ALL IS IN ORDER
“There are two circumstances that lead to arrogance: one is when you’re wrong and you can’t face it; the other is when you’re right and nobody else can face it.” – Criss Jami
It’s funny – the above quote couldn’t describe the last week any better when it comes to The Order: 1886.
A series of unfortunate events resulted in thousands of gamers worldwide claiming they would never “waste their money” on a “five hour movie,” stating that it wasn’t worth it because the game was far too short and had too many cutscenes and quick time events. All week long I advised friends and strangers alike to wait out the storm, play the game and judge it for themselves because surely it was only the negative minority causing mass hysteria. Turns out I was right. The Order: 1886 is fantastic.
Let’s get this out of the way first (since it has been the most talked about thing since Katy Perry’s left shark) — it officially took me 13 hours to complete my full playthrough of The Order: 1886. It took me longer to beat The Order: 1886 than it took me to beat all three Uncharted games and all three BioShock games (each are highly regarded games).
I have never once been able to justify the argument that short games aren’t as good as long games. Sure, everyone has their personal preference, and everyone has their own value system; but to say that a game isn’t good because it’s “short” is outlandish. The Order: 1886 is only short if you rush through it. Instead, I took my time exploring each beautiful area of London that the game takes you to.
When I say beautiful, I mean it. But you already knew that didn’t you? The one consistently positive thing said about The Order: 1886 since its announcement was how extraordinarily beautiful it was. That hasn’t changed. Ready at Dawn nailed the graphics, making this the best looking game on any console to date.
Another thing we have known since its announcement was that it was going to be an extremely cinematic, story-driven game. It was definitely that. The Order: 1886 takes place in an alternate history London. King Arthur (who is real in this version) started an “Order” of Knights to fight against the “half breeds” (werewolf-like monsters).
Because of the desperate need for something to save humanity against these monsters, the industrial revolution happens much earlier in history. So by 1886, The Order’s arsenal includes futuristic weapons like lightning guns, Zeppelins, and even walkie-talkies.
You play as Sir Galahad, a badass Knight of The Order. As the fight against the half breeds and the story progresses, Galahad finds out that everything may not be as it seems, and he begins to question The Order’s motives. This mystery will be the driving force for both Galahad and the player alike. It felt like every time I found something out, another question arose.
One thing I (and everyone else) was extremely worried about was the “cinematic” description of the game. Was that going to make it just an interactive movie? Or was it still going to be a game? I can now safely say that The Order: 1886 is far more of a game than anything else. The loud minority on the internet exaggerated the extent of the cutscenes and quick time events. While each chapter of the game has at least one quick time event and some cinematic storytelling, almost 75% of the game is spent trying to accomplish story related objectives, in huge firefights, stealthily eliminating all enemies in an area, and exploring to find collectibles. In fact, there was only two or three major quick time event scenes in the game. The rest were extremely small, such as rapidly hitting X to open doors. All in all, I don’t think that the periodic quick time events and beautiful cutscenes took ANYTHING away from the game. Telltale games have far more quick time events in each episode than The Order: 1886 had in its entirety.
One argument that has repeatedly surfaced is that The Order: 1886’s combat doesn’t do anything new. But I’ll ask you this, why does it need to? FEW games ever bring anything new to the table anymore. What gamers have refused to accept is that The Order does do something innovative – its seamless transition mechanic between combat and cinematics. If that is innovative, why also does the combat have to be? It doesn’t is the answer.
The Order: 1886’s combat was FUN, which is all that matters. Its cover-based combat feels a lot like Gears of War, except much smoother and far prettier. Galahad has several extremely cool weapons at his disposal, which make each enemy encounter more exciting. The ability to use lightning guns, grenade launchers, and the “Thermite Rifle” (which shoots out flammable dust, that you can then light by shooting it with a flare) make the combat much more exhilarating than only being able to use your typical assortment of pistols, shotguns, and rifles. Even with amazing weapons, players will still find themselves in a jam every once in a while. This can easily be countered by entering Blacksight mode, which slows down time allowing you to get the upper hand on your enemies.
A final note I’d like to make is Ready at Dawn’s sound design was amazing. From the awesome soundtrack, to the creepy sounds half breeds make while hunting you, to the superb voice acting, The Order: 1886 is on a whole different level than most of the industry.
The Verdict: 8.7 out of 10
The Order: 1886 is exactly what you’d expect from a PlayStation exclusive game – it’s a unique game that took risks. I am happy to say that the risks were worth it. Describing the game as an interactive movie and saying that it only has quick time events is a gross exaggeration. Players who take their time exploring levels, try to find all of the collectibles, and don’t sprint from point A to point B will find it to be a truly wonderful game. I was completely absorbed in the history of the Order and the war with the half breeds, and the lore kept me wanting to find out more. Add in the fun combat system and you have an awesome mashup genre; I’ve been describing it as a combination of Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, every contemporary Telltale game, Gears of War, and The Last of Us. How can you not want to try that out?
Bravo, Ready at Dawn. Thank you for making a “different” game. I wish you all the best of luck and hope to see a sequel in the future!
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