The Order takes place over several months in 1886 in an alternate setting of Victorian era London where a modern form of the Knights of the Round Table keeps the peace. Since this game is so new, that’s all you’ll be getting out of me in terms of the story.
I picked up The Order on release day (February 20th), and played through the game in its entirety, in about eight hours. The previous week, I picked up Saints Row IV and Dying Light, but the receipt checker at my local Best Buy was shocked to see that I didn’t purchase Evolve. I told him that the reviews weren’t very good for it, which was true at the time. Several professional critics didn’t receive their Evolve review copies until after the game was already out, so it took a while for the bulk of the reviews to be posted. Once they were posted, the reviews were mostly positive; a solid B game. I still didn’t buy it though; it looks boring to me. Anyway, when I showed up to the receipt checker with The Order : 1886, I told him, “Yeah, this game reviewed horribly. It’s pretty much a 6 everywhere. However, it looks good to me, and it’s a PlayStation 4 exclusive, so I feel I have to support it.” I don’t know why I’m explaining my reasons for purchasing things to the receipt checker at my local Best Buy, but I did it. Anyway, enough of my ranting. I came straight home, finished and posted my Puppeteer review, inserted The Order into my PS4, installed, and jumped right in.
The Order’s graphics are stunning. The cutscenes and the gameplay are one and the same. The game features an 800p resolution at 30 frames per second. Its aspect ratio (2.40:01) features the typical “widescreen film” appearance, with horizontal black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. This allows for a much more cinematic feel to the game, almost as if you were playing a movie. This is an utterly gorgeous game that begs for screenshots and video captures.
The Order may be appear to be just another simple third-person cover shooter at heart, but there’s much more to it than that. Sometimes, it’s all in the details. The Order is full of sensory overload, especially when it comes to looking, listening, and feeling things. The game sets you free to explore these senses in a linear setting. You can listen to people’s conversations as you walk by, examine newspapers, photographs, phonograph cylinders or other objects (which are collectables in the game), or do many different actions with specific button prompts. To call The Order “just another third-person cover shooter” is false. What’s special about The Order (other than its fantastic story) is that it’s not just one type of game; it’s many types of games rolled into one. It doesn’t try to define itself by one genre or the other. It’s like the Forrest Gump of video games; there’s a little bit of everything for people to enjoy.
The Platinum trophy for The Order : 1886 can be earned with almost no effort at all. There are trophies for acquiring several different collectables, and the rest of the trophies will be earned just by playing through the game. There are no difficulty-based trophies, so that makes the Platinum even easier. The Order boasts one of the smallest trophy lists I’ve ever seen; a whopping 22 trophies.
The Order arrived with less-than-stellar reviews from professional critics. It basically received a 6 just about everywhere. Mediocre. Mundane. Too short. A five-hour movie. I’m here to tell you that those critics are wrong. I’m here to tell you that I loved every single minute of it, and almost everyone I’ve talked to that actually picked it up has loved it too. I follow the IGN Podcast Beyond! Facebook group, and I can’t tell you how great it was to see so many devoted PlayStation fans supporting The Order despite its poor reception. This game really changed my view on the whole concept of reviews and review scores. Normally, I go by what the critics say. If the game gets great reviews, it’s a must-buy. If the game gets poor reviews, I pass. If I’m paying $60 (well, $47.99 with Best Buy’s GCU) for a game, it has to be worth it. I bought The Order regardless of the reviews, because it looked really interesting to me, and I feel that it’s my duty as a PlayStation fan to support exclusive titles. I’m here to tell you to be your own critic. Play what you want to play. Play the games that you find intriguing, regardless of what someone else says. I can’t imagine how many games I’ve missed over the years simply because they were torn apart by critics. I allowed someone else to tell me why I should or shouldn’t play a game. The Order seems to have found fans striking back at the world of professional critics and telling them that they got this one wrong. Now, I’m not saying that the critics are always wrong. I think The Order just happens to be a special case. The Order didn’t deserve the scores it received. If anything, The Order deserves praise. Will the fans who loved it (like myself) be enough to make a difference? If may not have reviewed well, but I guarantee enough people thought it was good enough to warrant a purchase. I think it will end up selling quite well. Hopefully, enough for a sequel. If you’re into beautiful games, interesting characters, bold stories, plot twists, the Victorian era or alternate timelines of Victorian era, then do yourself a favor and give The Order a chance.