The Order: 1886 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 26.02.2015 3

Review for The Order: 1886 on PlayStation 4

Every new system thrives on new IP, and The Order: 1886 is the latest on PlayStation 4, from Ready at Dawn and Sony's Santa Monica Studio. With a unique gothic steampunk style, the world The Order: 1886 crafts looks very promising, but does it live up to the hype?

The Order: 1886 is a third-person over-the-shoulder shooter set in Victorian London. It pits an ancient Order of Knights against "Half Breeds," the series name for what is commonly known as a Werewolf.

This is the first completely original title for Ready at Dawn, having originally worked on spin-offs of famous series God of War and Jak and Daxter. It's a big debut. Playing as Galahad, the player is thrown into a world where rebels are fighting against the crown. Werewolves are a constant threat and now some new serial killer known as "Jack the Ripper" is preying upon the populace of London.

Despite the premise of fighting against Werewolves, the combat is primarily against other humans. It's quite disappointing that the supernatural fights are few and far between throughout the game. When they do arrive they come in one of two identical forms. Either as a QTE battle with an attack, using the shoulder buttons to attack and the analogue stick to dodge in different directions; or a terrible enemy encounter where the enemy charges straight towards the player character, runs away, and repeats…over and over. It's quickly tedious and quite lacklustre.

Screenshot for The Order: 1886 on PlayStation 4

The combat against humans, at least, is fun, with a considerable arsenal of weapons to play with and a decent cover system. Most of the weapons are the standard fare, but some, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, are quite unique designs, such as a thermite gun that fires a cloud of thermite with the primary shot and a flare to ignite it with the alternative shot. The Order is also equipped with something known as the "Black Water;" this is not fully explained, but seems to come from King Arthur's time and the Holy Grail. In regards to the story, this Black Water gives members of The Order extremely long life and fast healing abilities. In combat the Black Water can be sipped to heal Galahad, and also fills a meter to use "Black Sight," an ability to slow down time and quickly pick off numerous enemies at once, much like the Dead Eye Targeting ability from Red Dead Redemption.

Though the game tells an interesting story and has solid gameplay at heart, there are a number of aspects that really let it down. The first and most important is the length of the game. Clocking in between around five to eight hours, there isn't a great deal of content for a playthrough. This can often be forgiven when the game has other things on offer, whether it is through achievements to hunt, multiplayer features, new game modes or unlockables. The Order: 1886 has none of that. The few achievements that are in the game come easily enough for the vigilant player; there are no unlockables after a completion, no alternate game modes and no multiplayer.

Screenshot for The Order: 1886 on PlayStation 4

There's always extra playthroughs, but this is where the game's flaws become more apparent. While the cinematic style and pacing works with the overall tone of the game on a first playthrough, on subsequent playthroughs the cut-scenes cannot be skipped, and there are points where the player is forced to walk instead of being able to run, causing the whole game to feel like it's dragging.

The Order: 1886 is definitely worth playing through for the story alone. The performances are well acted and the world crafted is deep, but there are so many questions left unanswered; so many aspects of the world unexplained. The Order is related to King Arthur and the members live for centuries, but how? There's a mysterious figure that appears numerous times, but is never explained. Who is he? Where do the Werewolves and other supernatural things come from? Much like how films and books are often produced as "Part One of the Trilogy" now, this feels very much like an initial look at a much deeper world that is yet to be explained. This can be very frustrating, with some many aspects of the lore referenced and mentioned, but never elaborated upon.

Screenshot for The Order: 1886 on PlayStation 4

The graphics are spectacular. The lines between cut-scene and playing are heavily blurred; every aspect looks good. The backgrounds and environments carry a gothic flair that really sets up a very cinematic feel. The character designs are superb, especially The Order's uniforms, mixing steampunk and Victorian styles in a greatly unique manner. It's a pity, however, that the supernatural aspects are not seen more; the Werewolf transformation evokes that in the original An American Werewolf in London movie.

For such a short game the designers have put in a lot of different gameplay aspects throughout, but, sadly, they either feel very brief or underdeveloped. There are collectables, but no tracker for them, so finding what is missed is a nightmare without a guide. There are stealth sections, but they are few and far between. Nikola Tesla provides a number of gadgets to play with, but they're barely used. It all feels a little like it was rushed to meet a deadline, and there's so much more that could have been included.

It's a shame to see so much disappointment in what could be the beginning of a whole brand-new franchise exclusive to PlayStation 4. The Order: 1886 itself has solid fundamentals, but there's so much that lets it down. Hopefully the developers can address the criticisms against this initial instalment and go on to make superior sequels, if they get the chance...

Screenshot for The Order: 1886 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The Order: 1886 has moments where it really shines and lives up to the potential shown in early previews of the game, but, sadly, the end product feels like it was rushed out before being finished. The story is full of unanswered questions, and there really is no replay value. Despite all its flaws, there is a story worth experiencing, and some great moments. Hopefully the studio gets a second chance, expanding the franchise and rights these wrongs, along with further developing the world in a sequel.

Developer

Ready at Dawn

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

From the tag line, I get the idea Genji is supposed to be a bad thing.

I loved Genji on PS2. Smilie

Genji is not necessarily a bad thing, but then neither is The Order Smilie

Should have used Lair as a point of negativity instead of Genji.

nobody likes Lair.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Ofisil

There are 1 members online at the moment.