The Order: 1886 Preview
When you look at the PlayStation 4 exclusive The Order: 1886, you may be prone to making a couple erroneous assumptions. First, you might think developer Ready at Dawn, with its primary experience in handheld productions for the PSP, can’t make the jump to big-budget AAA goodness. Second, you might glance at the media we’ve seen for the game and assume it’s steampunk. Well, as for the latter, it’s a fantasy, alternate-reality setting like Bioshock. As for the former, Ready at Dawn is ready to prove themselves as elite developers for the PS4.
This new IP is a third-person action title that features a lot of nifty guns that obviously didn’t exist during the Industrial Revolution. That’s where the alternate reality part comes in, but don’t forget that this linear, story-driven adventure will deliver various environments and gameplay situations. You will play as Galahad (the bearded guy in the trailer), and he will go into combat with three allies. These allies are part of The Order, which is a secret organization dedicated to the protection of mankind. The group’s past is mysterious and goes way back; kinda reminds one of the Templars.
As for those new weapons, they are essential in defending humanity against the creatures of the dark, which are no myth. The cool part is that you may encounter real people from history…even if they don’t necessarily exist in the correct time period. See, the designers took some creative liberties with history’s chronology, so the eagle-eyed historian will spot some inaccuracies. But that’s intentional. The bottom line is that this adventure features a complex back story that revolves around the very real Industrial Revolution, and the fantastical branches that stem from that era.
There were plenty of conflicting ideas and theories during the time, and that may come to the forefront during the course of your quest. The characters in question may have to live outside of society, all the while protecting those within society. Late 19th-century England has plenty of charm but it’s also an exceedingly dangerous place, and that’s where we’ll find much of the aforementioned creative license. It’s difficult to say how much of our compelling environment we’ll be able to explore, though, as it has been dubbed a “linear” adventure. Still, Bioshock is linear, too, and we could appreciate every ounce of those amazing atmospheres.
We need to see some actual gameplay before we pass further judgment, but Ready at Dawn seems to be headed in the right direction. What we want to know is whether or not there will be some sort of team mechanic; i.e., squad-based commands. I’d rather not have that; I want an action game, not an XCOM game. But the end result should be pretty impressive. Provided the developers get those third-person controls just right, and the game doesn’t feel too much like Gears of War or something, The Order: 1886 could be one of the best early titles for the PS4.
For my part, it’ll be interesting to see if they can make this game stand out; if they can make it feel unique. That will be key to this new IP’s success.
7/25/2013 Ben Dutka