The Order

March 16, 2015 by Tim

I realize now I never actually posted any thoughts on The Order 1886 after finishing it. It was indeed a short game; my playthrough clocked in at around the eight hour mark. I played on the hardest difficulty, so that includes playing through a couple of sequences multiple times, as viewers of the stream can attest.

However, the game’s length was not its greatest weakness. That responsibility falls on the pacing. I didn’t mind the lengthy cutscenes, or the quick-time events. The Order was easily one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever played, and I was happy to spend time ogling it.

And while the shooting portions were largely formulaic (find cover, pop up, shoot, duck down to heal, repeat), the animations were fluid and the gunplay felt fantastic.

So my biggest problem with the game was how it mixed all of these elements together. That is to say, disproportionately. The Order offered a very interesting alternate history to play around in, but it expected you to learn about it via a ton of found items through the course of the game. That’s all well and good, but there should have been more of a primer at the beginning.

Rather than achieving a nice bell arc, where the game started slowly and eased you into it with a lot of exposition and buildup, ramping up to lots of action and setpieces, to then be softly brought to a neat conclusion, The Order felt more like a roller coaster. Everytime things start to get moving, it hits the brakes with a big lull.

There was actually a moment that the game threw me into a shooting battle, and it had been so long since the last one it took me a moment to remember the controls. Probably not good.

As a proof of concept, I loved it. As a standalone game, it left alot to be desired. I’m on board with a sequel if the sales warranted it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the negative press surrounding the game’s release tanked any possibility of a franchise here.

I personally don’t regret buying or playing the game, and there were some moments in the game that I’ll remember for a long time to come. But game of the year it was not.


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