It’s been a long time coming and the rumours were that Ready at Dawn had taken a long time to make… well, not very much in the end. A game that could be completed in less than 6 hours in fact. But after a week of ups and downs the games reception was met with more disappointments than just the game’s length. But we of course reserve all judgement until the game is played and here on My Games Lounge we like to give the developers equal chance, so here comes our official The Order 1886 Review.
That being said, Ready at Dawn really, really forced their way through with the vision and idea of a game that COULD have been something really special but, as you play though the beautifully designed game with some incredible voice acting and stunning graphics, you end up feeling deflated. Everything is in place for that not to happen, but the decisions made in the final product of the game were simply the wrong ones particularly in the early stages of the game.
There again the pace and enjoyment of The Order 1886 picks up as the story reaches its conclusion with some fast paced action segments. With a strong finish and, most importantly, a Universe Ready at Dawn have created here there is potential in a game that may have been treated a little harshly.
Look and Feel
Wow. There is a lot to go at here but quite simply, it will leave you open mouthed at the attention to detail and beauty of this title. Faces are incredibly detailed with every small movement captured brilliantly. Environments have so much like they could be a real home with objects in every environment all looking like they could be picked up and held.
It’s a shame you can’t do much with it all though
There is more to creating an atmosphere than very detailed and realistic graphics. Everything is so meticulously created yet hardly anything can be interacted with. And when they can, you are left thinking “why was I rolling that around my hand..?” there is no story behind things or secrets to be found which is just ridiculous in a game set in a rich, historic era.
Then there are NPCs, firstly there are not enough of them in general and then the fact you can’t actually interact with them, you just creepily lurk around listening in… creepy!
Now for the big one as usually in areas with other characters around you are forced to walk, you simply have no option to go any faster so you listen to chatter, try and find objects or interesting things in the environment… but very often there is hardly anything to do! Let me talk and get involved! Let me find out something about the history of this London, let me get into random conversations and try and help people out or even get into an optional fight. Sadly, this never happens.
It looks beautiful it really does BUT there is more to creating a feel of a game than just outstanding graphics and The Order lacks depth here, and it really wrecks any atmosphere when it comes to pacing.
The sense of urgency is completely lost when you are forced into walking one minute, then one moment later you are sprinting like a madman in combat, trying to stop someone desperately… then walking slowly again… then back to chasing them! But then they get some sections spot on, a big action sequence at the docks and within a burning warehouse is really well done and action packed but The Order tends only to get things right in moments rather than in an overall experience.
Story & Characters
The game’s graphical engine and voice acting cast really stands apart from other titles, and while the plot is a relatively simple one the overall presentation of the story is first class. Interactive cut scenes keep you involved in the action with some hit-and-miss quick time events and facial expressions and details… you guessed it, those moustaches, mutton chops and beards, all look amazing.
The main plot sees you exploring the city of London and Whitechappel in search of a group of terrorist rebels and half-breeds and Lycans which all reveals itself to be a much deeper conspiracy that points back into the government and even The Order itself. The journey has some twists and turns with some moments where you see something going on and question it but maybe not enough to warrant a replay of the game but, never-the-less it’s worth playing right through to the end as everything gets much better the further along you go.
The problem… well we’re back to lacking in depth and pacing. The walking sections do not work, all they do is detach me from the next part of the story and ruins any urgency I had to find out what happened next. I know games like The Last of Us had slower sections but I could at least Jog AND there were things to do. Vital supplies to be found, interactions with things and other characters talking with “me” as we go.
In The Order, the walking sections simply detach me from everything and they happen too frequently to be a novelty.
The story should have had some kind of subplot, something else going on with evidence to gather as I went along to make collecting things have some meanings. Jack the Ripper is mentioned in the game and it was a perfect opportunity to have some investigation areas inspecting the evidence to help the police. Or something else, anything… of course it’s only 19th century London so there isn’t much history there now is there(!)
That being said the main plot is enough to get you through the campaign and see it through to the end, despite a slow start and odd pacing to it, in the end you will feel good you finished it.
The Order 1886 suffers here and it’s slightly different problems now, firstly the choice for the big 90s PlayStation cinema scope made me nostalgic to play Final Fantasy VII again but for a modern 3rd person shooter they just get in the way. When the action kicks off it’s just not necessary for them to be there and it really does not help with seeing enemies particularly from elevated positions where you would expect to have the advantage. The game is more than cinematic enough for these to pull away during action scenes AND the type of modification Ready at Dawn should consider in an update.
But, this game boasts some of the coolest weapons in a 3rd person shooter, the Thermite Rifle and the Arc Induction Lance are just awesome to either incinerate enemies with or splatter parts of their body into bloody much with electricity. Seriously… get up close with the Arc and watch some of the animations, it’s amazing. In fact, they are so amazing some form of Kill Cam should have been added here, I’d really have enjoyed seeing a slow motion close up here and, in my opinion this was a missed opportunity particularly given the cinematic style of the game.
With that being said, there is just very little opportunity to use these amazing weapons and when you do the combat is mainly a bunch of rebels that you blow away reasonably easily. Confrontations with Lycans/half-breeds are not only infrequent for a game all about them but they are also all in close quarters and mean you simply fire a standard rifle at them as they come to attack you, dodge out of the way, repeat.
Ok, I’m now going to talk about QTEs but bear in mind, I actually quite like them if done right (God of War for example) so I’m not going to go too mad here. The issue with them is, some make sense and I don’t mind them others are just pointless. In the big fights with the taller, elder Lycans the combat is really intense and they work nicely in combination with attacking options I’m in control of.
This for me worked ok and I enjoyed it. But then, a knight who can take down a 9ft tall werewolf can be killed by some random guard because of mistiming a stealth kill QTE where you have to time drawing your knife properly? No, this doesn’t work for me. While the stealth missions were good, personally speaking I like a good stealth element to a game and it worked well in The Order, an elite knight would not be taken down by some guard for fumbling with a knife. It literally makes no sense.
Action is at a premium in The Order 1886 but it does finish a lot stronger than it starts with some excellent weapons and good action scenes but overall, again, it’s lacking in depth here.
Too much has been made of The Order 1886’s length before the release of the game, if anything the single player campaign is in line with similar titles like Uncharted etc. The issue is, and I may have mentioned this already: a serious lack of depth. There is nothing to do extra to the main plot, no reason to re-visit the main story once completed other than to mop up a few easy trophies for a nice platinum for the collection.
It’s of course not right to base a review on cost of the game (otherwise our scores would be changing everytime there is a sale!) but richness of experience is something to consider and here you are not getting value for money if you were to pay the full cost of the game. It’s certainly worth a play and a trade-in (I’ll have paid £25 for the game after trading it in and don’t feel robbed) or rental etc as the game is certainly worth experiencing.
It was also pleasing to see that the game looks to be the start of something not the end and the way the epilogue ends I’d expect everything to kick off in the sequel not long after these events given a few things are left unanswered and incomplete.
As the start of a universe it is positive, the hard work creating the game engine is now done and I would not be surprised to see a fast turnaround for the sequel but right now the game is more of an example of what the game engine can do than the rich gaming experience we were expecting.