The Order: 1886 Remains Shrouded in the Neo-Victorian London Fog

Too little, too soon.

by

Before the demo of The Order: 1886 began at Sony's showcase event last week, Ru Weerasuriya, the game's writer and creative director, talked about creating the game's alternate-history version of London. The team at Ready at Dawn had done extensive research on the actual London of the period, he said, but then blended elements that are grounded in history with things that didn't yet exist in the late 1800s. Airships served as a perfect example. The golden age of dirigibles was the early 20th century, but Weerasuriya said that when airships were introduced into the world of The Order, people accepted it. Wait 50 years after a point in time has passed, he said, and you can rewrite history.

When The Order: 1886 is ultimately released, history may not remember its early showing at last week's event, because there was so little to it that it didn't leave much of an impression. I saw a brief sequence from the game that was interrupted constantly by characters talking to each other; as a result, the gameplay never built up any momentum, and I was left with no real sense of how the finished game will actually play or what the balance between gameplay and story will be.

I do know that I'm intrigued by the world of The Order. References to Arthurian lore are sprinkled throughout, with three of the four members of the Order (Galahad, Percival, and Igraine) having names that reference the legend of the once and future king. What I glimpsed of the game's version of London appeared believably worn and dirty and lived-in; it had the air of a real place despite the presence of airships and other technology that didn't exist at the time, such as the monocular that the player used to survey London from a rooftop at the start of the demo. Weerasuriya said that while the weapons and gadgets used by the Order didn't actually exist in 1886, the elements from which they are constructed did exist. I sometimes find the presence of what might be called steampunk elements jarring in fictional worlds, but my brief look at The Order left me feeling like the game is being careful to make sure that those elements are presented in a context that makes them believable.

One thing that was clear about The Order is that it's a narrative-heavy game; interactions between the characters took precedence over gameplay during the section I witnessed. Weerasuriya talked about keeping the player involved during the frequent story beats, with one example being to have the player use the controller's touchpad to send Morse code to allies, but this struck me as more gimmicky than truly involving. Shortly thereafter, the player became embroiled in a brief bit of standard third-person cover-shooter combat, though while the gameplay looked standard, the visuals were fantastic; the brick facades of the slums of Whitechapel were in dire need of repair, the air was thick with fog (or perhaps other, more rotten things), and the way Galahad's heavy blue coat flowed as he moved through the environment was thoroughly convincing.

What does this gun do? Your guess is as good as mine.

After gunning down a few rebels, Galahad leapt onto an enemy below, beginning a melee combat sequence that seemed to play out automatically until a button prompt appeared telling the player to dodge a knife slash. Weerasuriya said that you can fail that button prompt and still win the fight, leaving me with the impression that melee combat in The Order might offer you little freedom and be reminiscent of gameplay in something like Heavy Rain. After this, the player acquired a fancy new weapon from a rebel storehouse, but as the members of the Order left the room, the screen faded to black. I was left wondering what this fancy new gun could do, and what The Order will really play like. Was the section of the game I witnessed typical, with action rarely lasting more than a minute or two at a stretch before a new story beat occurred? Or was this a particularly narrative-heavy stretch?

It's not that I came away feeling like what I saw reflected poorly on The Order so much as I felt like there wasn't enough there for me to get much of a sense of The Order at all. It may be that this intriguing game just isn't far enough along yet to make a strong showing at an event. Weerasuriya said that the people at Ready at Dawn are working hard to get the game out in 2014, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up getting pushed back. And if it needs extra time to make The Order great, I hope Ready at Dawn takes it. When I finally do get to visit neo-Victorian London, I want it to be in a game that is worthy of such an intriguing setting.

Discussion

89 comments
coolguyhero
coolguyhero

they will pull this game in 2014 .....

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'm a big Sony fan,  and I loved the work Ready at Dawn did with God of War on PSP, but based on what's talked about here I'm not filled with all that much confidence for The Order. They need to stop being so coy with this one and lets us see it.

northArrow
northArrow

So far the Order and The Witcher 3 are the only games that have me interested in the new gen of gaming. I hope this pans out

mr_nee
mr_nee

Please don't let it become Ryse

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Everyone from GS to IGN to Eurogamer is saying the same thing. Looks like standard 3rd-person shooter gameplay. Yet, I don't hear these same complaints about FPSs. Which haven't really changed all that much from Goldeneye on 64 when it comes to gameplay. What more can you do to make a cover-based shooter feel fresh? C'mon.

Saayko
Saayko

It looks like a steampunk Uncharted. May not be original but who cares? cool core gamplay with a cool new theme, looks fine to me.

Centurion95
Centurion95

So we have a period game with super natural elements, spectacularly pretty and graphically impressive, and overall standard (some whould say bland), non-revolutionary, gameplay of its genre (here a typical third person cover shooter).


