Ready at Dawn is one of those companies that take their ambition and passion to a level that exceeds in many ways. They remind me of Naughty Dog when they first decided to make Uncharted, RAD team tends to embody their projects with pure quality. Ready at Dawn has expressed their desire to be the next Naughty Dog in the gaming industry based on the Gameinformer interview, and they couldn’t scream any louder with The Order 1886. Every aspect of this game speaks highly of their Uncharted-The Last of Us inspiration, and one that’s done right. The game stumbles a bit in the game-play, but with its overall sheer quality, it stands among top tier with its Victorian-London cinematic experience, and one that’s meant to be played.
Players will face around 12-15hrs of The Order 1886’s story depending on their skills, and game-play style. The Order 1886 is set in an alternate history London where technological advancements were made far ahead of their time. The helm of the story is a group of secret knights known as The Order, or better yet, Knights of the Round Table who goes into every battle with a veil of the mysterious Blackwater stored from the fabled Holy Grail; it extends life and rapidly heals the knight, leaving them essentially immortal. Sir Galahad is the main protagonist players control to uncover secrets that seems to linger rather well in the world before them. Mixed with conspiracy, betrayal, Half Breeds who hide in the shadows, rebels who seek to destroy the balance of the world, hints of a possible romance between Galahad and Lady Igraine, another strong knightly character—The Order 1886 really is a mix bag of all the good qualities needed in a well-developed plot. To add to the already enticing premise, The Order 1886 showcases some fantastic performances from the cast, they are believable and likable, and the chemistry between each knight leaves you wanting more. The Order 1886 is rather intriguing and Ready at Dawn has created a world that begs for sequels.
By far, The Order 1886 is one the most graphically impressive game to date. The massive polygon count on these character models is astonishing, and the engine running this game is boasting some impressive engineering skills. From the ray tracing in glass and water reflection, to the scope of the beautifully crafted rendition of London, Ready at Dawn clearly worked their hardest in making this game look magnanimously beautiful. The one problem we can point out are the infamous ‘black bars’ placed on the top and bottom of the screen which serves as a ‘cinematic’ feel to the game. For some it may not be noticeable, but nonetheless it’s a shame that there’s no option to switch it off. Hopefully RAD decides to release a patch that gives such option of disabling the black bars for players who dislikes the design choice.
Aside from a greatly paced plot and glorious but restricted graphical fidelity, The Order 1886 is a Third Person Cinematic Action game at heart, which engages the player with QTE’s and cover systems—and it’s incredibly solid, however nothing really new is thrown to the mix. The game-play has carefully placed QTE events during cut scenes with a side of some average TPS shoot outs—of course some really open areas to plan your survival but ultimately this game is serving to the purpose of having the player feel immersed into their cinematic story telling. It’s linear, but its intense and fun to play and that’s very important. There are some really nifty aspects to the game, one instance would be during the verge of death, players will have the ability to crawl to safety and use the veil that contains the Blackwater to heal themselves back to health. It’s a QTE prompt but it happens dynamically through the shootouts of these set pieces which keeps you engaged. Players will also have the ability to engage in contextual close quarters combat, and this is where we see a problem.
The Last of Us left me a little spoiled because of how fantastic their CQC were, you had to mash the square button to attack, sometimes the enemy were smart to dodge and then you press triangle to dodge their attacks, sometimes they would come outta nowhere and smash you against the wall while you have to struggle to set free and then Ellie would help by stabbing or throwing an item at the enemy….those elements were masterful in the mix of shootouts and felt real, felt like something I would do; The Order’s combat is just a button press and you would see a stylish take down, that’s it—although it was really nice to look at, it disengaged me a little from the immersion RAD is trying to convey. The shootouts were gratifying and intense, alongside the often aggressive enemy AI (but sometimes open enough to shoot easily) and there are a sheer number of weapons to play around with like the Arc Gun and Thermite Rifle, but I just personally wish the combat was a little more complex. One more aspect though, the stealth segment served a purpose to the story of the game, but when caught, Sir Galahad would instantly die as the enemy poured bullets to his face—talk about snapping out of reality. Again, because RAD wants to be just like Naughty Dog, it’s a shame they didn’t take the crucial game-play elements from the Last of Us.
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