Stefano’s E3 2014 Report Part 2: The Order 1886

The Order 1886 wasn’t the first game I got my hands on at E3 this year, but it was definitely one of the titles I was anticipating checking out for myself the most. For those unfamiliar with the title, The Order 1886 is a third person shooter set in an alternate history London in which an ancient order of knights must protect the world from supernatural threats. The game is being developed by Ready at Dawn, exclusively for the PlayStation 4. So, how did it hold up? Read on below to find out.

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After waiting in line for what felt like an eternity, I finally sat down in front of my 1080p demo station, and picked up the controller. After pressing “X” to begin, I was shown a series of tutorial pages to quickly catch me up to speed with the game’s controls, and then I was off. The demo began with our knights of the Order holed up in a rundown part of the city, surrounded by Rebel fighters. The first thing that struck me was how stunningly detailed and realistic the graphics were. I’ve posted a screenshot above, because I just don’t think my words can properly convey how amazing this game looks in person, running on a PlayStation 4. The attention to detail in both the character models, facial expressions, and environment is jaw-dropping.

To be honest, I didn’t actually realize the game had started, and I was in control of Galahad, our protagonist, and leader of the Order. It wasn’t until I realized that he was just standing there, leaning against cover, doing nothing, that I rotated the camera and began shooting at the Rebel fighters with one of two available weapons in the demo. The main weapon on display in this segment was the Thermite Rifle. It’s primary fire, by itself, is relatively harmless bolts of compressed gas that disperse into a debilitating cloud upon impact. This will cause enemies to cough and sputter, but nothing more. It’s not until you combine the primary gas pellet, with the secondary incendiary shot that things get interesting (and more fun). The second shot will ignite the thermite gas, causing an explosion that engulfs enemies, killing them. The Thermite rifle also has applications beyond simply setting enemies on fire, as later on in the demo, Galahad used a thermite clip to blow up an obstacle blocking the team’s path.

The demo was short, and only had a brief scenario where players must help a wounded man get to safety while taking out Rebels. There wasn’t enough to really get a feel for the game as a whole, but I came away impressed. As mentioned before, visually, the game is incredible, and one of the most impressive games I saw on display. The controls felt wonderfully responsive, and moving between cover, and aiming and shooting were responsive. The Thermite gun was fun to use, and really just had me eager to try out the other weapons Ready at Dawn have crafted for us.

The only complaint I have with the gameplay is the pistol. Pistols are usually kind of a joke weapon, there to take up a weapon slot, and be a fallback for players who want to conserve the stronger weapons for later encounters. The problem I had with the pistol is that it was terribly inaccurate. Despite my crosshair lining up perfectly with a targets head, the bullets would often go astray, or hit a shoulder or a chest or stomach instead. I understand that a pistol in that era was more than likely not very accurate, and the Order isn’t Gears of War or Uncharted, but I find that gameplay must trump realism and stylistic choices no matter what. If the weapon isn’t very fun to use, it should be tweaked until it is. Fortunately, The Order won’t be coming for another 8 months, which gives Ready at Dawn plenty of time to tweak the pistol’s accuracy.

The Order is a third person shooter to the core, and is not breaking any new ground on a gameplay level, but what is there is incredibly polished already.

Overall, I found the game gorgeous, atmospheric, and fun to play. The demo was painfully short, a tease really (you could beat it in less than 10 minutes), and didn’t showcase any of the QTE segments, or supernatural enemies that are sure to mix up combat scenarios, so it’s really hard for me to form a real judgment on it. I walked away from The Order 1886 impressed, and looking forward to seeing more in the future.

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