So basically this is the PS4's version of Ryse: Son of Rome?  

dhsk8sb
dhsk8sb

Gears for PS4? lame...

anab0lic
anab0lic

QTE's Galore? Urgh, pass.

mat_sey
mat_sey

Trailers with no gameplay footage should be banned. Utterly pointless.

pozium
pozium

The game looks awesome

Halloll
Halloll

remember when games were about gameplay? those where good times indeed (yes I realize my avatar is from MGS4).

blast880
blast880

I keep hoping this will be good... but it will probably be meh:P

mr_bubbles261
mr_bubbles261

I hope there is more variety in the gameplay 

pyratrum
pyratrum

She just bitches and moans about anything now, doesn't she?

jcogopogo
jcogopogo

bring it on , can't wait for games built for the ps4

Barighm
Barighm

So...it's a shooter?


...


...at least indie games have more variety.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

A bit more interested after seeing that trailer. Still not enough to go one though. I mean, remember the original trailers for Colonial Marine? CG trailers are useless.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

Another bitching rant from Carolyn. Duh. I watched the sequence on youtube and it looked fantastic. The game looks like Uncharted in Victorian London.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

SONY did the same thing with the last of us . They didn't show a lot of gameplay until E3.

Karlinel
Karlinel

@SavoyPrime  You don't see IGN or GS sporting The Order: 1886 advertising either, do you?

Karlinel
Karlinel

@Centurion95  Considering the gunplay and the looooong story scene after and before that short shootout, I'd say it's PS4's version of Max Payne 3

DANNYtheBOY11
DANNYtheBOY11

@doggiezilla  

1. you cannot compare two such a different games

2. you cannot compare a game that you don't know anything about with a game you know everything about (unfortunately for Titanfall)

3. TF is a COD game (indeed original) with robots and mirrowedge parkour (mmh, original too) still running on a old engine on a next gen console (great move); the poor graphics speak for themself (first time I saw it I thought it was actually on 360, then they told me it was not planned for that)

4. TF such iperhiped game with no reason; better say there is one: the lack of good/innovative games so far (this is valid for PS4 as well); pls don't mention BF or Forza5 (btw, Forza4 it was/is similar or even better in some aspects)

5. you=nonsense post

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

@mat_sey It's usually because the gameplay is bad, unless the game is still in early development.

hystavito
hystavito

@Halloll  Gaming press generally seems to favour narrative above all else.  The gaming community at large also seems to really like "cinematic" sequences, trading control/gameplay for more scripted and contextual stuff with better animations.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

Carolyn Petit is a DRAMA QUEEN pun intended. Sorry love

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

@evil_snuggles For writing the same thing as IGN? Please you're grasping at straws here and jumping on the anti-Carolyn bandwagon long after that wagon left you in the dust.

franky111
franky111

@Barighm  Yeah...all of those 8-bit pixel clones are SO original.

ps3gamer1234
ps3gamer1234

@The-Neon-Seal  Remember Motor Storm CG trailer in 2005 and the game releases with totally different graphics.

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

@Morphine_OD I wish I could downvote this. She's saying the same thing as IGN - great visuals but what appears to be standard 3rd person shooting.

Which I'm fine with but no where in this article is Carolyn 'bitching'. I think after how derisive Bioshock Infinite was last year, sites are paying more attention to how they write about 'beautiful but standard shooters'.

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

@evil_snuggles That's the same video here. I want to see this 10 minute video that GS and IGN are talking about in their previews. Both are showing the same screenshots. 


I hope this blends the 3rd person shooting of Gears w/ the exploration of Uncharted since Uncharted had wonky combat but great exploration.


I have faith in the dev after the 2 great PSP God of War games.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I got Adblock Plus, so I can't even speak on that lol

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

This article is click bait Sorry to break it to you .Gamespot is the new polygon controversy for Click bait . The Last Of Us anyone

Karlinel
Karlinel

@iMpLuX @Morphine_OD  After seeing the gameplay sequence, it feels strange. Standard yet competent GoW gameplay with a "heaviness" in it, it doesn't need a Vanquish level of frenzy (wouldn't make sense in the context of victorian era) but it doesn't really spell system seller to me.

Hopefully it's just an early alpha.

Xyllix
Xyllix

@iMpLuX @Morphine_ODMaybe everyone's just salty with Carolyn after the ridiculously unfathomable shitty review she gave of GTA V

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

THe order is going to be a bigger release than infamous second son. Look at the time of year they are releasing it. When does the biggest selling games of the year launch . Cod, battlefield 4 and Assassin's Creed Always late fall to holiday season.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

Watch Dogs since it is the leading platform of choice.

Albelnox0
Albelnox0

@evil_snuggles Kevin van nord is someone who sucks at vide games. If he sucks at the game he gives it a bad score.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

I Don't know what you are taking about. I also read the IGN preview totally different than what Carolyn Petit wrote This is Nick picking. I don't know who Kevin is sorry.

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

@evil_snuggles If Kevin wrote it, would you be saying the same thing? It's ok to be into dudes and hate women. Kevin is too.

Karlinel
Karlinel

@evil_snuggles  Because you didn't pay attention. In the japanese TV spot for PS4 there are guys costumed the same way Delsin Rowe is.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

They are advertising the order in Japan already. I didn't see Sony advertising second son in Japan.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@evil_snuggles I suppose. It's just that, we've heard so little about it that for me, it was side-lined from the beginning.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

Watch Dogs is not a sony exclusive and not as big a game as Assassin's Creed. Ubisoft did not want to compete against Assassin's Creed with watch dogs That is the one big reason for the released delay