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How long is The Order: 1886? That seems to be the question most people are talking about as The Order releases for PS4. Four hours? Six hours? Three hours? The question of length is immediately followed by the question of value. Is a singleplayer only game with a short campaign worth $60? After playing The Order: 1886 the reality is that this game has worse problems than how short it is. Honestly, The Order: 1886 didn’t need “more,” it needed “better.”
The game takes place in, you guessed it, 1886. Specifically London. But this isn’t the 1886 of our past. This universe has more advanced technology and is filled with paranormal creatures and events. Werewolves, immortality and other strange things are common in this world. And it’s up to you, a Knight of The Order, to fight back the scary monsters that wish to destroy humanity.
The story of The Order: 1886 is interesting, more because of the world than the actual narrative. The world feels like it has history to it. Everything feels consistent and nothing feels out of place. Even when a werewolf jumps out at you it feels like a thing that should happen in this world and many of the characters seem to react in ways that make sense. The actual storyline of conspiracy and betrayal never felt meaningful. By the time the game ended I wasn’t sure if I actually cared about who died and who lived or why.
And yes, it won’t take you very long to reach the ending of The Order: 1886 . For me it took about six and a half hours. But being short isn’t necessarily a bad quality to have. The problem is when the player feels like they aren’t doing much and when the game feels like it ends abruptly. The game has both of these problems.The ending comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really do much to end the story. It feels like it’s setting up a franchise at the end.
The other problem is not feeling like you are doing anything. I got this feeling because so much of the game felt like I was watching a cutscene while hitting a button here and there. In fact, some of the chapters in the game are literally just cutscenes. No gameplay. Four of them are actually just cutscenes. I eventually felt like I wasn’t needed at all.
The Order: 1886 is gorgeous. It looks amazing. Character animations and faces look great. Some areas looked so pretty that I actually stopped and admired the view. The lighting in particular looks incredible. Dreary and misty alley ways, dark candle lit rooms and more all look fantastic and felt ripped out of a movie. The world looks so real, until you try and do anything other than what the game wants you to do.
This is a very linear experience. There aren’t many areas where you explore and look around. And the few times you do, you can’t really interact with anything. Puzzles were easy to solve as there was usually only one switch to flip or door to open. But beyond interacting with levers and doors, the world is fairly static and seems to not care about your presence. I would walk into NPC’s and they would just keep walking, sometimes pushing me across a room. They never reacted to me or said anything. Very few doors open, very few lights or windows can be shot out. The Order: 1886 looks great, but all you can do is slowly walk around and sometimes shoot people.
Sadly the combat is pretty average and stale. Have you played a cover based shooter in the last five years? Have you played Gears of War? Well you have basically experienced the combat in The Order: 1886 already. If you haven’t played those types of games, you run up to a wall or corner, take cover, shoot some dudes and repeat. There isn’t much to say about it other than it isn’t much fun and becomes boring very fast. There isn’t a large selection of weapons and even if you find a gun you like the game will quite often rip it out of your hands and replace it during a cutscene. Again, I wonder if the game even wants me to be here.
On top of that you have a few annoying and slow stealth sections and all of this is filled, and I mean FILLED, with QTE’s. (Quick Time Events) In the middle of combat I was suddenly tackled by an enemy and now I’m doing a long QTE filled fight. The last fight of the game is a weird QTE fight. The first thing you do in the game is complete a series of QTE’s. Luckily, The Order: 1886 is rather generous with checkpoints so very rarely did missing a QTE mean redoing a large portion of a level. Still, the quick time events weren’t much fun to do and often felt unnecessary.
There isn’t much else to say about the game. At times it feels empty and strangely dull. Firefights feels quiet and not very exciting. Slowly walking through a building again and again and AGAIN felt boring and I was pretty happy that it wasn’t a long journey to reach the end. Even though I really liked this world and how it looked, it was disappointing that it very rarely reacted to my actions or even my own character. And at times the game felt like it was annoyed I was even playing it.
The Order: 1886 is a gorgeous but extremely average game. So much of this game felt OK. Not terrible, but more forgettable. If The Order: 1886 was twelve hours long it wouldn’t fix the problems it has. If anything the short length was a blessing. It means by the time you start to get really bored, the game ends.