as every little details in a character’s face is top notch.
Sound wise, Jason Graves managed to deliver another intense and atmospheric performance with his score for The Order: 1886. The score fits perfectly with the game’s darker tones and throughout the cutscenes; although a bit drowned out during enemy encounters. Voice-over wise, each actor nails their performance; besides the generic enemy banter, the conversations admist your crew and the cutscenes do feel a bit majestic feel as it is set in London during the 19th.
As far as its faults go, where do I start? Although Lycans are pretty impressive foes, their encounters are boring and repetitive. Shoot as the Lycan runs towards you and dodge when prompted to press the X button. Which also means you can’t dodge whenever you want. Dodging during encounters can only be done when prompted to on the screen; either against Lycans or when soldiers throw grenades. The QTEs can get annoying and break the flow of the game on more than one occasions. During stealth sequences, you have 1 chance to kill the guard. If you miss the QTE, you’re automatically dead and its back to the last checkpoint.
I can’t understand someone at Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio saying that having a boss fight based on QTEs be actually exciting. They’ve dropped the ball; they could’ve took a great opportunity with the Lycan fights and do something special. The other issue with QTEs is that if you screw up during a cutscene, you have to start over. Luckily, the prompted button doesn’t change, so remembering the button you missed will make sure you succeed on the second try. Also replay value is basically slim to none, unless you’re tempted to hunt the easy Trophies. I expect stores like GAME and Gamestop to have their shelves flooding with used copies of the game. The fact that you’re constantly accompanied by one or more fellow Knights, it’s also baffling as to why this game did not include local and/or online co-op.
The Order: 1886 is an enjoyable, albeit short, experience. Although its faults might outweight its positives, the game features an intriguing story and the development of both characters and story is properly paced. The best way to describe The Order: 1886 is basically imagining if the Gears of War franchise had a child with Heavy Rain: Shooting sequences against human enemies are pretty fun and somewhat intense while “boss” fights and cutscenes are peppered with QTEs. Definitely worth a rental, but with this limited amount of actual gameplay, paying $60/70$/£49.99 can leave some gamers feeling short changed.
- Visually stunning
- Great story and story development
- Fun firefights
- Great weapon designs
- Cool lockpicking mini game
- Easy Platinum
- Boring Lycan Encounters
- Quick Time Events
- Can’t dodge
- Lack of co-op
- Disappointing final sequence
With its M rating in North America and PEGI 18 in the UK, The Order: 1886 contains Blood, Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content and Strong Language.