Imagine a world which has an elite order of knights in an alternate Victorian-era London where myths and technology co-exist.
Welcome to The Order: 1886.
You play Sir Galahad, one of the Arthurian knights who lives forever (Holy Grail, anyone?) in this third- person action adventure game.
The knights battle werewolf-like Lycans using advanced weapons and gadgets, such as rifles that shoot electricity and wireless communication devices.
The Order's steampunk game world has excellent art direction and some of the most gorgeous graphics you have ever seen in a console game. The photo-realistic graphics are just simply gorgeous, with smooth textures and incredible details.
You can see every furrow and wrinkle on the knights' faces, appreciate the intricacy of the embroidery on their clothing and make out every hair on the Lycans, no matter if you are looking at cut scenes or actual gameplay.
The voice acting is superb. Every actor voices his or her character with the right tone and feel. Sound effects and music further accentuate the atmosphere.
But apart from technical accomplishments, there is little else to praise in The Order: 1886.
The controls are a complete mess - you control the action of shooting and the view of the camera angle using the left stick, and move the character with the right stick.
In the heat of battle, as you take cover, pop out of cover to fire your weapons, kill your enemies and move on, these controls will make you lose orientation easily as you struggle with the left and right sticks.
At times, you even have to use your left hand to control the right stick, so that you can move forward and use your right hand to press the X button (on the right of the controller) to climb walls or overcome obstacles. This is plain counter-intuitive.
Then there are quicktime events when you have to press some buttons to get through the battle sequences. I was at a loss at times if I should waste ammunition or wait to smash vigorously on a button.
Never mind the predictable storyline, the game is way too linear. You just move from one place to another, fight some monsters either using the cover-based shooting or quicktime events, and watch some cut scenes that might require you to press some button again. And then you move on to another scene.
If you missed doing something needed for the story progression, you will have to repeat from the last save checkpoint.
Moreover, the pace of the game is painfully slow and dire. The first 20 soporific minutes of going through the basic controls can put the most ardent gamer to sleep.
Thankfully, the game is very short. Some gamers claim to have finished it in six hours. If you meander around drooling over the graphics and examining a photo, newspaper or other random artefact, you can probably stretch it to 10 hours.
The Order: 1886 feels like an incredibly pretty interactive movie that makes sure you follow its linear progression in an orderly manner. No wonder it is called The Order.
Price: $69.90 (PlayStation 4 only)
This article was first published on Mar 4, 2015.
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