Ready at Dawn Studios, the team that was in charge of the God of War franchise on PlayStation Portable is back with their very first PlayStation 4 title, The Order: 1886. Recognized immediately by its amazing visuals, The Order: 1886 has a healthy amount of hype to live up to with its attractive plot.
Set in the year 1886, you will discover history’s darkest secret. Taking place in Victoria-Era London, you will be in control of Grayson, otherwise known as Sir Galahad, his knight title. In a uniquely modified history, advanced technology is established by Man to combat the Half-breeds, which developed hundreds of years before The Order: 1886 takes place. War breaks out between humans and Half-breeds leading to the establishment known as The Order. A brotherhood formed through the Knights of the Round Table, The Order is responsible for defending humanity while protecting many dark secrets of the past.
As soon as you start the story of The Order: 1886 the first thing you will notice is how jaw-dropping the game truly is. Sure we have seen the gameplay and trailers Sony has released, but nothing comes close to seeing the action unfold right in front of your eyes. Featuring seamless narrative, there is absolutely no disruption between action/story sequences and the gameplay. I will go on record to say that The Order: 1886 sets the benchmark as far as visuals and level of cinematics to ever be a part of a video game. A huge statement I know, but one I am confident in publishing as I am completely amazed by the work of Ready at Dawn. Throughout the entire game, not once did the frame rate dip, never once was there a stutter between a sequence and the gameplay, not once did I ever feel like the game was separate from the cut-scenes.
The Order: 1886 is the most visually and technically impressive video game to release on console to date. It’s simply impossible to put into words how gorgeous the scenery, character models, effects, and more truly are. To accomplish the unbelievably cinematic experience, Ready at Dawn decided for the game to run in 21:9 aspect ratio how many movies are shot today. This means from beginning to finish you will have a black bar on top and bottom of the actual video. At first, I was kind of iffy on the concept, but after playing The Order: 1886, I loudly applaud Ready at Dawn on this decision. If the sequences transformed from 21:9 to 16:9 as the gameplay continued, the seamless cinematic feel would be completely lost and I must say, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more games follow this implementation.
Visually, you simply could not ask for more from The Order: 1886, but how well does the game play? I am proud to inform you all, the gameplay is incredibly solid. Everything from the gun mechanics, to traversing through London flows and feels natural. The satisfaction received from mowing down a plethora of adversaries during outnumbered battles is simply incredible, not to mention the heart-pumping quick time events strategically placed throughout the game. The cinematic feel just simply does not get any better and I hope to see many developers follow in the footsteps of Ready at Dawn and compete with what they have accomplished.
As one who does not enjoy stealth in video games, I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying the sections of the game that require stealth. Implementing an intuitive mechanic, The Order: 1886 requires you to strategically approach adversaries and time your attack by pressing the triangle button when indicated. Timing this incorrectly leads to a failed attack and death, while a successful kill provides a sense of accomplishment. There are various stealth attacks that are all cinematically impressive and really add to the overall experience of the game. I had an absolute blast playing through The Order: 1886 and look forward to playing through again soon.
The plot of The Order: 1886 intrigued me more and more as Sony continued to release new information and story trailers. The idea of taking history and manipulating it with incredibly badass weapons and exciting technologies had me eagerly anticipating the release. Even with high hopes, The Order: 1886 blew me away. It reminds me of when I played through The Last of Us a couple years back. To this day, I think The Last of Us is one of the best games ever created and delivered an amazing story that people talked about for months. While I don’t feel people will be talking about the ending of The Order: 1886 too much, I will say the story was very engrossing and shocking. There are times in the game that I could not believe what was taking place and add in the amazing cinematic delivery and you have your hands on something that is quite spectacular. While I will not spoil the game, I will say that throughout the entire story, not once did it feel dull, not once did I wish the game would just end. If anything I was a bit bummed out when the game ended, but it ended great.
My biggest disappointment with The Order: 1886 deals with replayability. Once you beat the game, there is nothing else you can do besides replay specific missions or play the story over again. Now don’t get me wrong, I very much look forward to playing through the game again as its truly that awesome, but I would have loved to see multiplayer and co-op. I understand that co-op isn’t really possible with the road the story heads down, but I would have liked to see missions designed exclusively for co-op as the thought of co-op has my mouth watering. Also, I completely love the style of gameplay with great gun mechanics and a solid cover system. Many people are comparing the gameplay to Gears of War and while I can see the relation, once you get your hands on it, it actually feels quite different. I would have very much appreciated if Ready at Dawn had built an online multiplayer component into The Order: 1886, but if it would have caused the story to suffer in any way, I am glad they left it out this iteration.
The Order: 1886 is a must for any PlayStation 4 owner and if you do not own a PS4, go over to a friend’s house and play. Defining and setting the benchmarks for cinematics in a video game, offering incredible story mixed with addictive gameplay, and featuring a collection of weapons that are nothing short of badass, The Order: 1886 would have likely been my Game of the Year for 2014 if it released last year as originally planned, and offered a better supply of replayabiity. I hope to see The Order: 1886 do the numbers it deserves earning itself a sequel so that Ready at Dawn can beef up their team to deliver another solid story, while introducing an awesome co-op and/or multiplayer element. Outside of the lack of replayability, The Order: 1886 is absolutely groundbreaking and I have a good feeling it will be a game that many outlets, such as ourselves, will be talking about at the end of the year when its time to hand out the awards.
Final Score: 9.0/10