Hands-On: The Order 1886 Preview

order blimp
This past weekend I had the opportunity to get my hands on a 30 minute demo of the biggest Playstation title of the season, The Order: 1886. From what I could tell, Galahad and co. have grappled down onto the scene, making their presence known while setting a new benchmark for what the Playstation 4 can do.

In a sense, The Order follows in the footsteps of another recent Playstation title, Heavy Rain, in the way it crafts an experience largely driven by the narrative, where cinematics and gameplay are seamlessly fused to enrich players’ sense of immersion. The Order differs from Heavy Rain, however, in that its gameplay is far more fleshed out, offering players much more to do and control than the “point and click-style” of Heavy Rain’s player-controlled sections.

Speaking of immersion, Ready at Dawn has without a doubt created the best looking game that currently exists on consoles. No detail is left untouched, it seems; passenger seats within an airship are composed of velvety textures; the glass of a clock reveals the surrounding reflections and will vary accordingly depending on your spot in the room; dynamic objects like pots and pans are reactionary in instances like a kitchen shootout, and will react entirely different from contact depending on where on the pot the bullet made contact and how much the pot weighs compared to others. Every ounce of the game is so well polished that any delay the game saw before release is fully justified.

sniper order

This is gameplay. No seriously.

The gameplay and shooting mechanics seem to have significantly improved since the first time I played around with a demo build at a fan event in August. While I couldn’t at the time put my finger on it, something about the shooting felt off, and it seemed to take way too many shots to even dent what seemed like the most basic level of enemies. This time around, shooting felt responsive and damage felt properly weighed; it seemed to take the appropriate amount of shots to take somebody down. The game also now includes a sort of bullet time feature similar to the slow motion shooting sequences from The Matrix and Red Dead Redemption that is greatly satisfying.

In what seems to be typical fashion for The Order demos, I was left with little context onto what the story will entail beyond just the sequence I was able to play. I can only hope this is a conscious choice by Ready at Dawn to not give too much of the story away, and not in actuality an indicator of its possible lack of direction. Though based on the quality of everything else we’ve seen, I’d have to imagine it’s the former rather than the latter, and the game’s story will be crafted with the same amount of detail put into every other element of the game’s design.

order lighting

The Order: 1886 is not only one of the most promising titles of 2015, it’s also coming to us far sooner than many others. Provided its day one version can avoid problems like Drive_Club and Assassin’s Creed had that came to define the fall of 2014 as a season of unfinished games, players can look forward to a stellar, definitive next gen experience in the coming weeks.

The mechanics, visual style, and seamless transition from cutscene to gameplay are leading up to make The Order: 1886 a game that no Playstation user should miss.

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