Developer: Ready at Dawn
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Review Context: Third-person shooters are one of my favorite genres in gaming. I have played the whole Uncharted franchise, The Last of Us, Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2.
Date of Playthrough: February 20,2015
Upon hearing that Ready at Dawn was developing their first AAA title on the Playstation 4, I had fairly high hopes for it. They had a pretty good track record on the PSP handheld with well received titles such as the God of War prequels. I was not too impressed with the gameplay shown prior to the game’s release, but seeing as how the mechanics looked solid and it was indeed a third-person shooter, I still wanted to get my hands on it. So going in, my expectations were somewhere in between high and low. So what was my final verdict after playing The Order 1886?
The Order 1886‘s story takes place in alternate history London, where an order of knights assume the responsibility of keeping it’s people safe from half breed who take on monstrous forms. You play as Sir Galahad, an expert tracker and skilled hunter who takes on various missions with his fellow knights. Unbeknownst to Galahad, there is a traitor among their ranks and a conspiracy which threatens to shake up their whole foundation. When this conspiracy leads to tragic consequences, Galahad takes it upon himself to uncover the secrets behind said conspiracy and end it once and for all. It will not be an easy task however, seeing as countless obstacles stand in his way.
The Order 1886 is undeniably a gorgeous game; everything from the various environments, to the character models, objects, and the weapons are visually endearing and highly polished. In my opinion, this is the best looking game on any next-gen console thus far. I was also thoroughly impressed with the voice acting and other sounds in the game. All the voice actors performed extremely well and I truly got the sense that I was in London. The sounds from the firing of guns and explosions were all great; playing this game with an adequate gaming headset is highly recommended. While playing this game, you really get the sense that they spent a ridiculous amount of money because the production values are through the roof. The team at Ready at Dawn did say they were going for a cinematic experience, and I think it’s safe to say they succeeded.
This game may be set in the year 1886, but the knights all possess wireless communications and scientifically engineered weapons; tools you would be hard-pressed to find around that time. Another interesting bit of information to note is that all the knights have a special elixir which they drink from a flask to heal from serious injuries. I found quite a bit of enjoyment from The Order 1886‘s gameplay. The third-person shooting mechanics are nothing new or groundbreaking, but they are very solid and more importantly, they are very enjoyable. Galahad has various tools at his disposal for combat; from a steep collection of guns, grenades, and a special elixir to drink if he sustains any serious injuries. He also has a special ability by the name of blacksight. This ability can be used when the combat meter is filled completely and allows you to slow down time and effectively gun down multiple enemies at once. Besides gunplay, you also come across many instances where you have to execute quick time events. These did not bother me much, as some were utilized in creative ways. My only real issue with these quick time events is that they just did not fit in certain parts of the game, and in some instances, actually ruined the pacing.
As much as I enjoyed the gameplay, there were two glaring issues holding this game back; One is bad pacing, and the other is very limited replay value. This game has sixteen chapters, and about five or six of them were just cutscenes and no gameplay. The cutscenes are not terrible by any means, but their frequency at times made this game feel more like a movie than a game. I beat this game in about seven hours. Once I obtained the easy platinum trophy, I found no reason to go back whatsoever.
So in the end, The Order 1886 is a good game held back by limited replay value and bad pacing. The visuals are excellent, the gameplay is enjoyable, and the story is well told and brought to life by terrific voice acting. If you’re looking for a solid third-person shooter with a great story, this game is for you. If you’re looking for a lengthy experience to hold you over for months, you might want to stay clear of this one. All in all, the good folks at Ready at Dawn were successful in their first gaming console effort. Here’s to hoping they pull out all the stops in the next installment of this franchise.
Similar Games Liked:
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortunes (PS3)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3)
The Last of Us (PS4)