God of War: Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta creators, Ready at Dawn and Santa Monica re-team to give us the latest innovation in third person shooters, The Order: 1886. Delving into an alternative Victorian Era London, this unique take on a popular time period has generated a lot of hype, and with the people who gave us God of War behind it, rightfully so. I personally however was in two minds, as though there was much temptation surrounding this series, the sleek finish, and mesmerizing world looked too good to be true. Ultimately I bit the bullet, and bought the game, and here are my thoughts.
In an alternative history of Victorian London, a monstrous force known as half-breeds threaten to destroy humanity as we know it. Fighting these creatures, is an ancient group called The Order, a collection of Knights who use advanced technology and a life force known as the Blackwater to fight in King Arthur’s name. Amongst these Knights is seasoned veteran, Sir Galahad, who fights for justice and the future of humanity. Uncovering a dark secret within the East India Company, Galahad is forced to have a good look at the people he protects, as well as the Order he serves.
The idea of a futuristic Victorian Era is one that most certainly tickles my curiosity. Being a bit of a history fanatic, as well as a lover of Victorian design (both architecturally and fashion), I was captivated by the look of this game, with the scientific elements fitting like a glove. Despite this, the story itself left me torn, as though the premise was fascinating, the execution felt rather average. The length of the story was also a bit of a let down, as though other big name games such as Destiny have proven similar, they at least have something extra, which ultimately makes them more substantial. This is not the case with The Order: 1886, as bar in-game collectables and gamer trophies, there isn’t much beyond the main story.
The gameplay also left a lot to be desired, as though the notion of going through Victorian London, with futuristic weapons, and taking down lycans seems fun, the control system quickly takes away from the enjoyment. Between an awkward aiming system, and frustrating quicktime events, this immersive game can go from exciting, to plane annoying in a matter of moments. Despite this, the movement system, along with the Blackwater revival and Blacksight slow motion aiming does prove enjoyable additions, and though the negatives overrule the positives way too often, there are some elements to the gameplay that prove to be exquisitely fun.
The gameplay and story may have it’s faults, but two areas of this game that don’t are the graphics and voice acting. As with all major video-games, if you don’t have the right voice, you don’t have a solid game. Just look at the likes of Nolan North as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, or Troy Baker as Joel in The Last of Us. Hell, even Mark Hamill‘s Joker and Kevin Conroy‘s Batman had a huge hand in making the first two Arkham games superior to Batman: Arkham Origins. This is the same with The Order: 1886, as though some of the voice actors are irrelevant, the main cast do a stellar job, with Steve West giving great depth and vigor as Galahad, Alice Coulthard giving a soft, yet hard as nail vibe to Igraine, and Frederik Hamel adding some wit and charm as Lafayette. This is all complimented wonderfully by the visuals, with the graphics being mesmerizing as well as beautiful. The character and gun designs also attract the eye, as though some of the science weapons are a little too flashy, the majority look fantastic.
Ultimately The Order: 1886 is a fun game, but one that shouldn’t be too heavily invested in. Having stunning graphics and voice acting, yet disappointing gameplay and a lackluster plot, there certainly are some ups and downs. Unfortunately the latter proves more prominent than the former, and though I’d love to say, “rush out and buy this game,” I’m reduced to giving caution. I do however recommend giving the game a try at some point, as though not necessarily at full price, it’s well worth getting once it reduces in price, or event to rent.
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