The emperor's new steampunk clothes?
2015 was meant to be the year where it all happened on PS4, and this is the game that was meant to kick it all off.The Order: 1886 is an interesting experience. I label it as an experience because I don’t think it can be called a videogame, not in the conventional term at least.
A more apt description of it would be a string of high quality sequences separated by some functional, if not a bit dull, cover-based shooting sections.Ready at Dawn have bold ambitions with their latest offering, attempting to blur the lines between cinema and gaming. In much the same way that Heavy Rain did several years ago, The Order blends interactive sequences with fully playable sections, with little indication as to when one starts and the other ends. As pieces of cinema and gaming, The Order falls well below the mark of both sadly with a lot left to be desired.
As Galahad, you are a Knight of a divine order sworn to protect the realm and keep London safe from crime and mutants that are running riot across the city. Mimicking that of King Arthur’s Round Table knights, your group of companions sadly fall into the expected stereotypes we’ve come to expect over the years. There’s the womanising Frenchman, the token female who fills your love interest and an old wise head who is your master.
With a unique steampunk twist on Victorian London, The Order should be an exciting romp through tight back alleys and exciting stand-offs in the London Underground. Unfortunately, your actions never live up to expectations, and the whole game is a dull trudge through dark and uninteresting environments. There are teases of grander adventures abroad in the Americas and India, but act as nothing more than mere anecdotes as you walk to your next directive.
As a shooter The Order is functional and, at times, quite entertaining. The cover mechanics are tight, if overused, and some sections can be quite intense if approached in the wrong manner. Your selection of weapons fall into the usual categories: pistol, rifle and shotgun, with some unique scientific weapons to add to the mix also.
It is the latter that give The Order something worth shouting about, as the Thermite rifle is without doubt one of the most satisfying weapons seen in a game recently. But the lack of enemy variation and the predictability of each shootout is what drags it down, with most acting like turkey shoots or pop-up target practice.
As a shooter The Order is functional
As a piece of cinema, The Order fares much worse. Visually, it is stunning and by far the best looking game that has released to date. But beyond its visuals and ‘cinematic’ scope aspect ratio, you’re never grabbed by the story it is trying to tell or truly engage with any of its main roster. With little explanation or introduction, you are expected to care about your fellow brothers and the people of London and fear the mutant threat, the Lycans. All cinematic edge and feeling is lost given its constant need for your attention to interact with its cinematic sequences, breaking all drama and emotion.
Much commotion was made in The Order’s build up regarding how short the campaign is and, without a multiplayer mode, how little replay value it holds. The latter point is valid, as once the campaign is done and dusted there is no reason to re-visit it beyond racking up your trophy count. The 6-7 hour completion time isn’t a problem as such, should it have been packed with a white knuckle ride of exciting sequences and a story that was worth paying attention to.
Instead you’re forced to dawdle through rooms and buildings with a few trinkets for you to pick up and inspect, before being met with a group of hostiles. The streets of London hold promises of exploration with locked doors leading to hidden areas and alternate routes to your objective. Most of which prove to hold no use than to hide a newspaper clipping or audio clip for you to collect, with your path being surprisingly claustrophobic and linear.
- Looks Stunning
- Interesting setting
Out of Order
- Uninteresting story
- Fails to live up to the hype
- Not really a game
The Order: 1886 PS4 ReviewSo is The Order bad because it is short? No, far from it in fact. A seven hour campaign would have been much easier to swallow should it have been one that was memorable and lived up to the hype that it had built prior to launch. But this will go down as another one of Sony’s failed first-party efforts that will quickly find its way into the bargain bin in a relatively short period of time.
With no replay value at all, it is hard to recommend this at full retail price and is the perfect reason why we all groaned at the prospect of renting games being a thing of the past on this generation of consoles. As a quick, one-day rental this will be one of those games that you can say you’ve played, but it certainly isn’t one to run out and buy, or a reason to own a PS4.
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