VideAU Games Review: The Order: 1886 (PlayStation 4, 2015)

There’s a lot to be said about The Order: 1886. It’s a game that really tries to defy all odds. But unfortunately it’s sloppy. Uncomfortably sloppy.

The Order places you in Victorian London, where you play as Galahad, a knight of the round table. There’s werewolves, there’s zeppelins, there’s even Nikola Tesla. There’s so much to look forward to from this Arthurian steam-punk universe. But if there’s one thing The Order teaches you over and over again, it’s that looks can be deceiving.

The Order is stunning. It is without a doubt one of the best looking video games to date. The transition between cut scenes and gameplay is almost seamless, but it lacks soul. The game itself is lifeless. You navigate your way around without any sense of choice, everything is where it should be without any room to discover. This is The Order’s base problem. You walk for days on end, but it’s so linear. The course of the map is so obvious, and everything is neatly laid out in front of you, it’s offensive. Consequently the game is just… boring. The story is nearly impossible to properly invest in, the character development is weak and the structure is oh so predictable. It lacks innovation. Which is a shame because there is so much potential. It’s obvious that there’s a lot of influence from games like the Last of us, but these games excel because they create a world worth caring about. The worlds live and breathe, and we feel that through exploration. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for The Order.

There’s a lot of creativity behind the gunplay, you’re often shooting enemies in pretty dynamic places, and it’s a blast to watch. Some of the arsenal is breathtaking, like the thermite rifle, a gun that shoots magnesium at it’s targets and then allows you to ignite them by shooting a burning flare. It’s stupidly fun, but way too short lived. Similarly to the structure the combat is also predictable. Hide behind these crates, take out that sniper, blow up that shotgun specialist. It’s executed well, but you’ve seen it all a thousand times before.

The game truly shines through its voice acting. It’s a total marvel how true to life these character seem, but there’s no emotion! Any chance a character is about to show the slightest sign of feeling they are cut off, or worse, they suppress any sense of feeling. There’s so much I want to invest in, but the story just doesn’t let me. Instead I have to sit through hours of knights discussing politics I barely understand. It’s like having Tony Abbott invade your PS4. There’s a lot of wasted opportunity for character development. Games such as The Last of Us use a lot of the boring moments you spend walking building a relationship between characters, these are honest heartfelt moments. Once again The Order presents a beautiful opportunity for some actual human relations, but instead it throws it back in your face as you spend the whole game watching two characters hide behind a personification.

It’s frustrating how much potential this game has. It excites you in its opening moments when you face hordes of werewolves or half-breeds as the game refers to them, but their existence is sadly as rare as the myth itself. There’s a lot of nothing. Objects and photos are there for you to inspect but offer absolutely no input to the story whatsoever and are at times impossible to read… it’s just more time wasting.

Review Score: 5.0 out of 10
Highlights: Visuals/Graphics and voice acting
Lowlights: Story/Plot, tedious, too linear
Developer: Ready at Dawn
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: 20/2/2015
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Exclusive)

Reviewed on PlayStation 4