Polished, anachronistic sci-fi action in ‘The Order: 1886’

Though absolutely gorgeous from a graphics standpoint, “The Order: 1886” offers little in the way of replayability for its price. (Photo provided by readyatdawn.com)
Though absolutely gorgeous from a graphics standpoint, “The Order: 1886” offers little in the way of replayability for its price. (Photo provided by readyatdawn.com)

As the price of video games has steadily risen, a growing conversation has developed over the value that gamers deserve from a full-price retail experience. This is important to bring up because “The Order: 1886,” a full-priced retail release for PS4 advertising itself as a triple-A blockbuster shooter, only lasts seven to nine hours and has no real replayability.

This, unfortunately, isn’t the greatest problem with “The Order: 1886;” the game suffers from some flawed gameplay mechanics and has poor pacing. “The Order: 1886” isn’t a terrible game though, the game has incredible amounts of potential and is a great building block for the future of the franchise. While “The Order” is a flawed game, it is definitely worthy of a playthrough, albeit at a lower price.

“The Order: 1886” is a linear third person cover-based shooter from developer Ready at Dawn. A PS4-exclusive, “The Order” is Ready at Dawn’s first ever console game, and may very well be the greatest looking game of all time.

The player follows the Knights of the Round Table in London as they hunt for werewolves and a growing rebel threat using futuristic technology. Though a fantasy title, “The Order: 1886” is an alternate history game that grounds itself with a realistic interpretation of 1886 London while still managing to introduce radio’s and zeppelins.

“The Order: 1886” is an unarguably beautiful and captivating game that builds a grounded sense of realism due to its stellar visual quality. Playing through “The Order” is as close to a movie experience as we have every seen from games; the texture and world creation set the bar for the industry. The character’s lip-synching is near flawless and the facial animations and voice work are incredible.

“The Order” is, without a doubt, stunning to look at with seamless integration from cut scenes to gameplay; each character is extremely detailed and unique with intricate facial animations and impressive hair and clothing animation. The world itself, while visually stunning, is more of a beautiful background than an interactive world. When environments contain collectibles and are destructible, the world is as immersive as a film but more often than not the background is a visual set piece. Transitioning between cover isn’t the smooth and seamless process that one would expect from a cover based shooter, and gunplay varies from unique and innovative to boring and repetitive.

The alternate history created by “The Order” is incredibly detailed and engaging. Ready at Dawn (the game’s developer) stayed very true in many aspects to the 1886 industrial revolution London, while managing to cohesively integrate the Knights of the Round Table with futuristic technology and werewolves. From character creation to its character-driven narrative, “The Order” is a captivating experience.

Ultimately it’s difficult to recommend “The Order: 1886” at a full-retail price because the game lacks a level of polish and offers limited replayability. With limited control and freedom, “The Order” becomes a repetitive and dull experience in terms of gameplay, with poor pacing that takes the player out of what would be an immersive journey.

“The Order: 1886” is a tight and engaging narrative featuring a unique alternate history, but has a host of problems, which limits its success; ultimately the game sets the groundwork for what could be an excellent franchise even if its first entry is unarguably flawed.

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