GAME REVIEW: THE ORDER: 1886 / DEVELOPER: READY AT DAWN / PUBLISHER: SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PS4 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the best movie on the PlayStation 4. With three hours of gameplay and two hours of cutscenes, The Order: 1886 proves how outstanding next-gen visuals can be while wasting every last shred of potential on offer.
Set in an alternate history universe, the game follows the steampunk nigh-immortal Knights of the Round table as they face down hordes of werewolves. Backed by a young Nikola Tesla, the Order soon faces rebellions from the downtrodden lower class lacking their protection, forcing them to fight the very ones they swore to protect.
While an outstanding concept in every sense, the sad truth is that the story squanders every element of this. Barely getting into the universe, so many details hyped from the start are brushed aside or overlooked in favour of a watered down story. Hitting every single last overplayed cliché imaginable right down to the “we’re not so different you and I” villain speech, players get a predictable tale which barely gets going before ending on borderline sequel bait. While the voice actors offer solid performances, the script is so devoid of charm that it fails to offer anything memorable.
Only compounding this problem further is the gameplay. Taking a leaf out of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ book, developer Ready at Dawn teases werewolves but then leaves you spending half the title fighting basic humans. These are sadly also the few times where the game truly shines through, showing serious potential for a good third person shooter, but these are few and far between. All else was sacrificed to force cinematic linearity into the game, but without a serious story to back it up a-la The Wolf Among Us this falls flat.
If there is one thing to truly praise, it’s that The Order: 1886 never fails to look anything but truly glorious. Despite the letterboxing, 30 fps and other issues, the presentation is astounding and the attention to detail truly astonishing to behold. It gives an impression of what the consoles could be capable of with highly detailed textures, environments and reactions, and the sound quality is crisp beyond belief. Sadly, this doesn’t mean much without solid gameplay.
The Order: 1886 is ultimately the second coming of Rhyse: Son of Rome. It’s an experiment, showing what the PlayStation 4 is capable of visually, but failing to back up that flash with any serious substance. What little we get shows some serious potential, but it proves to be little more than a teaser leaving you wanting an actual full game. Really, it simply runs out of steam all too quickly to justify a full price purchase.