Never have I been so excited for a game which has been met with such mixed results from the gaming culture. The Order: 1886 was developed by Ready at Dawn and Published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The Order: 1886 is a single player, third-person shooter, story-driven game, set in an alternate history London. An Order of knights exists to fight against half-breed monsters to keep the world safe. This is Ready at Dawn’s first foray into the world of making Triple-A games. Their previous games Daxter (2006), God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008), God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010) was released on the PSP. In 2008 they released Ōkami on the Nintendo Wii and back in 2011 they gathered their two God of War creations into the God of War: Origins for the PlayStation 3. So how was their four year venture into the power of the PlayStation 4? It was a valiant effort.
There is a lot in this game to be looked at; a lot to be picked on, a lot to be praised and a lot to think about in regards to the future of this (potential) franchise. The most noticeable thing in this game is the high quality of the graphics. There were times during my session where I would just stop walking and gasp at the level of detail within the world. I really do believe it is the best looking game currently out on any console. The world that Ready at Dawn has created is so detailed and beautiful it’s a shame we don’t get to spend more time experiencing it. There is a moment in the game when you are roping down the side of a blimp and you see the gorgeous city of London below you. All I could think was how great it is to feel that vertigo and how beautiful the city was. My next thought is how disappointing it would be that I wouldn’t get to see more than a fifth of it.
Ready at Dawn really brought their best with the characters of The Order: 1886. Not just because of the previously mentioned visuals but their characterisations as well. Galahad is the lead protagonist in The Order: 1886 in where he is a soldier that is part of an Order which has survived since the times of King Arthur. He isn’t the original Galahad from back in that time, but the names of the Knights of the Round Table continue on as a sort of title. The thing that impressed me about the characters was how consistent the language was. Sir Perceval / Sebastian Malory is a mentor and a long-time friend of Galahad. He is the driving motivation for Galahad in this story and you see how much his friend means to him. The female lead is Lady Igraine / Isabeau D’Argyll who was a former student of Galahad’s and is now equally as capable as he is. She is also the youngest member to ever be inducted into the Order. There is a much closer history hinted at between the Galahad and Lady Igraine but isn’t fully realised within this story. Marquis de Lafayette, new to the Order after having survived both American and French Revolutions. All the supporting characters are well written but all seem to fall by the wayside in the second half of the game. This is because other important characters come into play.
The story is able to find an exciting balance between the non-fiction of the time (like the murders of Jack the Ripper) and the century old myths (of the Holy Grail). A topic of conversation about this game leading up to its release was that this game would be too short. A leak was released earlier in the week of someone saying they beat it in five hours. For those wondering this game probably took me between 7-8 hours to finish on a normal setting. For what the story was trying to tell I don’t think it needed to be any longer. The ending had me asking a few questions obviously leaving things open ended for a sequel. With the amount of money that has been put into this game, Sony is looking to turn this into a franchise to last this console generation.
One of the reasons the game felt at the right length was that I didn’t feel like “playing” the game for much longer. As well told as the story is, the game-play doesn’t have the same impact. For of much of the first two hours, you spend more time hitting button prompts and walking, than you do firing a weapon. Then after you finally get to use a special weapon it’s either ripped from you, or there is no more ammunition for you to grab. Therefore, you must swap with one of the fallen enemies and use the less exciting generic weapons. It makes you wonder if Ready at Dawn were going to invent these weapons (like and arc gun) why not let the player use it more than twice or three times. The shooting mechanics themselves isn’t particularly bad or good. They just feel generic and not that exciting. As the player you spend a lot of time in one spot as you pick off each enemy one-by-one. There isn’t enough variety to keep you engaged. There are a few quick time events, or “boss battles” which are solidly executed.
My main feeling playing this game is that I wish it was a Quantic Dream game and for it to give me multiple options to do in the scene. But that’s not the type of game that is. It’s a third person shooter. Judging the game on what it is, it doesn’t live up to everything that the game promises. If I was to rate this game I would say it is GOOD. Only just. But it is good! If you were going to spend money on one game this year this is not the game to get. There is very little replay value in it. It may be something you go back to in 6 months to finish over a weekend. The Order: 1886 has its flaws but I think there is enough there, not only for a $50 (AUS) purchase, but also for a franchise to build off.
Article By Daniel Clements