This game looks great for sure, yet it falls back too much on its production values.
When the PS4 was released one of the games that was heavily hyped coming for the system was The Order: 1886. I remember being quite intrigued by the game's presentation. The screenshots did look amazing and my interest was piqued. However, after the game's release, majority opinion at the time pretty much claimed that the game looked great, even amazing to many others; but the game play really didn't have a whole lot to offer. Thus, the game was basically stated to be "all beauty and no brains". I'm one of those that don't believe graphics is everything, yet I would be lying if I said the game wasn't fun at all to me, or I was completely bored, not at all. I'm glad I didn't spend $60 for it, but I'm also glad I finally played it. The Order: 1886 really is a beautiful game and there are so many visual details to catch out there. Too bad it really is missed potential overall.
The game begins when a man is forced to kill his torturers and break out of a prison manned by an organization that follows a strict code of discipline. Many clues indicates that these people trying to catch him may be close to him. After he makes his escape, the game goes back in time to tell this man's story. He happens to be a knight of the Order by the name of Sir Galahad, born Grayson. Galahad along with some of his trusted knights find themselves in battle with a rebel set; one of the older knights by the name of Sebastian believes something is amiss. From here the conspiracy begins.
Since the visuals are the main attraction I will mention that this game had me hooked with its limited color palette, that creates a rather gloomy like world. The game is bursting with atmosphere, and there are so many moments where it shows off its stuff. From very dark tunnels where the characters need lanterns to get around, to dark night gardens with brick walls and grass that properly fits the setting. Even abandoned hospitals give a horror like vibe that perfectly jells with what the player is going to later encounter in that place. There are small yet noticeable details from raindrops falling, to books and papers tumbling when Grayson knocks them over. I definitely like the character designs for many of the main players. The men seem to have an arrogance to them which does fit them, while some of the women, especially the rebel queen is simply gorgeous. The weapons look great and pretty well detailed as well. The sound effects for magnums and shotguns captured the power of these weapons. Unique weapons such as the thermite launcher has its own unique sound. The voice acting feels spot on and none of the lines felt over-acted to me. There was a lot of effort put into the production values for sure, and one can tell that Sony had very high hopes for this game.
The story is done well enough delivering smaller pieces to the puzzle despite everything being spelled out later, yet there is a small amount of mystery going on. The game play is kind of like a mixed bag in a way. The game is a third person shooter that follows Sir Galahad into one shoot out after another, along with some moments where he may need to find something plus some stealth segments. I liked the combat a great deal; some of the shootouts are very intense against a rather competent AI despite the clichés found in their tactics, like shotgunners attempting to run in for the fast kill, while machine gunners keep their distance to light you up. I can't say that I was ever board with the face to face combat, and that's probably because ammo is plentiful and weapons are fun to play. The usual pistols and shotguns are there, but there are two weapons unique to this game like the thermite launcher, which allows the player to fire a mist and then burn everyone it touches. This is a very fun weapon to use to take out a good batch of enemies, and I would highly suggest trying to snag it off enemies you kill to make things a little easier when things get dicey.
The Order: 1886 could have been a really great game if it didn't fumble on the game play. One thing that immediately comes to mind are the so-called boss battles. The knights eventually battle the supernatural and although these battles can be well hyped; they all come off disappointing and simply uninteresting as they mainly consist of QTE's that get annoying quick. Now some of the QTE's create some interesting encounters, but they seem to make up the boss battles way too much, leaving them completely left in the dust when compared to the high octane shootouts. The stealth moments leave a lot to be desired as they require one button presses; now I'm not sure if it was me, but they did feel unresponsive and uneven at times. It's a lot to explain, but I feel that I died unnecessary deaths because they felt so awkward at times. The final gripe happens to be the awful exploration. The game is linear and I have no problem with that, however, there are many times when the player can pick up items and these are nothing but moments to show off the game's graphics. Galahad can pick up a piece of paper or an item and turn the things around looking them over. It's cool the first couple of times, but it grows completely annoying when searching for an important item or some type of goodies, and these moments lead to absolutely zero each and every time. They just felt like a waste.
Thankfully the game's controls are on point and switching from one weapon to the next in the heat of battle is done so easily. I found aiming to be done well enough and the weapons had the right amount of power. The enemies can feel like bullet sponges though which is something that will always annoy me.
In closing, The Order: 1886 really isn't a bad game but it's not a great one. It looks amazing and definitely next gen; I doubt anyone will come away unimpressed in this area. Unfortunately, the story is bursting with a lot of potential that doesn't seem to be realized, perhaps this has something to do with the ending because this world can definitely be explored further. The game is also pretty short being around the 7-8 hour mark. Some people felt the game was too easy, but I thought the difficulty was done well enough. There are some very tough moments that will frustrate some players as the enemy can be downright relentless in battle. In any case, I do recommend at least giving this game a look because it didn't feel like a complete waste of time.
The Good:Looks really great, moderate difficulty, fun gun battles
The Bad: Disappointing boss battles, QTE's could have been limited, time wasted on things that offer nothing