Despite the fact that you are living in the year 1886, the world has changed and with it our style of gameplay. Rather than resorting to the weapons of the period, it is Tesla's work that brings us to the future.
'The Order: 1886' on the PlayStation 4 is a third person shooter developed by Ready At Dawn and published by Sony Entertainment. The game was first announced at the 2013 E3 event where a tense and dramatic trailer was previewed. In the trailer we see the protagonist wind his way through a dark and spooky series of hallways before being confronted by a giant, lumbering werewolf. The trailer showcased the excellent graphics and voice acting and it showed viewers how the game would handle cut scenes and real time events. So far the game has been met with mostly lukewarm reviews but we feel that there is something special lurking just under the skin of this game. We decided to delve into the title and find out for ourselves if we would be joining 'The Order'.
A whole new history...
Alternative history entertainment is a whole niche that has a rabid following. From novels to movies and all the way to video games, there is something for everyone. In 'The Order: 1886' we get to see a different route that London could have taken. An old collection of knights are keeping the world safe from a series of monsters that are half bred and combined with man. According to the in game lore, mankind feared humans that took on the traits of beasts and this fear turned to hatred and war erupted. Not unlike the film 'Underworld' or the story 'Frankenstein', 'The Order' lays heavy handed the fool hardy nature of man's fear and how it turns around to bite us in our own backside. The games lore takes a surprising twist when it pulls the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table into the story. King Arthur stood as a stark opponent to the half beasts despite the fact that he was losing the war. It was until they discovered a mystical liquid, named 'Blackwater' (sorry, 'Game of Thrones' fans) that the tides were turned. The liquid gave these knights an extraordinarily long lifespan and with the advent of new technologies they were able to slowly turn the tide of the war. Still, evil doesn't rest and the fight has need to be finished. That is where you come in.
The world of gaming, and entertainment in general, is rife with sequels, prequels, and adaptations. So it was refreshing to see that Sony was willing to invest big money into a flagship IP. Developers Ready at Dawn were handed the reigns and off they went. Fans were initially critical of this developer choice seeing as Ready at Dawn has primarily focused their company on the development of mobile games: some of the most hated forms of entertainment in the U.S. But still, the game continued and pretty soon fans were hyped up by what they were seeing.
After the release of the E3 trailer fans began to fight about the cinematic nature of the game. More and more it seemed as if you were merely strapped into the storyline, rather than driving it forward with your own actions. And this is indeed where 'The Order: 1886' may lose some gamers, though much to their own mistake. The game is driven by an almost movie quality script that forces you to keep attention focused on the words that the well acted characters were muttering.
So knowing a bit about the history of the game should allow us to properly examine the title as it sits in the trays of our PS4 consoles. 'The Order' utilizes a brand new engine that has worked wonders to create a living and breathing world. The graphics in the game are absolutely gorgeous. From the dripping of water off of a roof to the way the light plays across the face of a half breed lycan as it chases you down, it's all fascinating. In fact the textures and movement of the characters were so well done that fans began to think they were seeing rendered files, rather than actually gameplay footage.
Looking past the cinematic nature of the game we dive into how it feels to actually play it. You enter the game as Sir Galahad, one of the original Knights of the Round Table. In an almost steam punk variation of old London, you end up pairing up with historical figures like Nikola Tesla to unravel the mysteries surrounding the lycans that are tearing apart London. This is an intriguing take on history that should provide many late night discussions for fans of the game and history itself. Tesla becomes a central figure in the fight against these beasts and it is his borderline wizardry that could change the way the war ends.
Despite the fact that you are living in the year 1886, the world has changed and with it our style of gameplay. Rather than resorting to the weapons of the period, it is Tesla's work that brings us to the future. You will use thermite firing guns, self loading pistols, wireless transmission devices, and even Zeppelins. We shouldn't need to remind our readers that none of these things existed in 1886 in the world as we know it.
The bulk of the game consists of you traversing through London in a battle against some truly monstrous creatures. You will solve puzzles, get into fire fights, and unravel mysteries that will change the way the world unfolds before you. At its core there isn't anything intrinsically new about any of the gameplay elements. There aren't revolutionary tactics that will be heralded for years to come. Instead, the developers made a game that worked on every level even if those levels had been traveled before.
'The Order: 1886' on the PlayStation 4 is a polished game that pushes the limits and blurs the line between movie and video game. The acting is top notch, the graphical fidelity is unrivaled, and the lack of bugs or graphical hitches should make the team behind 'Assassins Creed: Unity' blush with embarrassment. The games story will appeal to those into the steam punk and alternative history genres. We found the game to be encapsulating and addicting, even if it were not revolutionary.
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