So The Order 1886. The Xbox Killer. The game to end all games.
We at least with thought it was. Unfortunately though The Order falls short of these steep expectations.
However not quite as far short as some of the reviews would have you think. No, The Order is a wonderfully good game. It has gritty gameplay, intense gun fights similar to the infamous Gears of War series and it sports undoubtedly the most stunning visuals on a console game to date.
The game looks really good, amazing in fact!
The dynamic lighting cast over a steampunk alternative London adds a realism to the games visuals like I have never seen before. You will crawl around the catacombs of Westminster, blast hordes ofrebels in The Royal London Hospital and slay lycans (bloody big werewolves) in the lugubrious streets of Whitechapel.
The combat is impressive in The Order, but the gripe is there is just not enough of it.
Cutscenes cutscenes and more cutscenes constantly creep into the action to disrupt the flow of the action.
Out of the 15 chapters in the story 2 whole chapters are dedicated to cutscenes. Yes Ready At Dawn we know you have made a handsome looking baby here, but let the visuals speak for themselves in the gameplay, not by ramming yet more cutscenes down our throats every 5 minutes.
And there is worse to come, you CAN’T skip any of the cutscenes. Not one!
The game becomes almost like an interactive film, with the odd button push here and there. Not what we want to see from games, in my opinion anyway. And it is frustrating in the case of The Order because when the action gets going it is such a strong feature of the game.
The gunplay is tight, the AI is smart enough to make it a challenge and the weapons of choice are lethal killing machines. Look out for the Arc gun, a particular favourite of mine.
Now I am sure by now you have heard the horror stories or watched with abject terror the YouTube videos of players blasting their way through the story campaign in 5 hours.
Well let me put your fears to bed. The story IF played right should take you around 7-8 hours. And when I say played right I mean having a little explore of the beautifully crafted world, there are collectibles to be found in the shape of newspaper clippings and audio devices which can be listened to in the menus.
The combat is difficult enough to keep players on their toes and should take them a little while to fight through some of the more tricky sections of the game.
A huge downside for me though is the lack of variety the game has to offer.
It is very much watch cutscene, go kill what seems like countless bland enemy types, watch another cutscene, rinse and repeat.
Where are the lycans that we encounter briefly early on in the game?
After all The Order was sold to us as a brand new IP that would involve protecting a Ye’olde London from all things that go bump in the night. Mainly Half Breeds, an ancient horror made up of both man and beast. Werewolves to be precise.
But they never reappear. There is a chapter set in an abandoned hospital which would appear to bring the Half Breeds back into the story arc but all it leads to is more human grunts to pop in the head (headshots are incredibly satisfying in this game) and then a boss battle with an Elder Half Breed which is in fact a carefully scripted QTE (quick time event).
Don’t get me wrong, the boss battle is exhilarating and fun but why oh why couldn’t we kill a few Half Breeds along the way to it, just to spice up the story and more importantly the gameplay.
Overall The Order 1886 is a good game. It has its jaw dropping moments, its solid gunplay and its drop dead gorgeous visuals.
But, you can’t help but feel it is a tech demo for the fantastic bit of hardware it is built for, the PS4. Now it wouldn’t be the first game to do this, we all remember Ryse: Son of Rome right? So I feel we need to go a little easier on The Order.
Yes it doesn’t come with multiplayer which kind of feels like a missed opportunity by Ready at Dawn. Yes it is a full price game £45 ($60) that in the grand scheme of things is kind of short in substance and replayability. But I plead with you not to right it off.
If you own a PS4 it is pretty much a must play. If not I wouldn’t rush out and buy a system just for this.
The Order 1886 is the perfect way to waste away a weekend. A good game that just falls short of being a great game through a few small imperfections.
But I do have to say, I enjoyed playing through it.
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