With no multiplayer, co-op or any redeeming features to keep players around after the short play time, there’s no denying that The Order: 1886 is one of the most disappointing games to come out on Playstation 4.
On the surface, The Order: 1886 looks like a gorgeous, fully-realized third-person shooter that nails its world and aesthetic. Whilst the game does well in providing a graphically impressive world full of interesting characters and lore, it’s hard to ignore the fundamental problems with the game and the ludicrously short play time. The Order: 1886 can easily be completed in around six hours, increased to 10 if you look for the few collectables scattered through the 16 chapters. Whilst this might be fine for a £15 title, charging £40 for a game of this length is inexcusable and because of that, The Order: 1886 must be rated alongside other £40 games and in doing so, it pales in comparison.
It’s always tough for games with massive amounts of hype behind them to achieve the lofty expectations of fans and The Order: 1886 is an example of when that disappointment is justified. It’s a shame, too, because the game certainly has potential. With a bit more polish and another 20 hours or so added to the story, we could be looking at a very good game, but as it stands the short length is a massive issue. The story is thankfully interesting, though, with numerous cutscenes breaking up the shooting sections that are fun to play but also don’t provide much in the way of a challenge, even on the hardest difficulty. The characters depicted feel quite archetypal but there’s no denying The Order: 1886 revels in its steampunk setting.
Graphically the game is unrivalled even to this day, and props to the art team for this; the game is stunning and dripping in dizzying detail. Highly detailed textures wrap around all the assets and props, areas are full of tiny details from wisps of steam to liquid in cups that help flesh the world out, and all this combines to produce an absolutely stunning experience. Character models look photo-realistic too; the cut scenes look ripped straight out of a blockbuster film and the realistically depicted dialogue only further reinforces the cinematic feel The Order: 1886 achieves.
There are moments where it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a game and this again brings back the biggest issue with The Order: 1886. With around a quarter of the small play time occupied by admittedly gorgeous cut scenes, you’ll spend a lot of time watching rather than playing the story. Whilst it’s admirable to see a game like this try to blur the line between movie and game, the 6-hour play time feels like a poor return on a £40 game. As a bargain buy at £10 The Order: 1886 is certainly sufficient, but it definitely leaves you wanting more when the credits roll. Even more so considering the open ending teasing a sequel is unlikely to breed one based on this showing.
Along with the gorgeous aesthetic in the game are solid, albeit clichéd, gameplay mechanics. The shooting has a good kick to it but it does feel very pedestrian, and there’re only a few guns to choose from. Late on The Order: 1886 does try to shake up the familiar with tanks and different types of enemy than the standard foot soldier you face throughout the 16 chapters, but even then playing the game does feel rudimentary. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done already and better in other games. When you strip away the graphics, The Order: 1886 is a lacklustre experience and never innovates beyond the graphics and cutscenes it boasts throughout. The short play time does nothing to help this either, with the game abruptly ending just as the story looks like it’s about to take off.
With no multiplayer, co-op or any redeeming features to keep players around after the short play time, there’s no denying that The Order: 1886 is one of the most disappointing games to come out on Playstation 4. There’s potential for a great IP here, but the short play length and average gameplay mechanics give a poor return on a £40 investment. The open ending to the story feels incredibly pretentious, teasing a sequel that’s evidently never going to arrive. The Order: 1886 is an example of when graphics aren’t everything in a game, and despite its incredibly realized and beautiful world, the average mechanics and frustratingly short play time juxtapose the good work done on the surface, making The Order: 1886 one of the biggest disappointments to be released in recent memory.