Hands-On Preview: The Order: 1886 – Advanced Victorian Warfare

on June 12, 2014 3:51 PM

While a number of Sony’s biggest franchises have already landed or are on their way to the PS4, such as inFAMOUS and Uncharted, Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica have something special planned with their newest creation heading to the PS4, The Order: 1886.

Set against the backdrop of a centuries-long struggle with half-man, half-animal-like creatures, The Order: 1886 takes the setting of the Napoleonic era and adds in several doses of speculative science-fiction fantasy to make for a game that plays similarly to the numerous third-person shooters that have released in the last few years, but adds in a setting and (most-of-all) atmosphere that could make it unlike anything else of its kind.

Following a demo of the game shown on the floor of E3 2014, DualShockers was on hand to play through the latest demo of the upcoming PS4 exclusive, and even from just the brief 10-15 minute run through of a level, it already shows some great promise, even with fairly familiar gameplay.

The Order: 1886 demo placed players in the role of protagonist Grayson (aka Sir Galahad), a member of the game’s group of knights pledged to fight against their lycan enemies. Setting Galahad and the knights against a rebellious ambush while hunkered down in the streets of 19th-century London, the demo provided a good look into the cover-based mechanics that will certainly be familiar to fans of Uncharted or Gears of War.

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Moving from cover to cover as enemies were embedded in a building across the street, Galahad is equipped with a pistol (for more accurate, single shots) and the destructive thermite rifle – using the R2 trigger fired off a stream of rounds that were certainly effective close range, but was not necessarily an effective long-range weapon. More importantly, the R1 trigger provided a thermite blast that could explode when shot, making easy work of an enemy entrenchment or large group.

Gameplay-wise, The Order plays much like a standard third-person shooter, albeit with a few minor nagging issues like some awkward transitions between moving to and from cover easily. However, The Order’s focus on providing a cinematic look is evident from nearly every corner of the game: graphically the game looks stunning and shows off the potential of the PS4 in amazing fashion. Blasts from the thermite rifle explode with fiery detail, and depth of field and focus effects from transitioning to idle and shooting stances looks incredible, even from just such a minor effect in the game.

In blending a cover shooter with the quality of a moody, atmospheric film, The Order is set to benefit with a fantastic presentation, as in the demo alone I had a difficult time discerning what was in-game versus what was a “cut-scene.” In one scene with Galahad and another knight dragging one of their injured party members from the streets to avoid danger, the game seamlessly flew between elaborate cutscenes into the in-game action of Galahad drawing his pistol to eliminate enemy forces.

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With the game drawing much inspiration from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and taking a unique fictional approach to historical events, The Order: 1886 drew me in with beautiful visuals and a world I wanted to know more about, and certainly the 10-15 minute demo presented at E3 left me wanting more. Its cover shooting and third-person action, while by no means revolutionary (so far), still showed glimpses of a world that is waiting to be seen. Underneath the lycan threat and fear around every corner, The Order: 1886 promises many secrets and dangers to be revealed, and until its release early next year, I’ll be eagerly awaiting to uncover more.

The Order: 1886 releases on February 20th, 2015 for PS4.

 /  Features Editor
Ryan is the Features Editor at DualShockers, with over five years' experience in the world of video games culture and writing. He holds a BA in English & Cinema from Binghamton University, and lives in New York City.
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