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“The Order: 1886” fuses cinematic graphics with original storytelling weighed down by muddled gameplay

Joseph Kelley, Staff Writer

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The moment that many PlayStation owners have been waiting for has finally arrived. “Ready At Dawn,” the developers behind the “God of War” and “Daxter” games for the PSP have brought their experience to the PlayStation 4 (PS4) with their newest game “The Order: 1886.”

“The Order” is set in a futuristic take on Victorian London in the year 1886. The player controls Sir Galahad, a veteran Knight of The Order. Galahad along with his fellow knights carry out a centuries old war between The Order and half-breeds, which are basically werewolves, in order to keep people safe.  However, the knights must also contend with an uprising rebellion and uncover a plot that could undo The Order itself.

Right off the bat, this is arguably the best looking game to come out so far this year, and clearly demonstrates the graphical power of the PS4. It is clear where all the money went and it was in the powerful graphics demonstrated in “The Order.”

“The Order” is the ideal game where story comes first above all else and for the most part, this method works. While some players may find the plot somewhat clichéd or predictable, it is something worth experiencing.

The characters, which include Sir Galahad, Sir Perceval/ Sebastien Malory, Lady Igraine/ Isabeau D’Argyll, and Marquis de Lafayette, are interesting and all have unique traits that make them individually interesting people. The game also manages to fool around with history as historical figures such Nicola Tesla and Lafayette are both included in the story including a unique spin on tales of Jack “The Ripper.”

Throughout the game, the player comes to learn about every character through their habits or exposition from one another. Out of all of the characters in the game, Galahad is the star with his calm and weary demeanor that shows how damaging the life of a Knight can be on a person.

The voice acting in the game is top-notch as are facial animations, character models, environments; even the beards and hair look amazingly real.

The music is also beautifully orchestrated as the score matches the time of the setting and the dark, depressing haunting tone of the game’s story. The music is so well done that it would be wise to buy a song or two from the soundtrack.

Gameplay is mixed between being a third person shooter, quick time events (QTE’s), and a mix of different puzzles. This is where “The Order” seems to lose its way. The cover-based mechanics can be compared to the likes “Gears of War,” but to a lesser success. The shooting gameplay can be called “Whack-a-Mole” only with futuristic weapons.

The guns in the game are off balance. Some of the weapons such as a shotgun or regular rapid firing weapon range from borderline useless to simply okay or overpowering fun. The game’s highly advertised Arc Gun developed by Tesla streams lightning blasts towards enemies that are so powerful those normal enemies can all be taken down with one hit and lose an arm or two in the process.

Other weapons include the Thermite Rifle, which shoots flammable powder at enemies, and the secondary fire propels a flare at the gas that ignites flames that covers your enemies.

It is these weapons that players want to use, but are sadly not given enough time to do anything with.The enemy A.I. is nothing special; even though human enemies do take cover and tend to flank you, they do nothing really unique. However, the encounters with the Half-breeds are areas in which the game tends to excel. Sadly, the final encounters are copies of the first two fights and leave little to the imagination.

The QTE’s in the game have been an area of controversy since the game is littered with these moments and for most part of the game, the QTE’s work. Some players may feel like there are too many QTE’s while others may find these moments enjoyable.

Another area of controversy surrounds the game’s running time and the amount of cutscenes that cannot be skipped. Depending on how the player plays and on the difficulty, this is a game that could go over seven hours possibly bleeding into eight.

If rushed through without taking the time to explore or find the few collectibles in the game which include newspapers, voice recordings, and other objects meant to be examined, the game could be beaten in a little over six hours depending on the chosen difficulty.

However, the difficulty does not really matter as the battles do not drastically change. The only difference between the Hard and Normal mode is the amount of times the player can get shot.

The final bit of controversy surrounding this game is the replay value. After beating the game, which may end on a sour note for players that may feel as though the means do not justify the end.

Players might not find reasons to revisit this world unless they feel the need to complete every aspect of this game. Even going back to redo the QTE’s might not be worth it as those aspects of the game do not have much change or effect on the story as the results are the same.

As good as this game is, it might not be considered worthy of the $60 price tag since some players may chalk up the price as a cover to pay for the game’s production value. This game can be seen as a cinematic experience that will not please everyone and will no doubt see itself on plenty of 2015’s biggest disappointing games lists.

Nevertheless, this is a game that should be experienced by those who are looking for what next-gen could possibly be as this game is sadly not the true next-gen experience that gamers have been waiting for.

Considering the developers made this mythos for more than just one title, it can be argued that this is a good first brief step into “Ready At Dawn’s” world that will hopefully be built upon by future and potential sequels.

 

 

 

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The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.
The best-looking beards and mustaches in the gaming business