Review Price to be confirmed
Platforms: PS4 exclusive
The Order: 1886 release date: 20/02/2015
What is the The Order: 1886?The Order is a Sony PS4 exclusive title that uses a gritty alternate vision of Victorian London as its setting.
Made by Ready at Dawn, best known for Okami and PSP God of War titles, you’ll find familiar London landmarks in the The Order: 1886 such as Big Ben and Westminster, as well as the famous London Tube. But look a little closer and it becomes apparent that this is not the Victorian era we learned about at school.
A fierce war between humans and ‘half-breeds’, a demonised group of people, has led to the rate of technological advancement accelerating through the centuries. By 1886 London has giant airships patrolling the skies and The Order can talk to its members using mobile phone-like communicators. Fans of steampunk will have a lot to like from the both the style and the scientifically possible, if farfetched, tech on offer in The Order: 1886.
The Order refers to an ancient order of knights who use a mysterious liquid called Blackwater to prolong their lives and heal wounds instantly. It is a shadowy organisation that protects the world from the monstrous half-breeds as well as an anti-establishment revolutionary group of humans who want to tear up the status-quo and flush out The Order.
So far we’ve seen one type of half-breed in a trailer for The Order: 1886. Starting off as a zombie-like creature munching on a dead body, it morphs into a lycan in a cut-scene that would make An American Werewolf in London proud.
And that’s the first thing you’ll notice about The Order: 1886 – it is cinematic and stunning. We’d go as far as saying it’s quite possibly the best looking console game we’ve ever played.
London has never looked so dark and foreboding. The Order: 1886 manages to create a visually striking and believable alternative version of the world. Colours are kept muted, but the pallet of blues, greys, browns and blacks is a deep one. Characters are also beautifully realised, while animations are smooth as butter – The Order: 1886 moves from cut-scene to game seamlessly.
From the 10-minute demo we played the sound and voice-acting is also solid and characters are distinctive and interesting.
The Order: 1886 plays like a 3rd person cover shooter. In the demo we were thrust into a battle as Sir Galahad fighting against the revolutionaries using a couple of weapons – a pistol and the far more interesting Thermite Rifle. The rifle lets you unleash a cloud of aluminium iron oxide into the air around your enemies and then set it alight using the rifle’s secondary attack, the flare gun. It’s a great way of clearing large groups of enemies, or at least flushing them out of cover so you can take them out with your pistol.
Finding cover is vital, but there was plenty of it in the demo level. Once hidden you can pop your head out of cover and aim, this leaves you vulnerable but allows for better accuracy. Alternatively you can fire blindly. It’s harder to hit an opponent and you’ll waste a lot of ammo, but might just hit an enemy or two, especially with the Thermite Rifle.
The Blackwater drink not only prolongs their lives, it also grants them the Blacklight ability. This greys out the screen and slows down time, allowing you to cherry pick your opponents and shots.
The Order: 1886 demo gameplay was solid and a great deal of fun but we couldn’t help but feel that the linear nature of the level and plenty of cut-scenes could end up becoming a little too restrictive over the course of a whole game. It could also end up being a short game. We’ll have to wait until next year to find out whether that’s the case or not.
Next read: Best games of E3 2014
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