Connect with us

News

‘The Order: 1886’ Review: Werewolves of London

Not so long ago, people were content to play shooters entirely for their single player experiences. They usually featured gruff, stoic protagonists and featured stories about saving the world or preventing some mythic, immediate threat to humanity. They were slowly subsumed by shooters ameliorated with RPG elements or decked out with a top-notch multiplayer.

However, wholly linear, cover-based third person shooters are not just a thing of the past, as you might once have suspected. The Order: 1886 seems to be attempting a resurrection of a very specific sort of game, the story-based, multiplayer-less, QTE-heavy shooter.

It hearkens back to the days of yore, but is it a breath of nostalgic fresh air, or a stale, dank cloud? Truth be told, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but it’s going to take some discussion to extract the whole truth behind what’s good and bad in The Order: 1886.

In a way, The Order almost feels like a Naughty Dog game, pure and simple. It has a strong narrative element and numerous shootouts with scores of nameless bad guys. The difference between, say, The Last of Us and The Order: 1886 is that, while TLOU and The Order both possess strong narratives, the latter fails to evoke the same ineffable, enchanting spark of similar titles.

The basic story of The Order: 1886 is that it is an alt-history of Victorian England that features Arthurian Legend and the Knights of the Round Table. There’s Galahad and Perceval and Lucan and even a character named Malory. These appear to be the actual knights themselves, who use a healing potion called Blackwater to help them exist for centuries in order to fight Lycans.

The subplot involves a resistance straight out of BioShock: Infinite, so you’ll spend plenty of time fighting random “rebels,” in lieu of the curiously underdeveloped werewolves story.

The story is capped off by the existence of a young weapons manufacturer named Nikola Tesla — maybe you’ve heard of him — who provides the team with futuristic, steampunk weapons and a communications system not unlike one you’d find in Gears of War.

The game looks amazing, unmatched by just about any other current title on the market. Each set piece is lovingly crafted and looks as though it comes from a museum. Galahad is sometimes compelled by the game to walk at a snail’s pace through the world — which can be infuriating — but it forces the onlooker to take in the scenery and appreciate a world that is imbued with not just a grim slant on history but also fairly detailed, as well.

OrderRev_2

Even better than the sets are the character models, which could not be more visually appealing. Some characters are written to be a bit flat — kind of a bummer for a story-based game — but they sure do look good. Everything, from their facial expressions to their gaits, are fully realized, and each animation, canned or no, is kind of interesting to watch.

Additionally, the voice acting is more than just good, the actors giving exceptional line reads the whole way through, so the amount of walking and talking is never really a chore to listen to.

Mechanically, The Order is a game with few bells and whistles, so the primary focus is on shooting. It’s fairly standard and without a lot of depth, but the actual firing mechanics themselves feel pretty spectacular. I racked up quite a few headshots, but I also don’t think the enemies themselves are necessarily bullet sponges, either. You’ll fight plenty of boring, standard enemies, so get used to combat, but the chapters are designed to give players some variety of interaction in the world.

It’s bad but also good. The game doesn’t linger overly on one single idea. Sure, you’ll involve yourself in plenty of gunfights, but you’ll also be encouraged to use stealth or to fight off the Lycans. You might get bored with one aspect of the game, but the chapters themselves are short, so you’ll not be subjected to one annoyance for too long.

This comes at a cost. Sometimes the game subjects you to pointless button presses and weird QuickTime events, but they almost seem to exist to break the monotony of the cutscenes rather than to introduce meaningful mechanics.

Also, for a game that is ostensibly about fighting werewolves, there are painfully few werewolves in the game. Save for the steampunk setting and the few horror-based encounters, The Order barely plays as a horror game at all. It’s truly more like a standard shooter than anything else, and the few and far between horror sequences seem less integral than they do ornamental.

The major problem with The Order: 1886 is its value proposition. For a single player experience, the game is interesting, from its story to the shooting mechanics and stunning visuals, but nevertheless it doesn’t contain enough content.

OrderRev_3

Short games are not necessarily without full value, but they usually offer something in addition to a brief single player campaign. The Call of Duty games usually have brief-but-dynamic single player campaigns, but they also feature multiplayer, too.

Strangely, The Order: 1886 doesn’t have a multiplayer, or anything else to draw players into it for more than the six hour campaign. For that reason, it feels like a rather shallow game and possesses almost no reason for replay value.

Not only that, but other, somewhat standard gameplay elements are noticeably absent. The weapons are not upgradeable, nor are they customizable in any way. The game tries to solve this dilemma by giving players two slots for weapons, not unlike BioShock: Infinite, so you’ll have to make constant decisions regarding which guns to take with you through sections of the game. But it’s never quite enough, and I’m not saying the game should be longer, because it felt just long enough, but there’s still something essential missing here.

