During Sony’s E3 press conference, Ready at Dawn showed off some new footage from their highly anticipated PS4 exclusive The Order 1886.
The game is set in alternate history London, and surrounds an ancient order of knights who struggle to protect the world against lycanthropes. The world had struggled against these bestial half-breeds for centuries, until King Arthur formed his Knights of the Round Table and discovered Black Water – a mystical liquid that prolongs one’s life and gifts supernatural healing abilities.
The knights of The Order, though generations removed from the original Knights of the Round Table, still adopt the names of the original knights. Grayson, the protagonist depicted in the gameplay trailer, is the third knight to bear the name Sir Galahad.
The Industrial Revolution marked a dramatic turning point in the war, with technologically advanced weaponry providing the means for the Knights to finally push back hard against the lycanthrope menace.
The new footage opened with the game’s protagonist, Galahad, walking through the dark corridors of what appears to be an asylum, inexplicably lighting the way with a traditional lantern while communicating with his comrades on some advanced radio communications device.
The atmosphere is grim and oppressive, and the lighting and graphics are absolutely superb. I was particularly impressed with the way the lantern’s flickering light bounced off the damp walls of the sanitarium.
Galahad then rounds a corner, and comes face-to-face with a figure hunched over an eviscerated body, chowing down like it’s coupon day at the Golden Corral. The figure’s head snaps up when Galahad’s presence interrupts his meal, with its face drenched in the victim’s blood – a scene fairly reminiscent of the first zombie encounter in the Playstation classic Resident Evil.
The creature then stands up and transforms into some sort of grotesque werewolf, and begins charging at Galahad – which in turn leads into an amazingly well-choreographed, cinematic fight sequence.
However, I was rather dubious of how accurate the trailer depicted the gameplay we would end up getting when The Order launches next February.
Fortunately Fextralife got some hands-on time with the demo, and we can honestly say that the trailer accurately represents the gameplay. The transitions between action and cinematic cut-scenes is absolutely seamless, and truly remarkable. Sometimes it’s hard to even tell when a scene is over and you’re back in the driver’s seat, because nothing is pre-rendered.
The game also uses a unique filmic presentation, designed to emulate the texture of a motion picture film in order to achieve a more genuine cinematic feel.
Unfortunately the gameplay itself feels clunky and awkward. During the demo you’re dropped into a gunfight with some steampunk-styled automatic weapon called the M86/FL Thermite Rifle. The firearm was incredible inaccurate and unwieldy. Additionally, the bullets themselves (fired in bursts with R2) are ineffective against enemies; you have to ignite enemies using flares (controlled by the R1 trigger).
The Order also utilizes a cover system that feels equally clunky. Using the circle button to take cover feels unintuitive, and there are no cover prompts so moving in and out of cover feels inconsistent. When you do succeed in taking cover, the camera moves closer in, focusing on the targets immediate in front of you – which would be a great feature if it weren’t so frustrating taking cover in the first place.
Plus, as you know from watching the trailer, it appears that The Order will feature some quick-time events – a gameplay mechanic that I absolutely abhor.
Ready at Dawn has stated that they don’t plan on including multiplayer because they wanted to focus on making the best possible single-player experience possible. We asked them what sort of variety we can expect from enemy types in the game, and were told that enemies were more “focused,” indicating less diversity.
The Order 1886 has a compelling atmosphere and truly breathtaking graphics. Hopefully Read at Dawn can tune up the gameplay enough before launch to compliment the visual fidelity, else I fear this may end up being the PS4’s Ryse: Son of Rome.