I like stories that twist the timelines and events in history. It breathes new life into a well-documented era and takes an ‘outside the square box’ approach to fictionalisation. The Order: 1886 does just that with the addition of an enjoyable gameplay experience.
The Order: 1886 is a single player third-person shooter developed by Ready at Dawn exclusively for the PlayStation 4. The story takes place in an alternate history London where half-breed monsters (half animal, half human) exist in the city. Under the leadership of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table are tasked to fight the half breeds that install fear within the humans inhabiting the city.
The Order: 1886 is played from the perspective of Sir Galahad, one of the four key protagonists of the game who is joined by his fellow colleagues, Lady Igraine, Marquis de Lafayette and Sir Percival. The game plays out through many sections of London which are divided for each level/chapter. An intriguing novelty to this is for each section Sir Galahad is in, it displays on the screen where exactly in London he is. It effectively adds an Assassin’s Creed vibe to the game, where historical buildings and locations are used as a plot device to relate the player to its existence in real life.
Another point where the story shines is the existence of outlandishly awesome weapons such as an Arc Induction lance and a Thermite Gun to name a couple. Why I mention this as a high point to the story more than the gameplay is because in the story of The Order: 1886, the Industrial Revolution has allowed for engineering to become much further ahead of its time with the invention of these weapons and gadgets, and ultimately reinforces the alternate history emphasis behind the game.
The graphics are superb in The Order: 1886. While much of the game is comprised of cut scenes, the actual gameplay is of the same fidelity. A lot of effort has gone into recreating notable areas and buildings within London as well as the detailing in the characters, such as facial features like wrinkles, scars and bruises.
The controls are very intuitive in The Order: 1886. Aiming and shooting are the same as most shooters with L2 and R2 used respectively, but changing weapons is as simple as tapping the directional pad once. This effectively allows for four weapons to be quickly selected from, and is basically all you need to know to play The Order: 1886. It’s one of those games where if you stopped playing for a few months and decided to come back, you will remember exactly how to play it again. The AI is also very smart in the game and offers an interesting challenge when coming across opposing forces or half breed monsters.
But The Order: 1886 is not without its flaws, however. While the game sports intuitive gameplay that is used well with the story, it is effectively a six hour long interactive movie. You’ll be pleased to hear that it’s not like Beyond: Two Souls where the gameplay is effectively pointless, but there is barely any sense of replayability. There’s no multiplayer, both online and local. The only bit that the game offers is the ability to change difficulty. The intention of the game is to tell a story and it does that very well, but once you’ve finished the game it’s only useful as a trade-in.
The Order: 1886 offers quite an enjoyable gameplay experience with an impressive story and stunning graphics. With the distinct lack of replayability however, the game ultimately portrays itself as a one-time-hit interactive movie.