The latest Playstation 4 exclusive, The Order: 1886, was crucified before it even hit store shelves. Ahead of its release, news of its 6 hour campaign hit interweb-land, and early reviews slated it as nothing more than a fancy tech-demo; but are these opinions on the game justified?
Personally, I was rather excited about The Order: 1886, even after hearing of the thin campaign length. The game is developed by Ready at Dawn, who created the PSPS’s God of War: Ghost of Sparta – which is my favourite game in the GoW franchise (that’s right, more so than GoW 2 and 3) – so I was optimistic going into their new PS4 adventure.
So onto the game. It’s set in an alternate Victorian London in the titular year 1886, where an order of knights use weapons designed by Nikola Tesla to fight werewolves. And (despite the incredibly obvious move to literally have Nikola Tesla be the weapon designer) this is a dedicated and detailed steampunk setting that embraces all of the aesthetics and attitudes of the time, rather than just slapping some gears on things and calling it steampunk.
There’s no question about dedication from the developers, as it’s clear Ready at Dawn poured their heart and soul into the design. Everything from the grimy yet architecturally beautiful streets of London to the facial animations and tassels on their uniforms is meticulously detailed.
This detailing extends to the visuals themselves. The graphics is breathtakingly remarkable – arguably the best you’ll get at this point in time – but the brilliance in that department doesn’t necessarily exist in others.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. It’s a third-person cover-based shooter. You get a variety of weapons, from the traditional to the fantastical, that you’ll use to shoot soldiers, werewolves and other baddies. It’s incredibly tight and the cover system is one of the best since Gears of War, but that’s about the best it gets. There are some stealth and sneaking sections, although they’re incredibly linear and don’t offer much deviation from the prescribed path.
And it’s a shame, because the visual quality and incredible depth of the world created by the developers is something to marvel and applaud, but the unoriginal gameplay doesn’t live up to those standards. It’s not a bad game buy stretch of the imagination – if you love third-person shooters, give it a go – but keep in mind the eye-candy only lasts so long, and when it fades, you’re left with a corridor shooter that’s over way too soon.