The Order: 1886 Nails the Visuals, Misfires with Gameplay

When The Order: 1886 was announced a year ago at E3 2014, the gaming world saw the possibility of an innovative and exciting new IP, and as another E3 opens, Ready At Dawn has given us the chance to jump into fantasy-1800s England with a playable demo.

The Order, for those who have not had the opportunity to check out the new franchise, is about an alternative England where the Knights of the Round Table remain humanity’s only hope against animalistic half-breeds.

When The Order made its reappearance yesterday with a new trailer, the lycan was introduced. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here before we continue. I can wait.

This has been the first illumination we have received in a long time regarding this game.  Although it was discussed that this game has been in production since 2010, very little news about The Order has been discussed or revealed, making it perhaps the most enigmatic game to appear in the PS4 lineup. While the folks over at the E3 booth are still being evasive on all the details, a few things were revealed to 8CN about the process and story The Order deals with.

Firstly, they did address their silence over the past year, saying they went dark and didn’t want to reveal anything because of the standard of graphical fidelity they wanted to present.  Now, they’re ready.

When questioned about the lycans, they implied that more creatures may be on the horizon, not just werewolves.  This leaves a lot of room for imagination and the reassurance that 1886 is going to have a wide variety of enemies. When follow-up questions were asked about the remaining Knights of the Round Table that have not been featured, they were very tight-lipped, although they did say that other knights will be present throughout the game but it can’t be said in what capacity.

While The Order takes place in an alternative timeline, the team has tried to remain close to historical traits with a team that went down to London to take pictures in order to make sure the architectural details were correct.  The aesthetic is all there, and the booth at E3, if you can even call it a booth, is a large setup modeled after Whitechapel.

Inside the elaborately displayed Whitechapel is a demo that carried us through a section of Whitechapel as we blasted through enemies and receive help from our allies. There are brief glimpses of everything from the England skyline to the interactive cinematic sequences that led us to being trapped in a room. Right when we found our way out, the screen faded to black, giving us a cliffhanger that made us wanting more

The voice acting is vibrant and strong, and the characters didn’t nag or provide empty dialogue.  The soundtrack was different for an action video game, providing a deep tempo to the serious setting.

The visual aspects of The Order are impeccable. The characters are detailed and gameplay shifts seamlessly into cinematics and then right back into gameplay without interrupting the action.  It really adds to the entire experience with an England that is a rich and vibrant with weapons that are technologically original to the time.

In the demo, we played as Sir Galahad, a burly knight of the Round Table. While the visual and the audio are second to none, the gameplay seemed somewhat mundane to me.  It may have just been the demo, but the difficulty was nowhere to be seen.

The thermite rifle, although pretty, was a spamming machine. The primary attack launched bullets that launched iron oxide into the air. The secondary ammo button released a flare, igniting the chemical and creating a thermite that ignited the enemies and sent them writhing to the floor. If the enemy didn’t die, all it took was a few more iron oxide bullets to spread the fire around. Wash, rinse, flame on, repeat.

However, it may just be the demo. No lycans or creatures were to be seen, which may have been the missing piece, but the line, which was over an hour long wait, seemed to indicate a little more substance in terms of difficulty than what we got.

All in all, while the enemies were only human in what we played, The Order did provide a glimpse into a game that could be exactly as wild as what was promised a year ago.

The Order: 1886 is set for a February 20, 2015 release date with a premium edition going for $150 and a collector’s edition at $80.

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