The Order: 1886
The Order 1886 Preview - Steam Powered
Written Tuesday, February 18, 2014 By John Robertson

Surprising and exciting the world with a third-person shooter is not as easy as it used to be. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era kept us very well fed, stuffed even, with a genre that boasts such quality examples as Gears of War, Vanquish, Uncharted and Dead Space. Given these lofty benchmarks, today's expected level of quality is high for any game bearing the slightest resemblance to a third-person shooter.

Developer Ready At Dawn is well aware of this, of course. Rather than simply trying to make The Order 1886's gunplay better than that of its peers or its characters' all-important movement more deliberate and 'weighty', the California-based studio is approaching every element through the eyes of a 'cinematic experience'. From the visuals to the story, and from cut-scenes to characters, there's a sharp focus on having everything attain a filmic presence.

Events themselves take place in an alternate version of London circa-1886, a time and place the design team have crafted in a way so as to be as photogenic as possible. Buildings are rugged and provocatively decayed, creating a strong sense of a London that is primarily a city of the have-nots. Dotted around its skies are eccentric airships that hint at the wealth of a few, while on the ground are steam-era inspired carriages and people decked out in hip-but-still-kinda-Victorian dress.

The city is home to a human population that is struggling in a war against mutants - humanity having split into two separate genetic pools some time well before the game's events. In this war it's 'The Order', a special forces group tasked with protecting humanity against the power of the mutants, that represent's the frontline in the battle against mutants. However, not all of humanity is taken with this particular special force and a rebellion is in full swing thanks to what the underclass of London sees as The Order's desire to protect only the rich.

Everything, from cut-scenes to gameplay, is depicted through a cinema-style camera that makes heavy and prolonged use of different focus lengths, blurred pans and incredibly high-contrast lighting. Clearly, there has been a concerted effort to move away from the crisp-and-sharp look of most games and towards something that could be described as exaggerated realism.

We're only shown a demo that lasts around 20 minutes, but that's long enough to grasp the grittier tone that Ready At Dawn is trying to achieve. This is a world underpinned by painful conflict and the visuals are designed to portray that.

Cut-scenes have a degree of interactivity to them and we're shown two examples to highlight that approach. One involves protagonist Galahad looking over the grey-brown streets of London in an attempt to locate worthwhile houses to search for anyone with knowledge of where the leaders of the rebellion might be hiding. In his hand is a minocular (read: mini-telescope) which you get to control whenever he lifts it to his face. You can use this to take in the cityscape as you see fit, but eventually you have to focus on the 'right' places to trigger the scene to conclude and the game to continue.

This is not an open-world game in any sense. The idea is to provide a structured and linear experience, albeit one in which you're given room to interact during moments that would otherwise be entirely passive.

The second example of an 'interactive cut-scene' takes the form of a QTE whereby Galahad fights it out with a member of the rebellion. Here you're asked to press a given button at a given time to have Galahad block, attack and dodge. There are times when you can pick between two input options, each one taking you down a path that has the scene play out in a different way.

However, again, this is a linear story, and the path you take doesn't impact the overall direction of the narrative.

Gunplay is more standard fare, with moving between different points of cover to engage different enemies being the order of the day. Our battle takes place on the ground floor of a destroyed building, inside a long corridor punctuated by low walls that act as protection from enemy fire originating from the far end.

These human enemies take only a few successful hits to kill, although it has been hinted at that mutants are much more capable of absorbing damage. Galahad has a trio of weapons available to him at this point in the game, each with their own range and special abilities.

A Combo Gun fills the position of 'standard equipment', effective at medium range and also packing a concussive blast that temporarily stuns nearby enemies. The Arc Gun is a sniper rifle of sorts, only this one fires a beam of electrical energy and is very much of futuristic design. Additionally, the Thermite Rifle harms enemies across a wide area by launching a cloud of what is essentially napalm.

The weapons, perhaps more than anything else, embody The Order 1886's desire to instil an otherworldly-ness within its version of London - the onset of the industrial age resulting in the weird and the powerful becoming a normal part of everyday life. For those that can afford it, at least.

It will surely be the variety of both weapons and opponents that ultimately decides how worthwhile and engaging The Order 1886's combat is. The sole combat scene we're shown lasts for only a few minutes before the next cut-scene kicks in, so it will be interesting to see - in a game that is eager to promote its 'cinematic' qualities - just how much freedom and time you're given to explore this side of the experience.

As a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Sony is surely hoping that The Order 1886 becomes another jewel in its publishing crown. It's impossible to say, from such a short demo, to just what degree Ready At Dawn is on target to attain such status.

What is possible to say is that the idea and visual quality of The Order 1886 means it certainly has the potential to achieve such a thing. It will all depend on just how good the gunplay and interactions are though. A cinematic experience can be a grand and great thing, but such games tend to live and die by how well they manage to combine narrative intent with gameplay.

The Order 1886 is slated for release sometime in 2014.


User Comments
Forum Posts: 383
Comment #1 by Alfster
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:16:48 PM
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Damn I thought the game was a RPG. It's a 3rd person shooter even better. Crossing my fingers that it's just a single player game.

Forum Posts: 842
Comment #2 by InjusticeReborn
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:19:55 PM
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Was never a fan of Gears of War. I don't know if it was it's world, the way it played, or what.

I hope it was the world that was the problem, because this looks like it plays almost identical to GoW. :(

Looks absolutely stunning though.

Forum Posts: 1323
Comment #3 by LaochEire
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:23:23 PM
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@1 It was confirmed to have no multiplayer already by the developers.

Forum Posts: 1247
Comment #4 by johnnyhotrocks
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:24:00 PM
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probably alone here but forget your titan fall................this is the game that looks more interesting.
Sony need to drum up more hype for this :)

Forum Posts: 1003
Comment #5 by Gho-Zti
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:32:08 PM
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@2: These are my exact concerns with this game. Though I actually like the steampunk approach a lot, so I guess it's worth checking out for the setting alone.

