Is The Order 1886 worth buying?
The Sony first party studio Ready at Dawn are most known for making the PlayStation Portable (PSP) God of War titles, which are often considered the best God of War games in the series. When they announced that they would be making a full -fledged console game, excitement was high. There has been a recent rash of AAA titles that haven’t lived up to their own hype either because they have been half finished or just not fully realized. Will this PlayStation 4 exclusive be the next-gen game to justify the consoles purchase, or fall to the same fate of all the other AAA letdowns?
The game takes place in an alternative Victorian-era London where the industrial revolution has been accelerated, wireless communication, and an array of advanced weaponry are all possible. The legendary Knights of the round table are still active and its rumored that one of the knights fought under King Arthur himself. The secret of the knight’s longevity is a substance called blackwater that they receive from the the Holy Grail. The Order was established to protect mankind from the never ending battle against the Lycans, who are a product of the ongoing evolution of man.
The Order 1886 is by far the most impressive looking game on a console, period. There isn’t any noticeable difference between cut-scenes and actual gameplay. Twice while playing, I didn’t even realize that the cut-scene was over and was wondering why my character was just standing still. The lore to this game is absolutely intriguing because it ties in with actual events that took place in 1886. The issues with the bureaucracy and characters involved it makes you want to know more about what’s going on around you. Marquis de Lafayette is one of the brothers of The Order and fights by your side. Nikola Tesla is their version of Q and has a strong hand in how The Order is able to fight against the Lycans effectively. The famous murder Jack the Ripper also makes an appearance in the plot.
The atmosphere and music work well together. Taking advantage of both a urban day setting of Whitechapel and the dark alley ways of West End. The Knight’s theme kind of reminds me of The Rains Of Castamere (Lannister song) from The Game of Thrones. In many instances, the game plays a lot like an interactive movie, and more successfully than Beyond: Two Souls. This is both a blessing and a curse.
The major issue with The Order 1886 is its identity. Does this game want to be a movie or a video game? Instead of allowing you to experience the story for yourself, the game forcefully grabs you by the hand and drags you through it. The game seems to be too impressed with itself, forcing you examine objects at times with no real purpose (other than to point out how awesome the modelling skills are). There are even chapters in the game that you do absolutely nothing and they’re unskippable, granted the story is interesting I don’t understand why several cut scenes are titled as chapters. Which brings up another issue, the length of the game. Its about 6 to 8 hours depending on whether you are trying to get all the “collectables” or not. There is no point in examining picture and there isn’t an archive to read the letters and newspapers found in the game. Which is especially disheartening, since the game’s world has the potential to be so much more interesting than these presentations afford it.
Now to the combat. Tesla’s weapons are the best in the game. The lancer is probably my favorite weapon, occasionally exploding parts of your enemies off when fully charged. The times when you actually get to fight an enemy its a bit underwhelming. You have an assortment of bad ass weapons with no real challenge to match it. Enemies usually blindfire behind cover or an armored shotgunner charges you. The most depressing part is the fights with the Lycans. It is reduced to dodge and shoot, rinse and repeat until the QTE prompts up. There is so much that could have been done with this game, but what we were just given is mediocre gameplay. Blackwater gives you the ability to go into a bullet time mode, but I only used it to get the trophy for it. I normally wouldn’t even consider trophies as a part of a review, but The Order 1886 has only gold and silver trophies that can all be obtained in one playthrough. This is Hannah Montana:The Movie status for those who trophy hunt. It ruins the integrity of the trophy system and makes the game milestones pointless.
Did The Order 1886 manage to stand up to the hype surrounding it pre-release? Probably not. I’m reminded of Castlevania 2 in a sense because the game itself wasn’t great, but there would not have been a Castlevania:Symphony of the Night without it. Hopefully Ready at Dawn learns from this and the next game they make will be their Castlevania:Symphony of the Night. The Sony family still needs that must-have exclusive to justify buying a PS4 and its obviously not this game. For those who are still looking for hope From Soft may be your saviour with The Demon Soul’s inspired BloodBorne in March.