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March 11 2015
The Order: 1886 - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
20/2/2015SonySonyReady At Dawn1None
Version HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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The Order: 1886 is the latest PS4 exclusive.
Ready at Dawn are a developer with a great track record having worked on the phenomenal Daxter and God of War titles on PlayStation Portable, with the latter being ported to PlayStation 3 in 2011. Since then the company has been very quiet, but at E3 2013 their next title was unveiled as The Order: 1886 - a PS4 exclusive title which is what we're reviewing right here...

It is the dawn of a new age - an age of scientific marvels in 19th century London. Underneath the dense fog, in the shadows of the Industrial Revolution, conflict rages against enemies old and new. Rebels battle against The Order, an elite band of Knights, and the police state they represent, while mankind’s true enemies - a powerful and ancient foe known as the half-breeds - grow in strength and numbers in and around the city. Join a centuries-old war against a powerful threat that will determine the course of history forever.

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Using the Thermite Gun in The Order: 1886.
Set in an alternate London which has a Steampunk styled atmosphere this is an action game which sees you as a member of The Order exploring some strange happenings - including an increasing number of attacks from Lycans. Indeed trailers we saw of this game seemed to indicate a large number of battles with half-breeds, but this isn't the case as they are actually few and far between in the game. No, most enemies are humans. What does impress is the range of locations seen in the game from the Palace of Westminster, to Whitechapel and the London Underground and sewers.

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Visuals in this game are absolutely stunning.
Sadly there is probably more bad then good in this game - although there's nothing game breaking it's just a lot of small niggles that add up to make you just wonder why the developers didn't polish this off. Over the complete runtime we spent more time looking at cut-scenes then actually playing the game. When you do get to play the game the third person action is pretty intense with a battles over a bridge and on a zeppelin both being a highlight of the game.

The range of weapons too is a credit to the game with typical pistols, machine guns, and shotguns, but also some unique items including an Arc gun that shoots out lightning, and a thermite rifle which can shoot out an explosive which can be ignited.

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The streets of London look amazing.
Having said that even during the gameplay there are some issues. The cover system generally works well, but then you encounter some items that you simply can't take cover behind despite their obvious use. What also annoyed was the amount of times when you would be exploring an area and then lose control for a few moments for a cut-scene, but at least there's a purpose for that. What's worse is when you're exploring and moving on but can't run or use weapons - you can only move at a slow walk. Argh!. Finally in the latter part of the game there’s a stealth type mission which seems kind of cool, until you realise that everything is so dark that you can't see the enemies well at all and when they walk around, if they flick their flashlight in your direction, well, restart the mission. It's just poorly implemented and rather frustrating.

The game does includes audio logs littered around the levels (why do people like to record details and leave them lying around may I ask?), but then Ready at Dawn bring you back 15 years and force you to go to the menu to listen to them. That's right, you can't listen to these story expanding recordings as you continue walking around. Sigh.

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Character models in The Order are stunning.
Certainly the biggest crime this game commits is the game length. We completed the game in under 7 hours, which is pretty short and is compounded by the amount of cut-scenes dropping the actual gameplay by a good hour or two. When you also consider there is no multiplayer and disappointingly no bonus content or extras upon completion one has to question if this really should have been a full priced game. We would suggest not.

It's fair to say that the visuals in The Order: 1886 are absolutely exquisite. From the moment the game starts you will witness some stunning character models, stunningly recreated London vistas and buildings and detail right down to the building interiors and streets. The game runs at a rock-steady 30fps which is quite the achievement given the amount of fog, smoke, and lighting throughout the levels. Transitions from gameplay to cut-scenes (or should that be cut-scenes to occasional gameplay) are virtually seamless so kudos to Ready at Dawn for their engine and visual prowess in this title.

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Looking over the London skyline.
Framing the game at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio certainly gives the game a "cinematic" film look which we enjoyed for the most part, however some people may find narrow image somewhat "claustrophobic" and given the vast power of the PS4 and why the frame couldn't have been opened up even during gameplay sequences to fill the screen is somewhat questionable.

As with the graphics another area where this game excels is the audio with superb voice acting being a highlight of the game - and there is a lot of it too! Not only is the voice work impressive, but the scripting is also up to the task with very few poorly scripted moments while the sound effects in the game are equal to the task be it the blast from a shotgun, or the mechanical sound of a machine gun, or the electrical cracking of a TS-21 Arc Gun. Music rounds out the package nicely with some atmospheric compositions.

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Lighting in The Order: 1886 is stunning.
As a technical showcase The Order: 1886 is a game that shows off the PlayStation 4's power to its limits, however when it comes to the actual gameplay, and certainly game length and lack of multiplayer, the value really has to be questioned. For most people we would recommend holding off purchasing until the game drops in price as it's hard to justify spending $100 on a 7 hour game with no bonuses for replaying the campaign. Ultimately, solid but disappointing.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSWithout a doubt this game has some of the best visuals ever seen, despite the darkness.
SOUNDAs expected the voice acting is superb, and the music and effects impress too.
GAMEPLAYWhile the are QTE's, there are some fun shooting sections, although it's more like an interactive movie.
VALUEA full priced game completed in under 7 hours, no multiplayer, no reason to play through again.
OVERALLJaw-droppingly gorgeous, with a decent storyline, this game falters due to the game length and lack of replayability. It's definately worth a playthrough, however not at full retail price.

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