Forum Posts: 65
Comment #6 by IREZUKI
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:34:23 PM
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looking good exciting year for gaming

Forum Posts: 346
Comment #7 by xD Rick
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:38:34 PM
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Yeah, they sold me a copy by confirming it will have no damn multiplayer.

Forum Posts: 727
Comment #8 by I Bleed Green
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 01:43:38 PM
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I love 3rd person shooters. Definite day 1 buy.

Forum Posts: 757
Comment #9 by SolidWolf
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 02:05:17 PM
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#1 It's single player only.

Looks like a great exclusive to have.

Forum Posts: 774
Comment #10 by Fragpuss
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 02:19:03 PM
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even if i only preorder one game this year, it will be this

Forum Posts: 380
Comment #11 by switchfreak83
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 04:19:02 PM
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@2: My issue with GoW was the hyper-masculine, well, everything in that game. Big beefy guys, yelling, chainsawing, in a world that was a decorative and colorful as mud. So boring to me... BUT the gameplay was tight. (Horde mode in GoW2 was loads of fun.) I think this game can finally give me a 3rd Person cover-based game I can get behind. I can't wait!!

Forum Posts: 50
Comment #12 by Dangisckatgamin
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 04:42:45 PM
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SP and 6 hours long most likely... COOP would have made it at least more thrilling for me. Passing till it drops in price, not paying $60 anymore for short SP.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #13 by MercWithAMouth
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 04:43:07 PM
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Love that it looks so good and is SP only, I hope that other than the 3rd person it takes after Gears in no other way since it was a terribly short and linear game.

Forum Posts: 106
Comment #14 by XVinny84X
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 05:23:25 PM
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I actually got put off by reading this. I don't mind linear story all the great games (except RPG)have them and it works in their favor. I don't like addition of QTE though idea of multiple paths when those occur sounds at least interesting. It's like you said, if they can find nice balance between story and gun play this should be a winner as it seems everything else is in place. Still pretty excited for it=D

Forum Posts: 2195
Comment #15 by theDane21
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 05:34:43 PM
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It looks promising, but time will tell. I just hope there is some sort of upgrade system (like in DeadSpace), I love uncharted - but to me that is what it was missing (same guns in the beginning and the end). There is just a big difference between an avg 3rd person and a great 3rd person shooter, but time will tell.

Forum Posts: 33
Comment #16 by AirborneRichard
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 07:56:12 PM
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Agree with the guy that Gears Of War was fun when, and i say when! being played with a group of friends in either MP or as the co-op stuff or horde mode. This game (1886) catched my eye when they released a short trailer at the E3 last year, kinda leaving it to our imagination what gameplay would be like, would i be an RPG or more a shooter kinda game? Well now we know, but still very intrested in this game, if they add co-op or even up to 4Player co-op its even more a direct buy. That brings me to a point that i read alot that gamers these days are not into co-op or 4 player co-op games that much, why is a bit of a mystery to my, i def Always enjoy them, well put that indeed its annoying if someone Always runs ahead trying to kill everything ahead of you and the rest, and then ofcourse dies alot in the effort. These kinda games need a set of good friends to play with agreed. But i,m sure if they add co-op there is aswell a solo mode where you can tackle the game on your own pace with the rest of the team controled by AI. How good the AI will be then on your team depends how good the game will do no doubt!

Forum Posts: 71
Comment #17 by DragonFire7007
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 @ 08:08:42 PM
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The only game I'm anticipating more than this one is The Witcher 3. This game is one of the main reasons I bought my PS4. While I'm thrilled they aren't doing a forced MP mode, I do hope it gets co-op eventually as it sounds like this would be perfect for it and me and my friend to play like we did Gears of War. We played Gears in co-op all the time.

Forum Posts: 757
Comment #18 by SolidWolf
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 @ 10:07:00 PM
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#16 No, it's single player only.

Forum Posts: 33
Comment #19 by AirborneRichard
Thursday, February 20, 2014 @ 08:10:29 PM
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@18 If so lets all hope the team AI is up for the task, nothing more annoying when all the sudden one of your AI team member or the whole team start to run straight into enemy fire and dropping down like flies. And you gotta redo a whole section again just to find out...yep! They doing it again lol!

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #20 by fuzziezra
Saturday, February 22, 2014 @ 09:05:33 PM
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They say it's only sp. hopefully it stays that way.

Forum Posts: 298
Comment #21 by Sidar80
Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 09:18:46 AM
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I can't wait to get my hands on this game the Thermite Rifle sounds like it's going to be awesome.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #22 by snowblind3855
Sunday, March 02, 2014 @ 02:50:01 PM
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it will come to ps3??

Forum Posts: 33
Comment #23 by AirborneRichard
Sunday, March 02, 2014 @ 07:39:33 PM
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@22 I,m not 100% sure but like 95% its not coming to PS3, makes sence as it has been designed from the start to be a next gen title for PS4 only. If you missing out you may ask? Well can,t tell for sure, i would say wait for a few reviews, as some games create a huge hype (Like THIEF) and then turn out its not all that great. Hoewever i got higher hopes for this game, even the gameplay predicts a well known concept, using cover, shoot, go to next cover, shoot again ect. But i don,t mind if the story is cool, and thats something i think seems more then okay. Time will tell :)

Forum Posts: 0
Friday, March 07, 2014 @ 11:21:42 AM
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That looks freaking amazing

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #25 by jarzag
Friday, March 21, 2014 @ 09:47:23 PM
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3rd person shooter no thanks

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Game Info
Ready at Dawn


US February 20, 2015
Europe February 20, 2015

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