I’ve played a lot of games this year. I’m fairly critical of the games I’ve played and really only have a select few that I would consider my “favorite”. I don’t stick with one game for very long, and quite honestly, I’m really tired of open world games. I know I’m in a different situation than the average gamer as I’m constantly sent new games to review and open world games take so much more time with their considerable amount of padding, so I guess I’m sort of biased to the situation. (See James’ review of The Order 1886).
Aside from The Witcher 3, Dying Light and Batman: Arkham Knight, I didn’t really enjoy most of the open world games I played this year. And yes, I know Fallout 4 is amazing. I haven’t had time to dive into it just yet so lay off!
However, this editorial isn’t about my lack of enjoyment for most of the recent open world titles that have released. This editorial is about an extremely linear title that released in February of this year: The Order: 1886. The amount of negative press the game received at the time of release pushed me away from writing more about it, but now that nine months have passed since the game’s release, I’m ready to talk about it a bit more.
A lot of people seemed to have written the game off for its short playtime and lack of innovative gameplay, something I completely understand. With the holiday season arriving, however, it may be time you give The Order: 1886 a second look if you haven’t yet.
The Order: 1886 may be a shorter game with too much focus on its graphical prowess, but it does a very good job on selling the world it’s set in and prepping players for what the future of the franchise holds. Out of all the games I’ve played this year, I’ve come to realize that The Order’s setting, characters, story and moody music have all stuck with me while so many other bland and padded open-world experiences have faded into obscurity. I remember the characters and cared about their fates in the game. I remember the major events that happened and the locations I visited while playing.
The gameplay was generic, sure, but it didn’t need to be all that innovative to succeed in the first place.
Ready at Dawn could, and should, have spent more time creating less generic combat encounters that devolved into shooting galleries, but that will all be improved upon in future releases of the franchise, I hope. The game’s combat encounters were honestly the low point of the game for me, but even they weren’t terrible. The press really didn’t even make that big of a fuss about the gameplay at the time of release. Most were just cashing in on the fact that the game was short and thus wasn’t worthy of the $60 price tag.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. Whatever the case, the price of the game has dropped, and it will surely be on sale during this holiday season. With the crazy amount of open world games that released this year, we need games like The Order: 1886. Short(er) experiences that you can enjoy in a couple sittings, reflect upon, and move on to another game. This doesn’t mean developers should include less content in their games, and having a fixed price point for all games regardless of length or amount of content is another discussion altogether.
The gaming press over the past couple years have really hammered into people’s minds that if a game is linear, it’s not good. We’ve come to expect that games last a certain amount of time or they’re not worth the money. I’ve spent $60 on games that I’ve never finished, or games that I’ve played once or twice and never picked up again. I’ve spent $10 on games that I would have gladly spent $60 for. There’s no single answer to what a game is actually worth.
Having said that, if you haven’t had a chance to at least try The Order: 1886 yet and you’re in need of a linear adventure that immerses you in its world with great acting, music, and atmosphere, then you should give The Order: 1886 a chance. If you’re in need of a game that will keep you hooked for hundreds of hours, The Order isn’t that game.
Update: Also, the game is currently $9.99 on PSN. So you have no reason to not check out the game.