by Alexei Rivera | February 20, 2015 10:05 am
The Order: 1886 is an interesting PlayStation 4 exclusive that ties together some of the best real-time visuals in a video game with some unusual gameplay choices which will no doubt polarize its intended audiences.
You play as Sir Galahad, a Knight of the Round Table in this beautiful rendition of an alternate reality Victorian-era London. The world is not at peace however: a rebellion has begun and The Order’s sworn enemy: a wolf-like shapeshifting race called the Lychans are now running amok in the city. As far as gameplay is concerned though, The Order: 1886 is what you would call a third person action game – with most of the action bits comprised of cover-based shooting. Surprisingly though, this is not where most of your time will actually be spent. Ready at Dawn, the game’s developer, have opted to have you walk around, open doors, inspect objects, and watch cutscenes. Lots and lots of cutscenes.
Granted, some of these cutscenes do require you to press buttons to succeed. (You know, otherwise known as quick time events.) And while your enjoyment of those may vary, they kind of present no real challenge and is just a random check if the player still has a pulse. This is essentially what will divide people’s opinions about The Order: is it a deliberate, narrative-driven game that’s meant to be savored? Or do we really need that many ways to open doors, stab people, and transition to new areas?
When the game does let you shoot people though, it’s instantly gratifying. The cover-based shooting mechanics are solid and provide an excellent environment to test out the game’s unique steampunk weapons. The are a variety of combat scenarios as well including pistol battles in the subway, sniping, stealth, and of course shootouts in all kinds of locations. It really is just too bad that these sequences were made to be so short.
The story, as you would expect, is told through a variety of cutscenes. Throughout the 8 hour campaign you’ll travel from one iconic setpiece to another as Sir Galahad investigates the source of the Lychan infestation. Curiously though, the backstory of this world is never really fleshed out, and the ending will probably leave people underwhelmed. That said, the narrative that exists has been lovingly crafted with top notch voice acting and facial animations.
Overall, The Order: 1886 is a cinematic game that sets a high new bar for graphical fidelity on next generation consoles. From a technical perspective, everything about this game have been executed perfectly. What does let it down though is the cutscene & button prompt-filled pacing. In that way, playing The Order is like being on the wheel of a sportscar that’s unfortunately stuck in stop & go traffic. Its unbelievably beautiful, but your enjoyment can be a little limited.
The Order: 1886 is exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and is now available for PHP 2,499 (US $60) or in a PS4 bundle for PHP 22,699. A limited edition t-shirt will be given away to buyers while supplies last.
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