Review Written by Anthony Tyson. February 28, 2015
When The Order 1886 was first announced back in E3 2013, I was immediately excited. A Victorian steampunk alternate history in London with werewolves? Sign me up! As the months rolled on however, and gameplay was released, I became less enthused. It started to look like just a bunch of cinematics strewn together with brief shooting galleries, added with the now Cardinal sin of Gaming: Quick Time Events. Still, I was determined to get the game nonetheless, as I loved the look and era the game is set in. I picked it up over the weekend and the first good thing I can say is this: it's at least not 5 hours, contrary to the floating rumor over the Internet. It's actually 7 and 1/2......
The first thing that's apparent when you get into this game, is that Ready at Dawn (the developer making this game), really took their time to achieve the level of fidelity that the trailers implied. The game is stunning on the PS4, and it's really amazing to see that the cinematics go into the action and gameplay. No apparent loading screens, and the graphics stay at the same impressive level: regardless of whether it's a cutscene or gameplay. It was necessary that they delivered on this, as the game is entirely single player campaign, and I'm glad to see that they achieved that goal. For all its graphical prowess however, the story is largely formulaic. While enjoyable, all of the events you can kind of see coming a mile away. No real surprises, but fans of series like Underworld will find it entertaining.
As for the gameplay, it's a Gears of War type of shooter. 3rd person camera, and relies on cover for most of its combat. It does this well, but nothing innovative. There is one addition to the standard combat flow, and that's this changeable ability that, when used, slows down time and automatically pinpoints target within your range of view. As you press the fire button, you can take out these targets with your sidearm weapon that you have. It's cinematic and cool, but doesn't break the game play, as the meter you have to charge depletes quickly. You can usually take out 4-5 guys max. The thing that really sticks out are some of the more experimental weaponry you get in the game. The tesla cannon (I think that's what it's called) Arc Rifle, and Thermite Launcher are all awesome. Special shout out to the Thermite launcher in particular, as it's crazy to see your enemies just light up in flames with the OP weapon. Makes you feel badass. The sad part is that you only get these in select missions in the game: which happens only a few times in select levels. The levels usually just become littered with the standard rifles and shotguns, which while decent weapons, are just largely a bore.
Ultimately The Order 1886 is good proof of concept, but as a $60 purchase it doesn't quite deliver as "full" experience. It's a decent game, but there is no reason to go back in to the 8hr gameplay. If this had co-op, or a challenge mode, hell even a way to pick your guns on the levels you play, this could have been a decent game for $60. For an age where gamers are looking for a game to last them months for the $60 price point, The Order is ridiculously overpriced. Stay clear of this until it's about $20 or less, and this might be a nice quick experience for all.