The Order 1886
Ready at Dawn
February 20, 2015
I recently sat down to play The Order 1886. The game is the most beautiful ever created on the PS4. But it also is the one of the most rote third person shooters I’ve ever played with a bad framerate and a story that doesn’t make too much sense. There is also the little matter that the game from all of the publicity makes you believe that you will be mainly fighting werewolves. Which is also sadly wrong…
The Order begins with a poorly paced Prologue sequence that is supposed to teach you the touchy situation based controls. Other than the third person shooter areas, which are little more than arenas that you shoot enemies in; there are both quicktime events and contextual controls for examining things and using things. All of this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary. But it’s the slow, plodding way that the Order uses these mechanics that makes them so terrible. Considering the number and length of the cutscenes in this game I would have preferred just to have all of the quicktime events just been movies. It would have made the game less frustrating and perhaps it would have allowed the developers to make some of the slow sections a bit more energetic.
The Order is by fair the best looking game on the PS4. There are some sections of this game that are lit so well that it makes them look real. I was consistently impressed by both the art direction and the amazing animations that some of the characters had during cutscenes. But that said, when the player is controlling the game; the characters move in some unnatural ways that are only made more obvious by their surroundings and their personal details. Many times a character would miss what was obviously a cutscene “tripwire.” and just hang in the middle of the screen for a couple of seconds while the PS4 caught up. I’m sure that the cinematic aspect of the game could be discounted to the designers’ vision for the game. But more likely it was the lack of horsepower on the PS4’s part to render a fullscreen and have a playable framerate. Because there are MANY times in this work that the framerate gets so chunky that you are playing at around 15 fps or so. Then the console catches up or there is a cutscene and everything goes back to normal. I can now see why so many developers don’t want their games to try for this level of photorealism on the consoles. It’s because they know that the general audience is used to playing games at 30 fps and would notice immediately if the game didn’t.
The Order is many things; it flirts with survival horror, interactive movie, and it also makes a good stab at the third person cover shooter. But the biggest problem with the Order is that you are promised that you will be fighting monsters. When in actuality the game is more akin to a third person Call of Duty than a anything approaching a game about monster hunting. You fight monsters a scant half dozen or so times in the entirety of the 5-7 hour campaign. The rest of the time you are shooting people. Lots and lots of people. I was incredibly bored by the end of the game where there is a rather long infiltration sequence where you shoot almost as many people as you did all the way up to that point. Or perhaps, it was just that I was so incredibly sick of it by then that it seemed worse than it actually was. The game isn’t difficult, and really these added scenes and this added plot thread seemed like it was designed to lengthen the game. I just felt that the game should have been about fighting the werewolves not fighting a bunch of guys that you are only made aware of why you are fighting them about halfway through the campaign.
I LOVED fighting the monsters in the game. The few times I was allowed to do it, the battles were intense and while they were quicktime event ridden for the most part they were well done. I don’t know why the writers made the story decisions they did but I really hated them. The people in the Order are so realistic in every other sense except that they don’t mind mowing down a hundred people or so every other day. I won’t spoil the story, that is really the only reason to purchase this game. But suffice it to say that I was disappointed in the final reveal and I was even more disappointed in the crappy end.
I was very disappointed in the Order 1886. Not so much for what I got to play but what it could have been. If the game had a better more monster centric story the rest of the problems of the game could be discounted as minor. But to have a short, boring game, that relies on quicktime events and a very LARGE number of cutscenes. I just can’t forgive this game it’s faults. Perhaps a sequel would be able to fix some of these issues, with someone else writing it hopefully.
I have to give a huge amount of praise to Steve West who plays the main protagonist. He does an EXCELLENT job, as well as MANY of the other voice actors. They all give incredibly good performances. Especially with the amount of expression and animation that is allowed for each of the main characters. I was very impressed with how genuine everything felt. I think if the Order accomplished anything it was to make a believable world. I think the story, being better suited to a sitcom than an action movie needed a lot more work and of course, the aforementioned monster angle that was not properly explored.
On a side note, there are a couple of things I couldn’t find a place in my review to mention. First, there is quite a lot of HEAVY breathing in this game. It is pervasive and annoying and I truly wished they didn’t have it at all. Secondly, the main character’s boots are SO LOUD in this game that it is impossible to believe that he was sneaking up on anyone. I have never run into two such annoying and distracting sound bugs in any game I’ve played. They were throughout the entire and game and were incredibly annoying. So there is the Order 1886. I enjoyed looking at almost all of the game; but playing it. I’d have to take a pass on that.