Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Order: 1886

There’s always serious pressure on Playstation exclusive games now with how brilliant The Last of Us was, and other games like God of War and Heavy Rain show that the exclusive games can deliver some of the best out there. However, the most recent exclusive was DriveClub, and it let many people down, and unfortunately all I’ve been hearing is a lot of negative things regarding The Order: 1886. Is it really THAT bad? Not at all, but I was still pretty disappointed. 


Developed by Red Star Dawn plus SCE Santa Monica Studio and out now for Playstation 4 comes The Order: 1886, a single-player third-person shooter, that also comes across as an interactive cinematic experience. Set in 1886 (who’d have thought it!), an alternate historic London pits the players against half-breeds (half animal, half monster), and it’s your job to keep the World safe from them. Players control Grayson, also known as Sir Galahad. He is a member of the Knights of the Round Table, which is also known as The Order.  Galahad is an expert tracker and hunter whose instincts and skills, developed over the years for fighting Half-Breeds, are legendary among members of The Order.


Everyone expects good visuals from their newer consoles, but The Order: 1886 has showed exactly what the PS4 is capable of. I was absolutely blown away. The smallest details from dust blowing up from the floor as someone sweeps, to the days and times of letter pick up from a post box. I can’t remember playing a game where I’ve sat and admired the quality and smoothness of the graphics, and Red Star Dawn know how to make an aesthetically pleasing game.

Now, I've always been a fan of a compelling, interesting story, and The Order: 1886 puts you on that. Although many were left annoyed with the numerous un-skippable cutscenes, I appreciated and enjoyed the historical-fantasy story they told. From explaining the fight with the werewolves, discovering the mythical healing and life expectancy increasing Blackwater. Even when you're walking around, the characters populating the area are talking about events, such as hearing about the then-new Jack the Ripper serial killer. All of these historical and mythical stories string together to create a world I want to learn more about and spend more time in, but that's when The Order: 1886 becomes its worst enemy.

Eight hours in, and after becoming more immersed and engrossed in the story now more than ever, it abruptly ends, leaving so many things wide open. This wouldn't particularly be a problem, however the player is very limited on the gameplay front. If there wasn't a quick time event for me to deal with (and there is a whole bunch of them), I'd either be restricted to walking, watching cutscenes, or clearing an area of enemies. Being constantly pulled away from gameplay and in to a quick time event or a cutscene felt like I couldn't properly get into the game, which was a massive shame to say the least. I'd heard there were 16 chapters in the game, and I was initially confused as to the initial comments on a short story. Unfortunately, there were a few chapters that were simply a cutscene, albeit an informative one, but nevertheless I felt disappointed at the fact I could see the game coming to a quicker end than I hoped.

The limited gameplay within The Order: 1886 is very basic at that. Players will frequently be forced into shooting there way past enemies, and it's a dull, cover-based shooting experience at that. I was intrigued at first, especially with some of the weapons I could use, but they deserve better. How cool does an assault rifle that has a stun blast underbarrel sound? Awesome, I know, but with the style of shooting, you'll find yourself lining up the camera to pop in and out of cover to drop the enemies instantly. Once it's over with, you're left feeling like "Was that it?” with the AI coincidentally answering your thoughts with "That's all of them". With the werewolves being the main enemy in the game, they do put up a better fight, yet every scenario with them was still an easy, yet slightly more atmospheric encounter - but not good enough.


Overall, The Order: 1886 is a visually beautiful game with great characters and an intriguing historical-fantasy story. However, it's riddled with QTE's, limited gameplay, and an incredibly short story. Honestly, if this game was double its length, I wouldn't be surprised if it was nominated for numerous GOTY awards. With the way the game ended, there's bound to be a sequel, and hopefully the developers will give The Order series the story it deserves - because it's certainly left me wanting more.

The Order: 1886 really should have been a better game overall, and receives a 3/5.

★★★☆☆

Sam Terry


The Order 1886 at CeX


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