I bought THE ORDER: 1886 on sale for $3.99. The action-adventure, third-person over-the-shoulder, single-player game is a 2015 Sony exclusive, showcasing the graphics possible with the Playstation 4 console.
Critics have praised the graphics but generally disliked the game’s story, gameplay, and short length. With words like “Victorian,” “werewolves” and “alternate history” attached to it, I really wanted to like THE ORDER: 1886, but it reminded me too much of Beyond: Two Souls, a “walking simulator” with quick time events, cutscenes, linear level design, and clunky controls for movement and combat. Though I think Beyond had better storytelling.
At each turn, THE ORDER: 1886 seemed to say, “Look at all of the beautiful things you can’t explore and which ultimately mean nothing.” Doors and gates that can’t be opened. People with whom you can’t have a conversation. Objects to be admired but not touched, or touched and then set right back down again.
Where the gameplay lacked, story and characters might have enticed me to play more. But I’d seen the “steampunk King Arthur” idea years ago in the Gaslight Chronicles series by Cindy Spencer Pape, and the characters in THE ORDER: 1886 were forgettable. I didn’t care about any of them enough to carry on and discover their fates.
Rated “M” for mature audiences, due to blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, and strong language. But even the promise of sex and violence aren’t enough to make me continue playing THE ORDER: 1886. I’ll just go watch Penny Dreadful again.
~ J.L. Hilton
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