The Order: 1886 is an alternate history set in Victorian England. King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table still exist, referred to as “The Order”. These men and women have a way to prolong their lives to survive for centuries, thanks to the Holy Grail fountain that contains “Blackwater”. There’s a Dooby Brothers joke in there somewhere, but I digress. The Knights of the Order fight half-breeds or Lycans with an array of steampunk-esq weaponry designed by one Nikola Tesla. In the midst of fighting the Lycan threat, your character “Sir Galahad”, a complete upstanding Knight discovers something more nefarious is going on and like any good hero, he will sacrifice everything for Queen and Country…or King…I don’t remember which monarch was in power during this time.
The story is rather dull and predictable as it’s been told countless times over in many mediums. Alternate history Victorian England is overrun with werewolves (Lycans) and vampires. A hero rises to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Ta-daaa! Why is Victorian England always plagued by werewolves and/or vampires?
Let me start off by saying the graphics in this game visually stunning. They are mind blowing. From the fabric textures and lighting, to the subtle facial expressions the characters can and do make. Along with that the voice acting is also absolutely top notch. This is something amongst the whirl wind of complaints about this game that cannot be complained about. The Order: 1886 is a beautiful game.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the gameplay. It boils down to this; you wander through a very linear world ducking and firing through waves and waves of enemies. That’s it. You do get to use a bunch of different weapons, one pistol and one heavy rifle, along with a grenade. I felt the weapons were rather bland compared to what they could have done. There is an Arc gun that charges and fires a bolt of electricity which is not as cool to use as it sounds. There’s a Thermite gun where you shoot this cloud of thermite dust then fire a flare into it, igniting the cloud. That was fun but you don’t get to keep that gun. That was my problem, I could never find a weapon I really like—whey I did, I lost it after the cut scene. So you pretty much run around, use up the ammo in your current gun then pick up whatever is dropped by the fallen enemies and use that. I also felt the weapons were rather inaccurate, however I will be the first to admit that it might be my issue not the games. I haven’t played an over the shoulder shooter in a long time. I’m more used to the aiming from games like Call of Duty and Destiny.
There you are, each board is the same thing…cover, fire, advance. If you fail, you start over at the beginning of the last checkpoint. There is a small amount of close quarters combat where you do QTEs to win. The QTEs aren’t as intrusive as you might think.
For an example, in the hospital you fight an Elder Lycan. You lose your weapons but still have a large knife which you get to freely attack with but you’re really just doing it to fill the gaps between the QTE triggers. That is the only way to take down the Lycan. You follow the prompts and he’s dead.
You get to play a few stealth missions where you use QTEs to silently take down the enemies. Those were okay, but again there wasn’t much to them.
In a lot of the missions you are running around with a fellow knight. They are seriously worthless. They shoot at the same spot and offer little to no help. I don’t expect them to complete the mission for me but if they’re there—they should at least provide a benefit to me. In one mission I was in the Agamemnon zeppelin, I advanced into the kitchen to cover and was fighting the onslaught. A shotgunner (these are guys that run like the flash wearing an armored chest plate and helmet) was barreling through. I took a couple of shots but needed to reload. I made a run for the entrance to the room to regroup—my counterpart was standing in the doorway, doing nothing mind you, blocking me. I got shot point blank by the shotgunner and died.
Which brings me to the dying part. Sometimes when you’re mortally wounded you get a QTE prompt to hit triangle which causes you to drink some of your black water, healing you up enough to hit X to crawl to some cover to recover from your wounds. I didn’t always get that prompt. I not sure if it was a bug, an issue with my PS4 being a douche, or if that’s just how the game goes being that there are only certain areas that you can use your blackwater.
The only thing that really drew me in was the visuals. I really can’t speak enough about them—this game could easily be made into a movie. I’m sure at some point there will be a video on YouTube that has all the cut scenes run together thus making a movie.
Game time is indeed very short. I didn’t finish the game in 5 hours, but it was more like 8. I don’t necessarily need a long game. If the game gives me 8-10 hours but those were outstanding hours of game time, then I’m happy. All I need for my money is a good story and fun gameplay. The one thing that I felt the developer did to “extend” game time was the constant, “The way is blocked. We’ll have to find another route”. So you move forward only to backtrack. That’s not fun, that’s tedious.
Sadly there really is no replay value to this game. Sure if you want to do it again on a harder setting or run back through to make sure you pick up all the collectibles that would give you a bit of replay but the story isn’t going to change and give you a different outcome if you do go back and get everything.
I feel that Ready At Dawn dropped the ball on this one. What could have been an outstanding game turned out to be a monotonous cover/fire game through a story you’ve experienced countless times over. Honestly there’s not even a reason to rent this game outside of wanting to check out the graphics. Obviously your mileage may vary on this. I was just very disappointed.
At the end of the day Ready At Dawn took a tired story and coupled it with lackluster gameplay and wrapped it in shiny paper.
I would rent The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886
Beautiful visuals and Environments, Great voice acting
Dull gameplay, Uninteresting story, No replay value
Sony Computer Entertainment
Ready At Dawn
Feb 20, 2015