The Order: 1886 attempts to be a truly cinematic game, placing visuals and acting over the core gameplay, which sadly brings the end result down from what could’ve been a revolutionary game.
Firstly, let’s talk about the things The Order does right, because despite the critical backlash, there are a fair few reasons this is a good game. The first is obvious, and it’s what most of the production budget has evidently been spent on – the visuals. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, and if you’re ever in need to show off your console to anyone, this is the game you’d use. The animation for the game is superb, you can see each and every facial expression every character makes, which certainly adds to realism of the game.
Secondly there’s the characters themselves, and they’re a compelling bunch at the least. The protagonist is Sir Galahad, a knight of The Order and leader of an elite squad, tasked to hunt down both the rebels and the savage Lycans. He’s a very well written character, matched only by the compatriots he leads into battle, with Malory, Isabeau and Lafayette all being multi layered and deep characters, even if some end up lacking in screen time.
I can neither criticise or praise the gameplay, mainly because of how basic and simple it really is. I feel the cover based shooter has had it’s time with the Gears of War series, and while The Order can’t quite pull off what Epic were able to achieve with their trilogy, the gameplay itself isn’t anything bad, and I honestly can’t work out why people are criticising it so much. There’s justified criticism in it being too simple for next generation consoles, but I feel the opinion that there isn’t enough actually gameplay isn’t justified at all.
There are countless uninterrupted fire fights throughout the game, both against the rebels and the lycans, and while a cutscene may interrupt a bout of action every now and then, they are all fairly brief and straight to the point. I feel the criticism for too little gameplay is possibly justified, particularly when the game will have you walk for 10 metres in between five minute long cutscenes, but other than that there is just enough gameplay here to make it satisfactory, if nothing else.
The plot of the game definitely starts out strong, but only goes downwards from there, becoming wayward and distracted in it’s pursuit of being something special. There were definitely times when I was captivated by various cutscenes throughout the game, particularly the end of the Agamemnon section, and the certain discovery Galahad makes late into the game. This could’ve been a fascinating plot, and when the game remembers it’s meant to be addressing a certain issue the cinematic scenes respond very nicely, but ultimately it’s a wandering plot, with spikes of intrigue here and there.
The Order: 1886 could’ve been something special, and amazing cinematics and deep characters certainly contribute towards this, but the last generation gameplay and a sagging plot pull it down. I really hope this game sells enough copies to warrant a sequel from Ready at Dawn, as it deserves another round at the very least.