Top-notch voice acting
Can be completed in about 6 hours
Complete lack of replayability
Lack of player interaction
Awkward aspect ratio
The Order: 1886 was highly anticipated up until a couple weeks before its release. Word start spreading that the campaign was too short and the gameplay wasn’t up to snuff. Come review day, it turns out they were right. The Order: 1886 certainly doesn’t live up to the hype, which is an absolute shame because it was such an awesome concept. The game is by no means bad. In fact, it has a lot going for it. Still, there are far too many big problems that prevent it from being the epic game that it could have (and should have) been.
Before tackling the big problems, it’s important to talk about what the game does right. From the moment I booted up the game, I noticed something. The Order: 1886 is absolutely gorgeous. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the best looking games I’ve ever played. It makes the top 5 easily. If anyone questions what the Playstation 4 is capable of, grab a copy of The Order: 1866 and behold. In fact, the game is so beautiful, that when it transitioned from cutscene to gameplay, there were times I couldn’t tell. I would end up staring at the screent for a good 10 seconds before realizing that I’m in control. The lighting is stunning, the character models are breathtaking, and the environments are filled with life. There was a time when I questioned whether the new-gen hardware was capable of truly upping the ante. With The Order, I’m convinced that games like this could not be recreated on the last gen consoles.
On the other hand of the technical spectrum is the use of sound, which is something The Order: 1886 also excels at. The game has a beautiful score that fits well with the steampunk stylings of the game. It’s clear that Ready at Dawn put a lot of work into making a game that sounds as good as it looks. Sound effects are also stellar. The weapons all sound brutally satisfying, and the explosions are equally booming. Voice acting is also surprisingly well done. Once again, Ready at Dawn clearly knows that The Order: 1886 is a game that needs to come to life. With the beautiful graphics, the top notching voice acting, and the impressive sound effects, it’s evident that they did their job.
The story is hit and miss. In general, I’d say that The Order: 1886 has an above average story. The game takes place in an alternate timeline where humans began taking on bestial traits and became “half-breeds” (mixed with werewolves). You play as a knight in an organization known as “The Order.” You’re tasked with keeping the streets clean of these half-breeds and ensuring morality among the people of London. Along the way you will interact with real historical figures (which is pretty awesome) and you will meet an array of characters unique to the story. There are a few twists an turns along the way that genuinely did surprise me at times. Still, the overall story does feel a bit generic. Aside from the interesting premise, the way things play out don’t quite live up to what is promised. It does deliver a better story than a lot of games on the market, but those expecting something like The Last of Us will leave the game rather upset.
In other words, the presentation of the game is top notch. Unfortunately, games are meant to entertain, and The Order doesn’t always pull that off. With the plethora of story-driven games being shoved down our throats, it’s easy to forget that above all, games need to be fun. So, while The Order is a technical marvel, it doesn’t deliver enough “fun” to compete with similar games. In terms of gameplay, The Order is merely average. It gets the job done and that’s about it. In a crowded field of third-person shooters, that’s sadly not good enough.
It’s a very traditional cover-based shooter. In order to pull that off, a game needs to be fun as hell. If a game can’t offer originality, it has to at least offer thrills, and The Order simply doesn’t. Binary Domain was lacking in terms of originality, but it was an absolute blast to play, which is why it’s sort of a cult classic today. The Order is sort of a drag. There are a few unique weapons, and the blacksite ability is kind of cool the first few times you use it, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing to make this game feel like more than “just another third person shooter.”
Then there’s the elephant in the room – the thing I’ve been trying to avoid mentioning. The thing is, you can’t talk about The Order: 1886 without talking about its length. I am not one to believe that long games are better. In fact, I’d be a perfect candidate to lead a movement that proves that theory wrong. However, on rare occasions, games come out that are inexcusably short. These are the games that are so lacking in content that, regardless of how good they are, they simply can’t be recommended at full price. Sorry, Ready at Dawn, but The Order: 1886 is one of those games. It can be completed in 6-8 hours. Even on hard difficulty, it’s hard to imagine the game taking any longer. Once the game is over, there’s absolutely no reason to revisit it. There’s no multiplayer, no new game plus, no reason to explore the world a second time. Hell, the game doesn’t even have a challenging trophy list to keep players going. Regardless of what the game does right, I can’t advise anyone to pay $60 for it. If you have to play it, rent it, or at least wait for a price drop. This may be the shortest full-price game available on the Playstation 4 (it’s competing with Murdered: Soul Suspect). So in conclusion, even if the game had stellar gameplay, I couldn’t recommend paying for it.
The mediocre gameplay combined with the length cripples The Order: 1886. The story may have some interesting ideas, and the game may be absolutely beautiful, but it’s not one that I can recommend. I think that the series has potential, and I’m curious to see what Ready at Dawn might do with a sequel, but in this state, The Order: 1886 is nothing more than a disappointment.