The following is a guest review by our resident Playstation gamer, Aretêmi.
Release date: 2015
Version played: Playstation 4 in 2015
The Order: 1866 is a new release that could generate an entire column of debate. At a glance it appears to be a simple Victorian era third person shooter, with supernatural themes and a slightly steam punk feel. It has received a mixed reception online so far with myriads of gamers weighing in their pros and cons, trying to come to the veritable conclusion of whether they love the game, or hate it. It’s not that simple. Frankly speaking, you will probably both love and hate it.
I’ve tried to encapsulate some of the most talked about pros and cons below, as well as throwing in my 2 cents worth. So read on, and decide for yourself whether you should play this game.
+ As far as graphics go, the game is quite beautiful to look at. The textures are mapped nicely; crates and boxes not too boxy, reflections and shadows realistic, and the character animations, skin in particular, are spot on.
+ Cover system and enemies responses are realistic. Duck behind a crate or wooden pallet in combat, and after a few shots the wood will start to splinter. If you’re hiding at night and an enemy approaches with a lantern, don’t assume that the cover of darkness will save you; if you react too slowly to take cover then you will be spotted and summarily executed.
+ Weapon options vary, if being slightly ordinary, and include pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles. The fun comes with the few extras, such as the electric arc gun and a Victorian version of an vaporized flamethrower. In addition you have a a staple, two types of grenades. Your character has a long hunting knife, but this is only usable in select scenes or quick time events. Ammunition is not too plentiful, and swapping between weapons is seamless, but not instantaneous. Reload times realistic.
+ Side characters are generally likeable, and well animated, with just enough personality to distinguish themselves; but with barely any back-story or importance. The playable character is likeable enough, through frustratingly stupid and stubborn at times; enough so that when failing a quick time event or copping a pistol to the face triggers a death scene, you wont feel too bad. The voice acting however was excellent, and on par with a British blockbuster rather than a BBC melodrama. This is aided by the fact that the dialogue itself is well written, and you wont get any repetitive combat one liners in this game.
– The general plot and storyline of the game is not tremendously well executed. The idea; an ancient order of British Knights, based on the legends of King Arthur, sworn to protect the realm from the threat of supernatural abominations, has merit. That being said, the ‘twist’ in the plot is remarkably obvious, and the ‘bad guys are actually misunderstood good guys’ trope is sigh-worthy.
– The length of the game is a letdown. This game is short, with an average play time of around 6 hours, which one could stretch to 7 or 8 on hard difficulty experiencing a few deaths along the way. Had this game been longer, and had time to flesh out a more robust set of locations, and extend the story, it would have been a major point in their favour.
– If you do not like interactive cutscenes, push button quick time events, or combat prompts; this is not the game for you. All boss fights and important scenes default to slow-motion quick time scenes, where the only option you have is to push a button in response to the prompts. There is no storyline choices, or delineations. Failure to react to the onscreen guide will not give your character a different outcome; you will simply fail the section and have to restart.
> When passing through the houses in the city, your character can find and interact with a Sackboy ragdoll, a little easter egg from Sony’s Little Big Planet.
> Male genitalia; be prepared, as there are some present in a fair few scenes in both the brothel location, and after werewolves are slain and revert to their human forms.
Should you play this game: The game was an enjoyable, if not spectacular, third person shooter with a decent attempt at a storyline though being slightly too short. Spoilers aside the ending of the story leaves the franchise open to a sequel or, at the least, some (probably expensive) DLC content. The only people who will truly hate this game, are those who cannot appreciate it for the interactive cinematic experience it is.