A New Era Approaches

At Sony’s 2013 E3 Press Conference, Ready At Dawn’s new PlayStation 4 exclusive IP was unveiled to the world – The Order 1886. A brave new adventure by the team who’d been kicking ass on the God of War PSP games. Back then, I was somewhat unaware of how this game would do in a gaming landscape that is seemingly filled to the rafters with third-person cover based shooters, but after finally getting my hands on the title at the EB Expo, my recent excitement for the game was rewarded.

The Order 1886 is set in an alternate history London, and follows a set of knights that defend the world from the dark depths of this alternate history. The Order, as they are known, have developed various types of weaponry built to help them take out the various enemies within the game – the main type being Lycans, or half-breeds – monsters that were originally human but have taken an animal-like form. The game is centered around Galahad and his group and focuses on their journey throughout the time period.

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Perhaps the most striking part about The Order 1886 is the graphical fidelity of the game. I’ve had a few friends speak to me about how good the game looks, but finally getting to sit down and play the game really just emphasized how gorgeous the game is. The cutscene to game jump isn’t there anymore, as we’ve come to an age in gaming where graphics are practically the same as they are in a pre-rendered cutscene. It was jaw dropping to watch the focus pull out from Galahad and his troops engaging in conversation and to have the gameplay begin. It’s truly a credit to Ready At Dawn’s continued precision in development to make everything in the game as beautiful as possible. Don’t be fooled though – as when I say beautiful – I mean the graphical fidelity of a gritty, dark and gloomy alternate history London is brilliantly crafted for our eyes to see. Even the weapons used in the game each have little ounces of detail that you can just sink your teeth into if you desire, again a credit to the team over at Ready At Dawn.

“It was jaw dropping to watch the focus pull out from Galahad and his troops engaging in conversation and to have the gameplay begin.”

The Order 1886 is a third-person cover based shooter – and it’s been continually linked to games like Gears of War. I can see why, but at the same time I think the way The Order plays is quite different to Gears, and throughout my short playtime of the demo I gradually faded away from those feelings of it being too much like others in the genre. The Order isn’t like Gears at all really, besides the fact that they share the third-person cover based element in the gameplay. The Order 1886 delves into its elaborately crafted history with precision, and while I had no idea who I was shooting and why – the way the game played was smooth, fluid and precise – and that’s what I like in a third-person shooter. Using the various weapons available was also a ball, and it showcased how far the developers went when it came to crafting an alternate history to base the game in. In 1886, Thermite was available, but no one ever made the connection between throwing it into an automatic gun and throwing a flare into its secondary fire – I’m sure no one would have even thought of that. But here it is – in The Order 1886, and it works a treat. The way the game delves in ounces of reality was really intriguing, and I loved the way said gun functioned. Instead of just using it as a normal rifle and navigating between the normal firing mode and the secondary, using both was encouraged in The Order, and that was the way to deal the most damage. It’s things like this that made the gameplay in The Order 1886 that much more unique within a genre that’s been drowned in titles in recent years.

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Another major part of The Order 1886 was the atmosphere it quickly and expertly crafted while I was playing. It really just thrusts you into the thick of things during the demo and that’s the way it should be. I really enjoyed diving into combat, shooting the bad guys and watching events play out around me. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to encounter a half-breed, but that will be an experience better saved for when the full game releases in February next year.

I’ve been watching The Order 1886’s development for over a year and a half now, and finally getting hands on with the game was something that I really enjoyed. I have a few questions still lingering in my head about how it’ll craft an intriguing story to follow suit with the incredible atmosphere and gameplay, but if the environment and research conducted by Ready At Dawn is anything to go by, The Order 1886 is going to be a stellar game. I really can’t wait to get my hands on it next year in February, and if you’re a fan of third-person shooters, you should definitely have it on your radar as well.

The Order:  1886 was previewed at the EB Expo 2014 Sony Event.