Alright, let’s do this.
I know. I know there’s tons of pieces out there telling you “The Order: 1886” is a terrible game. And I know there is an equal number of pieces out there telling you the exact opposite.
As for me, I will say this: It is neither perfect, nor absolutely terrible.
In games that are single-player only, and where a story is hyped to be new and intriguing, there is always a separation between the two largest aspects of what make that game up – gameplay and story.
For “The Order,” I have to say that the game itself is well done. It’s fluid, it’s easy to pick up and play, and the entire thing top to bottom is beautiful.
You travel through multiple different locations, although all of them could use a dash of color now and again, but that’s England in the 1800s for you. The voice acting is top notch and the immersion is thick.
The gunplay is well-done to the point where you find yourself getting hyped as you wade through rooms of enemies, but cower behind cover when their firepower matches your own.
Not only this, but the game is difficult without being overly so. If you die, you don’t feel like you’ll never beat a level because you’re so excited when playing it that you want to get right back into the fray. It makes you want to play more. That’s a rare feat to come by in a game these days. Especially in a shooter.
I enjoyed playing this game because it was well-made and fun. Bottom line: “The Order: 1886” is fun to play and definitely worth picking up if you have the cash to spare.
However, the story direction is crap. Now, I’m not saying the story is crap. It is, in fact, quite good and actually more like an HBO show than a video game in a lot of respects. I was pulled in and wanted to see where it was going.
But it is horribly unabashed sequel-bait.
Sit back as I’m about to learn you all something about a literary mechanic called “en medias res.”
In Latin, “en medias res” translates to “into the middle of things.” Television shows use this all the time, and some very successful games have done so as well. For example, “Supernatural” on the CW loooooves this technique, and they’ve beat it to death thoroughly in the show.
To counter that, “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” uses the mechanic well to draw you in by showing Nathan Drake at his new lowest point, but then bringing you back to it after showing how he got there, and continuing on to show his rise above it.
“The Order” starts en medias res. Okay, so why is that bad? It’s bad because the end of the game is one mission after you catch up to this point after you’ve done the flashback. I mean, seriously. You go all the way back, learn the story and everything, get back to where you started, do one mission, and are left on a cliffhanger ending.
Why is this bad? Because you didn’t go anywhere. You literally, went in a circle, back to where you started, and are then left with a taste as to what the obvious next game will be about. And it took you the better part of 5-7 hours.
Games that do that frustrate me. Why? Because I feel like I’ve wasted my time on a story that didn’t progress. There’s a reason when shows and other games do this: they reach the en medias res point in the middle of the game. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT’S CALLED. THE MIDDLE OF THINGS.
Okay, now I’ve gotten that off my chest and we can expand on this beyond the game.
I like short games. Short games are fun. “The Walking Dead: Seasons 1 and 2,” “The Wolf Among Us,” “Dishonored,” “Child of Light,” all very fun games worth your money. One of those things is not like the others, though. Can you guess why? “Dishonored” cost $60 when it came out, and as a total “Child of Light,” two seasons of “The Walking Dead,” and “The Wolf Among Us” cost $90.
For $30 more I can get four critically-acclaimed games, instead of just one. You put “The Order” in there with “Dishonored” and you’ve spent $30 more for two games instead of four. You see the problem now?
Games cost money to make. I totally understand that. I also understand that on these new systems they are much more expensive to make. Also not a problem.
But if you’re going to make me pay $12 an hour for your game, you’ve shafted me. That’s what I felt like “The Order” did. Especially since in one playthrough I got most of the Trophies, and there’s no multiplayer. So, what? I play it one more time, get all the trophies and never play it again?
That is why this is a problem. Because a $25 game like “The Wolf Among Us” can almost have the same, if not longer, play time, cost less and give me a better experience. We forget, that this is a commercial business. And when your product is not worth the asking price you lose money. And you go out of business.
You want to make a game that’s $60? Fine! Go right ahead, and don’t let anyone stop you. But you better make sure that if you were a consumer, you would feel that this was worth $60. Same goes for lower-priced games. Make it worth the player’s time.
Get the most for your money, and don’t blindly buy things because they’re new or you feel like you don’t have a lot of games for your systems. Be patient. Wait it out. Buy it when it’s cheaper.