At certain points, the game takes complete control away from the player for the sake of elaborate cutscenes, a fact which doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary, except that it’s entire chapters for which players will be sitting and watching, rather than playing. I know of at least two full chapters (out of sixteen) in which the game consists entirely of canned dialogue. Considering The Order: 1886 is only about six hours in length, that is certainly a little bit weird.

To wit, the ending is abrupt, only magnifying how unsatisfying parts of the game truly are, so it’s kind of difficult to judge this game as a whole, since it only feels like part of a game. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s also not worth $60, and that’s really the laser that cuts through any discussion of the game’s relative and understandable value.

The Final Word: My suggestion is, pick up The Order: 1886 when it fits your budget. It doesn’t really make sense as a $60 value proposition, but the story and graphics are worth checking it out…eventually.

OrderRev_1

YTSub



AROUND THE WEB


COMMENTS

14 Comments
  • ThunderDragoon

    I think I would give it the same score. I really liked the game, but it does have its problems. Like you said, it does end abruptly. There are a lot of unanswered questions. They definitely set it up for a sequel, but I really don’t know if it will get one. We’ll see how the sales go. Time will tell.

  • marklola12 .

    I cancelled my preorder because my friend got the game early and I played a bit and was bored, I hate games that are mostly cutscenes this is one of them, the action was not so good and dull, the weapons didn’t really seem to be powerful, enemy AI was bad a big letdown so saved £44 lol
    id not actually buy this for £10 let alone £44

  • sliceanddice

    i agree with this review. others have been overly harsh.

  • McGilli

    Maybe the developer is charging more for a shorter game – because they actually spent the man hours testing it and didn’t send it out as a demo to be beta tested by full paying customers and then patched relentlessly for a month after release.

    That’s the thing that comes to my mind is after countless reviews, I’ve never read a single complaint about glitches etc.

    With all of the big AAA titles coming out buggy and full of glitches – it’s almost sad that now maybe to get a fully functional game you’d have to pay more!

    Anyways good review. Funny how Alien Isolation was too long for almost every reviewer, and this is too short…

    I love single player only campaign games – hope they keep making them like these…

  • Dr.murder

    Defended and loved the idea of this game for the past year. Bulled through all the reviews and still bought it. I have owned every PS and love horror games. This game is a 5.5. This is not a game, the story is incredibly slow, and the horror is non existent. Buy Wolfenstein or The Evil Within. Pick this up on Ebay in a year or two for $15. Even then I don’t think it would be worth it.

  • Bobby Price

    Angry Joe on youtube broke this game down the other day. The most pitiful aspect of this game that completely contrasts with it’s beauty and design is the last 2 boss fights are the same exact QTE scenes with different backgrounds. You’re character and the werewolves move and fight the same way during both events. Just sad…..

  • Se_7_eN

    Great review Adam, thanks for not hoping on the hate train bandwagon.

    The game itself has a fantastic story that left some loose ends (on purpose) for multiple sequels… It is beautiful, and the gun play is extremely solid.

    With the engine built and in place, a sequel should be able to focus on the gameplay aspects and we should see some really great things (if we get one).

    • Glad you enjoyed the review, but this lovely review is the work of Tyler Braddy, Bloody Disgusting’s resident Lycan hunter extraordinaire.

  • JURGMANDR

    It was ok, definitely not worth 50-60$. I’d recommend picking it out of the bargain bin at gamestop in a few years.

    • stjimmyrulesx

      I don’t get why everyone says this. Don’t wait a year, goto redbox and pay 3 or 6 bucks and beat it over the weekend. I just did, and for 3$, it’s a hell of a good value.

  • Meshugganaut

    It’s a good game, but it has zero replay value. However I think that, Ready At Dawn have done an absolutely amazing job considering their only other game was the PS vita God Of War. A short enough game with over-kill quick timed events and a lacking horror atmosphere, but still a game that deserves its merits for the things that it got right, and it has more good aspects than bad. It really does not deserve the hate it’s getting even though I can understand peoples frustration.

    • Ryan Lennon

      2 PSP GoW games that were actually really good. The character’s look so flat and boring, the story was already spoiled for me in their demo they showed, the Zepplin demo, I guess they were expecting people to be too stupid to notice but typing it in on Google I found out I was right.

  • boxcar182

    Bought it, beat it, and Platinumed it. Sequel needs to improve its flaws but overall, an okay game.

    6.5/10

  • In the middle of playing it at the moment, great setting and graphics. but christ I wish the game would stop trying to control me.

More in News