E3 2014: The Order: 1886 Hands-On Impressions
The Order: 1886 is shaping up to be PS4’s marquee title for the early part of 2015, as it’ll be releasing on February 25th. Being inspired by the Uncharted series is one thing, but trying to pay homage to the series by producing an excellent game matched by Hollywood quality presentation would be something legendary. Whether you’re a fan of Uncharted, or nah; Drake is no joke. That series set the bar. Ready At Dawn made it clear what their intentions were, this early build of The Order: 1886 tells a tale of their progress.
The Order: 1886 kinda reminds of the Resistance series, but not in a bad way. Resistance was always riddled and remembered mixed feelings; personally I enjoyed the retro futuristic vibe it had. That series, and this new IP were/is subject to the direction of the game’s creative director rather than staying true to commonly known history. The Order: 1886 follows The Order of the Knights who exist in a war torn society after humans devolved to half-breeds and a liberating substance known as “Blackwater” was discovered. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely; Blackwater is absolute power that will turn the tide in the war against the half-breeds. The substance The Order has dubbed as Blackwater grants amazing healing powers to those who use it; generally it has been seen to offer instantaneous “senzu-bean like” recovery to whoever drinks it in early gameplay trailers. The game screams cinema, in-fact, it is the only video game to my knowledge to have been developed to utilize a 21:9 aspect ratio.
The part of The Order: 1886 I got hands-on with was identical to the trailer shown at Sony’s E3 2014 press conference. You start out in the streets in the middle of a confrontation with the “Rebellion”. We’re not really sure what they want here, that has yet to be told. In this first section you get an idea of how The Order’s combat works. The demo’s objective is fairly simple; Sir Galahad, who you control, leads the counter operation against the Rebellion that have ambushed you. The controls, though fairly simple, feel tedious in this early combat section. The cover system is a key component of third person shooters since it’ll help you avoid heavy fire. The Order’s cover system is unrewarding to the player who wants to camp out in safety while being able to see their immediate surrounding as if they weren’t in cover. The camera perspective while in cover is appropriately more conservative in showing the enemy presence immediately in front of you. Let me emphasize that this is a great thing, however, the cover system feels clunky while against certain objects and the circle button doesn’t feel like a natural command for cover. Ultimately I’m a critic, not a game developer, but I did recommend that the team offer down sort or cover indication that’ll automatically settle players into nearby environments to prepare for counter attacks. Another hindering control issue is sprinting, which is activated by clicking the left analog stick. I’m not exactly sure if you have to hold the clickable L3 button or toggle it for sprinting; however, I recommend Ready At Dawn follows the Watch Dogs method of sprinting that involves holding the primary fire button R2 while not aiming.
Our two weapons of combat in this segment were the C-76 Autoloading Pistol and a M86 / FL Thermite Rifle. The Thermite Rifle is basically one big a** machine gun that is someone inaccurate but carries flammable secondary grenade shots that are useful in some environmental situations; early in the game you’re prompted to shoot the gas pipe in a building killing Rebellion soldiers. The C-76 does exactly what the name says it does, but it is primarily used during Blacksight, The Order’s slowed focus fire, that you can activate with a filled gauge by pressing L1. Using the Thermite Rifle seemed very tricky at first because of the cover mechanics I complained about a little earlier, but it’s not game breaking. From newer gameplay previews published by Sony, there seems to be plenty of other weapons on the way.
Plot details for The Order: 1886 are still slim, and as much as I speculated what was going on in the game Ready At Dawn would not spill the beans. Single player stories have always been my preference; I’m a loner when it comes to video games. The Order feels like it’s going to be one of those titles that stick for me a while after I play it, despite my technical criticisms of it earlier. Oh, and the game looks graphically amazing. I can’t wait to get more hands-on in the future.