Ready at Dawn Studios has taken a gamble with The Order: 1886 as it’s the developer’s first ever new and own IP. They usually have the task of making spin-off games for the PSP console. With that being said, does the gamble pay off in the end?
Let’s start off by talking about what The Order: 1886 is all about. You play as a Knight by the name of Sir Galahad who is part of an organization called “The Order”. The Order and its Knights of the Round Table have been protecting humanity for centuries. Galahad has also been alive for just as long as all of the Knights are able to drink a special blackwater that prolongs their life and heals their wounds. The Knights are not immortal however, as they can die in battle.
The game is set in 1886 in London and society has started to rebel against The Order. A group of rebels think the Knights and their Order are just there to protect the rich and wealthy. At the start of the game, Galahad and his Knights are just doing their job. Throughout the course of the game however, Galahad begins to have second thoughts on what he is truly fighting for.
Amidst all of this, the two opposing factions have to deal with the real threat which is the emergence of “half-breeds”. Half-breeds are humans that can turn into wolf-like beings called “Lycans”. Galahad not only has to fight against the Rebellion, but also uncover why there has been an increase of killings in London due to the half-breeds coming to the city as well.
The story itself has a lot of twists and turns. It isn’t as predictable and boring as other recent video games. The only flaw to the story I noticed is the lack of likeable characters and the slow pace at the start of the game. Galahad is a troubled and serious main character, but we don’t get to understand his past very much. The only character I liked is the rookie Frenchman named Layfayette. He’s a womanizer and kind of like the comic relief, although his role in the game is miniscule.
The biggest flaw to The Order: 1886 is without question its very short length. When I finished the game, I was surprised as I felt there was more Galahad could have done to tie up some loose ends to the story. Nope, the game ended with the credits rolling and that was it. I managed to finish The Order: 1886 on my first go and completed it in just 6 hours. I didn’t rush through the game at all, and I actually died multiple times. The 6 hours included all of the cutscenes as well as the end-credits too.
Another thing I didn’t like about The Order: 1886 is the lack of replay value. Games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Assassin’s Creed Rogue were short, but they offered side-quests and other things that you can do. The Order: 1886 only has the main campaign and that’s it. There are no side-quests for you to undertake or any other modes in the game for you to play such as multiplayer or anything like that.
In terms of gameplay, The Order: 1886’s third-person shooting mechanics is actually pretty good. Galahad has a range of different weapons to use to kill his enemies and the hit detection is precise. The levels are also designed to help you out as there are always walls and other small places for you to hide and take cover.
The melee attacks are also brutally brilliant. Galahad has a large knife and isn’t afraid to use it on enemies. Sometimes the blood of his enemies squirts out across the screen when you do a stealth takedown. It may be gory, but it looks awesome every time you do it.
Apart from shooting, there are a few moments of puzzle solving and stealth elements. These moments are few and far between though as shooting and watching cutscenes make up the bulk of the game. The other large part of the game is Quick Time Events. QTEs are everywhere you go, even during the two boss battles that are in this game. Basically the boss battles are just a QTE in itself as well.
Graphically, The Order: 1886 is stunning. It might be the best looking game ever on the PS4 system to date. The character models look exquisite and sometimes you feel you are actually watching a movie. The cutscenes and in-game graphics look exactly the same, so the quality is high throughout. The only downside is that the game forces you to play it using the 2:35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. There are no options to play the game on a fullscreen, so be prepared to see black borders all of the time.
Overall, The Order: 1886 is an adequate third-person shooter that has an interesting story and somewhat enjoyable gameplay. Sadly the experience is too short and the game offers no replay value whatsoever upon completing. Had this game been longer than 6 or 7 hours, it would have been better. The short length of gameplay is the game’s ultimate downfall.