People love to hate The Order: 1886, but since playing and finishing it a few nights ago I can honestly say it’s not a bad game at all. Sure, there is some truth to some of the points people raise when they talk about 1886, but that does not mean the game is bad. It’s just different… in its own way.
This post will contain spoilers: you have been warned.
Basic stuff out of the way: 1886 is a third person shooter, exclusive to the Playstation 4, runs at 30fps on a wide screen ratio (or rather, uses black bars to simulate a movie aspect). A lot of things were said about this game when it released back in February 2015. Short, easy, no replay value… and these are all true. But the game isn’t as bad as the internet would have you believe.
These days I often say that the only game on PS4 that matches 1886 is Uncharted 4. The key difference between the two is that while Uncharted’s graphics have always had a certain cartoonesque color and vibrancy to them, 1886’s are dark, gritty and photo-realistic. The game looks amazing. Period. The game aims for a cinematic feel to it (framerate, resolution, ambience) and it pretty much hits all the right buttons.
On the other hand, the game is short, probably less than 10 hours if you don’t spend time looking for collectibles. If cutscenes were skippable I bet there would be speed-runs under an hour. It’s also easy, and while the hardest difficulties may help to slow things down it never feels excessive. Finally, unless you’re going for the trophies (which are very easy to complete) there’s little replay value at all. Once you’re done with the story you’re pretty much done, unless you wanna go back and show a particularly cool looking cutscene or area to a friend. I know all these make it sound bad but…
But I see it as a movie or short tv series: you can finish it in a few nights and still enjoy the story. Graphics are great, music is very fitting, the story/plot makes you want to push forward and see what will happen.
What begins as a group of Knights investigating a rebel uprising suddenly turns into a Lycan battle, and as the game progresses you find out there’s vampires as well. This second faction has its strings in powerful companies, some of which have friends in very high places. You, as Gallahad, try to unravel the conspiracy that will even end up revealing even your Order has Lycan presence inside. At the end of the game, Gallahad has gone rogue, and has set his mind in stopping the Vampires in control of the most powerful trading company of the time; his former comrades are out to hunt him, and mysterious allies help you from the shadows.
I finished the game and ended up completely satisfied, even despite the fact that the game ends in a cliffhanger, likely setting up a new game which I have no idea if it’ll ever be released, considering how much people trashed the game on release.
Speaking of seeing it as a movie, it is also worth mentioning that the game is often on sale, lately. It’s gone for around $8 or $10 recently. I must say: this game isn’t precisely ideal for $60 – I don’t wanna sound unfair to the devs but the game truly suffers from the problems mentioned above, and the launch price point might have had a part in the sore reviews/impressions. For less than $20, however, it becomes better than going to the movies. If you see it for that price, you can be sure you’ll at least enjoy it. And it’s truly one of the best graphical showcases for your Playstation 4.
Oh, and a fun fact: all the screenshots in this article are taken using the game’s awesome Photo Mode. Uncharted 4 also has a similar mode, but 1886’s one is much better. Why? Because the camera is 100% free – Uncharted’s anchored to Drake. This gives a lot of freedom when it comes to creating awesome shots.