Is “The Order: 1886” all we want and more?

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First Posted: 3/27/2015

One of the highlights of 2013’s E3 press conference, “The Order: 1886” is one of the most anticipated games for Playstation 4 owners but is it the experience we have been waiting for?

Based on what we saw at E3, “The Order” looked like the most technically impressive game to ever come out and graphically that might be true. This game looks mind-bogglingly gorgeous. It’s the game you want to tease people with to show off your Playstation hardware. The sound and voice acting is among the best I have ever heard and the movie cut scenes are like a real blockbuster you would see in a theater.

These beautiful movie scenes are one of the issues with the game. Yes, they are amazing. They have a great story to tell, but there are times where they stretch on for 10 minutes or more without any control inputs from the player. Because the game looks the same as the cut scene, it’s hard to tell when to start playing again which can lead to your character just standing there until you realize what’s going on. Some of the chapters of the game are just cut scenes.

One thing that nods to real cinema in the game is the letterbox which has black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. It makes it look more like a movie, however I don’t care for it in a movie and find it to be even more annoying in a game. It limits what you can see on the screen but it allows the developers to draw focus to the action and increase the resolution.

The story and the concept are great and something we have never seen before. “The Order: 1886” tells the dark story of a secret society in an alternate Victorian London. The Order uses advanced technology to fight werewolves and human “Half-Breeds.” The Order goes back to the era of King Arthur’s court which is why everyone is named after one of Arthur’s Knights. You play as Sir Galahad, one of the veterans of this old war. The Knights of the Round Table have a secret liquid called blackwater that heals wounds and extends lives allowing them to continue the fight.

Not everything in the game is a cut scene, it isn’t a movie after all. When you do get to pick up the controller and play, the controls are very similar to older third person shooter games like “Uncharted” or “Gears of War.” The cover mechanics work fine and some of the weapons and tools are very interesting but there isn’t a ton of innovation. One great twist on the story, all the technology and weapons were developed by Nikola Tesla.

Another big part of the controls is there are a ton of quick-time events with timed button presses. Some of the timed sections are very short leading to frustrating deaths, but that isn’t often. Most of the levels are pretty linear which doesn’t leave much to explore but it does streamline the experience so you don’t miss a moment of the action. There are some block moving puzzles and a lock picking mini game breaks up the action.

There are some things you can find in the environment such as old photos and phonograph recordings which are nice to expand the lore but aren’t super necessary unless you are trying to get 100 percent completion. There is no online multiplayer and the game is pretty short, so it should be pretty easy to get all the trophies in this game.

The short story and concise linear levels aren’t bad. It ensures everything you see and experience is exactly what the developers want. All of the character interactions are great and the action is tense and exciting. Sometimes I get really burnt out on huge open world games, sometimes I like a more focused narrative experience. I don’t think the length is a problem as long as it is a good game. I enjoyed what I experienced.

It is very clear that this is just the first game in a larger world based on how many unanswered questions are out there and how many stories are left unfinished. “The Order: 1886” does have some issues, but it is a great jumping off point into a larger world and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.