Ready at Dawn's take on the knights of the round table has at last arrived, in the shape of PS4 exclusive and once delayed, The Order 1886. It's an interesting tale with plenty of twists and turns along the way, although it's not without its issues.
The Order 1886 tells the tale of the knights of the round table, with you taking control of Sir Galahad, one of the knights responsible for keeping the world safe from the half breed monsters, known as The Lycans. Thankfully The Knights do have some help on their side, in the shape of some impressive weapon technology and also Black Water, a mystical liquid that significantly extends their lifetimes and gives them remarkable healing abilities. The weapons are really were it's at though.
Before you even think about weapons or The Lycans, you'll need to get through the first two of sixteen chapters, which introduce you to the story and some of the game's mechanics. It has to be said that this part of the game is quite a long and slow introduction into the world, so those looking to jump straight in will probably be a little disappointed in some respects, although not all.
One thing that will stand out for your straight away is that The Order 1886 looks spectacular. It really is a wonderful looking game, the sort that will have you taking countless screenshots just so that you can show your new purchase off to your friends. The environments, characters and just about everything else are so impressive that even my non-gaming wife commented on how great the graphics are and it's some feat to get her to even look at a video game. The same can be said about the soundtrack and voice acting, both of which are of extremely high quality and really add to the overall atmosphere of the game
When the third chapter hits the action finally gets going and it's at this point that the story really starts to draw you in. The action is very 'Uncharted' like in appearance, with plenty of cover based shoot outs and enemies coming at your from all directions. What makes it more fun is the various weapons you'll have at your disposal, one of which belches electricity, while another allows you to ignite clouds of molten metal on top of enemies before setting it alight. Of course you still have the standard weapons you'll be used to from other games and of course a whole raft of grenade types.
The action in The Order 1886 is a mixture of both the aforementioned melee and quicktime events. It has to be said that the latter is pulled off extremely well, with these events being as impressive as they are smooth. Each quicktime event blends seamlessly into the action, which to the eye seems like quite a feat. I'd say that the balance between both styles of gameplay is pretty spot on, which is great because it could have been easy to throw in a quicktime event where it was not needed.
As well as taking on human A.I enemies, Galahad also finds himself up against The Lycans which the humans fear so much. It has to be said that these encounters are pretty disappointing and unspectacular at the same time. When facing a Lycan it'll charge at you, at which point you'll usually press 'X' to avoid it. To take one down you'll shoot and then once successful pull off another quicktime event to finish it off. There aren't too many of these events throughout the game and to be honest I was pretty thankful of that. Thankfully the human A.I seems slightly more intelligent, trying to flank you and taking cover when the time is right. This certainly makes for a tough challenge, although thanks to the excellent cover mechanics you'll no doubt be up for the task.
Something I've not mentioned is that during that action, if things get a little intense, you can use a special ability known as Blacksight. You use this ability to focus on enemies, allowing you to switch between targets and take them out. To be honest I hardly used this at all during the game, which is probably why I forgot to mention it until now. It's always nice to have the option of a special ability of course, but I didn't really find much use for it.
Away from the action and the cinematic story, you can do a little exploring. You are on a beaten path, but sometimes you'll get the chance to look over items of interest. These objects seem to offer little other than the chance to earn a trophy for collecting them all and hardly piece together the story, as even avoiding most of these objects would likely have little impact. In fact the only objects that do move things forward are one's you'll be forced to look at anyway.
Now that I've explained what's mostly good about The Order 1886 it's time to deflate some of the hype. You see, while it is spectacular in most respects, when you think that it retails at full price it's hard to know if it's worth the admission. In all it took me around 6 1/2 hours to complete the game on the easier modes and around 9 hours on the higher difficulty and while there are still some trophies for me to acquire, it's likely I won't bother. Perhaps if the story had more impact on me then I may have felt more positive, but while The Order 1886 is a spectacle to behold, I just feel that it's missing something.
There are so many games out there that have an everlasting effect on you, but despite its many positives, The Order 1886 isn't one of them at this time. While the game has massive promise, it's also slightly lacking, however given its start, if the The Order 1886 does go on to become a series in the future then it could quite easily turn into something extra special.
Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Looks wonderful
+ Quicktime events are well made
+ Action is fun
+ Good voice acting
+ Campaign is short with not enough impact
+ The Lycans are a bit lame
+ No replay value