Home / Reviews All / Game Reviews / Chaos in Order – The Order: 1886 Review

Chaos in Order – The Order: 1886 Review

Despite it being one of the fastest selling consoles in history, there’s no denying that owners of Sony’s Playstation 4 have had a bit of a rough go when it comes to exclusive titles to play.  In fact, other than a few random titles in the past year, nearly everything that’s been released on the console in terms of big-budget “AAA” games has been multi-platform.  This is why the collective hopes of fans were resting on developer Ready At Dawn’s The Order: 1886 to be the first true blockbuster exclusive for the PS4, and the beginning of a new franchise for the mega-publisher.

Order 5Those hopes, however, are (at least partially) unfounded.  While I found much to enjoy in The Order, I can safely say that it does stumble slightly out of the gate, while still offering an engaging and fun new world in which to build a new series.  A steampunk-inspired take on the now overused pop and lock third person shooter genre, The Order: 1886 puts players in the role of Galahad, one of the Knights of the Round table, though not THE Galahad of legend.  The protagonist is one of many who have bore the name over the centuries since Arthur and his knights roamed the Earth.

Which presents us with one of the areas I felt The Order managed to really shine, in its world building.  The unique spin on Arthurian Legend and the pseudo explanation of The Holy Grail and it’s life-extending powers made for a world that I’d like to see much more of.  Members of this secret order are gifted a vial of what they call blackwater, taken from the grail itself, which has the power to heal wounds and extend life, sometimes for centuries, and are awarded the name of a knight of the round, almost as if it were a title. It all comes together to create a compelling and engaging narrative, as Galahad uncovers secrets and lies, and a conspiracy within the ranks of his own order that threatens everything he believes in.

There is also no way to deny the beauty of this title.  Without question, The Order is the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen, and that’s not just on consoles.  It blows away anything I’ve seen, even running on the beefiest gaming rig.  The textures are smooth, the frame rate is solid and the models are a step above any of its competition.  It’s nearly impossible to believe it’s not a movie when you’re playing it, because it looks too good to be true.

Order 1

But it’s cinematic nature also becomes it’s downfall.  The actual mechanics of shooting and taking cover, while not poor in any way, do come off as formulaic and repetitive.  Often times you will find yourself realizing that there’s not much more to this game than being a corridor shooting.  You come into an area where it’s clear a gunfight is about to begin and then it’s a matter of sticking in one spot while endless waves of enemies throw themselves into your bullets.  The gameplay itself is fun but not exactly challenging, and nowhere near as fresh as it’s presentation.

Additionally, the pacing of The Order struggles as well.  Too often is player agency taken away and you are left to play the role of usher from one cutscene to the next.  In these moments Galahad seems to take the role of the proverbial tortoise, moving at a snails pace despite your constant stick clicking, hoping to at least get him to jog to the next story beat.  The game is littered with little annoyances that hinder it’s pace, collectibles are scattered throughout each level, but are mostly useless which makes them even more frustrating.  While it’s impressive to see the detail put into each individual item you can pick up and turn over in your hand, almost every single one has no bearing on gameplay whatsoever and eventually end up being put back down where you found them, as if to further drive home the items pointlessness.

Order 6But, in the end, The Order presented me with a story I enjoyed thoroughly with gameplay sufficiently capable enough to make me want to continue playing.  It’s a great base for a new franchise, but it will have to see some major pacing and structural changes if Sony hopes to turn this into it’s next great first party series.  It’s honestly not unlike the original Uncharted in that way.  An unraveled beauty in it’s aesthetic that struggles at times to find the perfect mix of story and gameplay.  However, it’s easy to see where this could become something truly great, especially if you follow that comparison to it’s conclusion, if Ready At Dawn can prove to do what Naughty Dog did with its follow-ups then The Order could become a series to reckon with in the future.

Second Opinion – Thoughts From Chuck Nalley

The Order: 1886 is a conundrum: the things it does well, it does very well. The graphics are, without question, some of the absolute best that you will see outside of an IMAX movie. The textures on everything from the impeccable character models down to the threading on the clothes that they wear are immaculately rendered. The voice work here is also top notch; the actors convey the right amount of emotion into the game that keeps you appropriately immersed. The steampunk aesthetic of the overall environment, mixed with the eye popping realism of the character models, places you inside of the well designed world better than almost any game that has debuted in quite a while. My favorite part of the game, however, is the music; I haven’t heard a soundtrack that was this well orchestrated…well, maybe ever. The compositions are haunting and moving but they do the all so important job of immersing you into the world and giving you that sense of dread/awe/tenseness that the game is trying to instill. It’s marvelous.
Conversely, the aspects of the game that The Order doesn’t do well (almost everything else) misses terribly. First, and foremost, is the story. Story is key in gaming these days and The Order’s bland storyline could have been written by any out of work hack. It’s bad. Mix that in with the awful shooting mechanics and you get a forgettable experience that defines mediocrity. Did I mention the overtly dumb AI? Well, let’s just say that on numerous occasions I killed several rebels without ever moving my sights…they just took the place of the random (now) headless cronie I previously axed. I was also expecting there to be more of a supernatural feel to the game. The marketing leading up to this release made it seem as if the main villains were going to be werewolves. They’re not. I saw maybe 10 fully transformed half-breeds even though the characters kept telling me how much of a bane they were. Plus, wasn’t Nikola Tesla supposed to give me all of these super cool weapons? Well, he doesn’t. I feel that the developers of the game wasted this cool aspect of this alternate history with just a couple of neat weaponry that you only get to use in about 10% of the game. Lame. Lastly, having the final boss being almost the exact same confrontation as the mid-boss just seemed…well, lazy.
Overall, The Order: 1886 is not bad game. It’s just not a good one either. I would have been okay with the developers taking something out of the graphics and giving me more on story and gameplay. I feel that they started with graphics and world building and rushed the story and gameplay…you know, the things that matter. With the lack of replayability and a short playthrough, this game should either be borrowed or rented; paying full retail just doesn’t seem worth it.
Score: 5.5
Despite it being one of the fastest selling consoles in history, there's no denying that owners of Sony's Playstation 4 have had a bit of a rough go when it comes to exclusive titles to play.  In fact, other than a few random titles in the past year, nearly everything that's been released on the console in terms of big-budget "AAA" games has been multi-platform.  This is why the collective hopes of fans were resting on developer Ready At Dawn's The Order: 1886 to be the first true blockbuster exclusive for the PS4, and the beginning of a new franchise…

Review Overview

The Order: 1886 - 7

7

Good

Summary : The Order is by no means a perfect game, but where it lacks in gameplay variety it makes up for in story and presentation. A lackluster start, but still a solid foundation for a new franchise.

User Rating: Be the first one !
7

About Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett
Josh is a professional Nintendo apologist and self-loathing Carolina Panthers fan. He does NOT like long walks on the beach, rather he prefers strolls through the snow. You can catch him every week on the Free For All Podcast.