From the outset, The Order: 1886 looks like it might actually be firing on all pistons. The PS4 exclusive is a graphical stunner which promises a story that rolls up the Arthurian knights of the round table with werewolves and a steampunk ripper-era London; that’s a foundation that any game-hungry PS4 owner can support. Unfortunately, for all its good intentions and ideas, The Order falls short.
Probably most disappointing is that The Order is a game we really wanted to like. Its story, one that pits Sir Gallahad’s heir against a legion of werewolves in defense of capitalist progress, actually sounds bad ass and, for the most part, it was enjoyable...if a bit on the short side. Where The Order drops the ball is in its mediocre execution of all things video game. The freedom to explore is non-existent. Quick time events and shooting from cover (a la Gears of War) dominate the gameplay and, even though we can appreciate those as is, The Order employs them in a way that feels unnecessarily tired and mundane. Even The Order’s story and visual telling of it are dragged down by gameplay that feels lazy because wouldn’t have taken much effort to improve.
It’s actually mind-boggling that Sony let one of their few big-name, non-indie exclusives of 2015 show its face like this. New IPs are not easy to hype and The Order had a genuine following anticipating its arrival since its announcement two years ago. We’re sure that they banked on more people appreciating The Order’s great style, story and overall cinematic feel but they seem to have forgotten that the game itself should be the most important part of a video game. Still, The Order’s story is set up so it can be continued throughout eras (much like the Assassin Creed games) and we doubt this is the last we’ll hear from the franchise. We just hope they choose to push the envelope harder next time around.