I originally bought my PS4 Slim during the launch week of Horizon Zero Dawn, as it was the game that sold me on absolutely needing a PS4. When I picked up my PS4 I purchased a small handful of games to keep me busy with my new console. Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn and a game I had heard so many bad things about: The Order 1886. I purchased it for $4.99 (Canadian, pre-owned), and I put it on my shelf for a while as I got lost in Uncharted 4. Soon after completing Uncharted 4, I decided I would give The Order 1886 a shot. Although it only took a handful of hours to play the game to completion, it was one of my favorite experiences on PlayStation 4.
I am not going to pretend that the game itself was perfect, or that any of the flaws reviewers and gamers pointed out weren’t valid. The game had a lot of missteps and confusing design choices, whether you look at the stealth system being based solely around quick-time events (QTEs), or the terribly generic and repetitive werewolf boss battles. The Order 1886 missed the mark on several things however, with that being said they absolutely nailed something many developers struggle to even grasp: World building.
The aesthetic and time period the game was set in was wonderful and immersive and felt completely brand new. While we have had games set in this time period before, the whole Knights of the Roundtable angle they chose to use left the foundation for some unique storytelling angles moving forward. While we have seen other games tackle Victorian era Britain, such as Assassins Creed Syndicate, there always felt like there was something missing. The dark, dreary and almost hopeless atmosphere suits the environment of the Order 1886 so well, with the power struggle between Lycans and mortals rages behind the backdrop of a sometimes almost dead feeling London. The story tie-in with Tesla was also an interesting connection with history, in the very same way that having Da Vinci work together with you in Assassin’s Creed II was a one-of-a-kind experience. Being able to blend fact and myth so fluidly is a very complicated challenge for story writers, but it is something the writers at Ready At Dawn seemed to understand very well. The Order 1886 deserves a sequel.
The Order 1886, was truly a graphical feat for its time. Nowadays, with games like God Of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn it is so easy to forget how incredible The Order 1886 looked back in 2015. The Order 1886 was developed by Ready At Dawn with assistance from SCE Santa Monica Studios. The engine used for The Order 1886 was the RAD 4.0 engine, was an in-house engine developed by Ready At Dawn. In terms of depth and graphical fidelity, it is right up there with the Fox Engine (Metal Gear Solid V) and the Decima Engine (Horizon Zero Dawn, Killzone Shadow Fall).
The Order 1886 looked like a movie in the best way possible, and the amount of detail could be seen is an accomplishment. At the time, very few games could touch The Order 1886, the dark Victorian period English setting made for some of the most beautiful and drab landscapes we have seen this generation. Just look at the reveal trailer at E3 2013 and it is hard to deny how amazing the setting and graphical appeal for this world was at the time.
Another high point of The Order 1886 was the great gunplay mechanics. While the QTE based stealth was one of my least enjoyed features in The Order 1886. The gunplay was second to none in terms of handling and smoothness, playing through the first few combat sections felt very similar to how natural Gears Of War felt in terms of third-person shooting. In a lot of ways I felt that The Order 1886 could be PlayStation’s Gears of War, the similarities between the games can easily be drawn.
Any hyperbole aside, the gun combat felt very weighted and balanced and for the first time in a long time thinking that this game could have benefitted from a multiplayer mode. With a cry of lack of content for a full priced game, a multiplayer game could have solved some of these complaints. Put together one or two unique game modes with standard Team Deathmatch, Domination and Capture the flag and you could have built something post-launch out of it with unique DLC. With significant resources spent on the technology within this game, clearly multiplayer just did not work with the budget. However, if they were to make a sequel adding a multiplayer mode could prove worth the investment, seeing as some games have flourished with definitive single-player and multiplayer experiences, such as The Last of Us.
The true unfortunate factor of us so far not having a sequel to the Order 1886 is the cliffhanger ending the game had. This played into why many people felt disappointed with the length of the game and questioned whether they got their money’s worth. Either the game needed to extend past that point to provide a true and more satisfying ending. The game left you feeling like you were missing out on what could be the best part of the story. It felt like it had clearly crafted with a sequel in mind, unfortunately so far this sequel has never come. Which leaves a lot of open-ended questions in regards to the story that I myself wonder if we will ever see a conclusion to this story.
Really and truly, The Order 1886 was not a astounding game that had unfair criticism lobbed at it however, the game had huge potential for a follow-up. There was great groundwork laid, with story opportunities down the road set up perfectly. If the Order 1887 was to ever happen, improvements to stealth and hand to hand mechanics would need to be addressed, as well as werewolf encounters needing to feel less generic and more diverse to fight. Feedback would have to be addressed. Ready At Dawn did some amazing things with this game, and I truly hope (if the developers would want to), that we could see this universe fleshed out in a sequel.