You all (hopefully) remember how hyped up the advertisement and expectations were during the ramp up to and release of The Order: 1886. You hopefully read reviews on the Ready At Dawn title. Maybe you even played it. I did. If you did too, then you might have guessed from the ending that a sequel is essentially guaranteed. So, the big question is: what was good in The Order: 1886? What does it not do good? By extension, what from The Order: 1886 should be carried over to a potential (even assumed) sequel? By the same coin, what should be added or improved?
The Order: 1886, developed by Ready At Dawn Studios, is set in an alternate version of Victorian-era 1886 London. Great technological advances level the playing field in the long-standing wars between the humans of The Order of Her Majesty’s Knights and supernatural, as well as occasional natural, threats. One Knight in particular, Sir Galahad, whose true name is Grayson, learns of secrets throughout the game that lead him to appear as though he has betrayed his fellow Knights and London in general.
This third-person action-adventure shooter didn’t exactly do anything revolutionary in terms of mechanics and storyline, but it did do what, in my opinion, is the most important thing: deliver a solid story wrapped in engaging gameplay. That is what I want to see again, but with a hopefully-longer storyline, gameplay aside. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored the snappy and non-dragged-out plot of the game, but it goes by way too quickly. Don’t even get me started on how slow the beginning sequences are, which are perfectly-paced for a first-time player but get annoying for a repeat player, which I love to do with most of the games I have ever owned. Perhaps, however, it isn’t so much a problem with plot as it is a problem with gameplay.
That all-important component to a successful game, its gameplay, also needs improvement for me to love a sequel to The Order. Let’s start with what I enjoyed about it the most: the strategy behind the firefights. If you play like me, I often make it hard on myself by staying in one place, then getting pounced on and dying again and again until I find the right formula or path. An important component of the right formula for victory is weapons. Equipping or picking up the more-powerful weapons can make all the difference in how difficult a firefight can be, and sometimes the kind of area you’re in can influence the best weapon for the job, such as using a shotgun or rifle in a close-quarters environment rather than an arc induction lance, a choice I found to be the best near the end of the game.
With that in mind, I do have a few suggestions to make. It would be great to have more weapon choices available. It would be even better to have a dedicated melee button, rather than having to wait until we get in close enough to get the context-sensitive button prompt on-screen. But all in all, I liked the shooting and cover mechanics of The Order, even the cheating strategy behind using the Blackwater and the associated Blacksight, the former allowing for recovering from critical health without dying, while the latter allowing for taking out multiple enemies at once with critical shots. I hope they aren’t changed too much in the sequel since they are solid enough as they are.
Very few parts of the game, if any, allowed for choice as to when to use stealth, instead making you either go in guns-blazing (majority of the time) or silently with Sir Galahad’s knight’s blade/knife. The stealth system, when available, was mostly solid enough, but took some trial-and-error for me to time correctly. An additional annoyance was the camera view when trying to stay undetected in an area where you immediately die/lose when detected. The knife/blade itself is also available in melee when in close-quarters while in a firefight, a choice I mentioned earlier, but I didn’t even personally know about until I saw the button prompt for it late into my first playthrough. As I mentioned, I would like a dedicated melee button.
One of the two things about The Order I think detracted from enjoyment of the game the most was the Lycan/Half-breeds portions. This includes both the passive one-on-one scenes and the active shoot-at-them-while-they-charge-at-you-before-dodging-to-avoid-damage scenes. I personally enjoyed these sequences, although I did get frustrated early on at how mechanical and repetitive they can feel. What I would like in terms of improvement is a more dynamic showdown with these boss-type enemies, something less-predictable and more carnal than what was in The Order. I know, I know, that sounds too ambiguous to be valuable feedback, but that’s my two cents on the concept.
The Order‘s collectibles and side-quests components need a major nip/tuck, so to speak, to add more replayability to a sequel when looking at the flaws of the first game. The sound cylinders were somewhat-interesting, but they don’t contribute any kind of substance to the overall game beyond minor intrigues; they feel out-of-place. Side-quests were totally nonexistent in the first game, which was disappointing considering how conducive the rebellion and Nikola Tesla would have been to facilitating inputting those options beyond their roles in the plot. Perhaps these relationships, and whatever new ones Ready at Dawn comes up with, can be what are further explored and fully-fleshed-out in a sequel.
A last, and ironically the least in my eyes, consideration is The Order‘s visuals and graphics. Already beautifully-delivered and presented, I can’t find any fault in these two parameters of the first game. All we can hope for in a sequel is on-par quality with, or hopefully higher quality than, the first.
How about you? What do you think of my list? Would you like to see anything else added, removed, or improved? Let us know in the comments below!
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