Replaying The Order 1886 – Missed Opportunities

Replaying The Order 1886 – Missed Opportunities

I paid full price for The Order 1886 at launch, I didn’t feel robbed. While a vast amount of the internet claimed it as trash, I found enjoyment. The modern culture of ‘anything under a 9/10 = bad game’ as in full affect on the games initial release. Was The Order 1886 great? No, of course not, but not was it bad.

After watching both seasons of the TV series Penny Dreadful, I felt compelled to replay The Order 1886 in full. Excitement started to form, oddly in greater volumes than my initial play through. After all the rough reviews and arguments over the game, would my outlook change after another play through?

It’s impossible to deny that The Order 1886 looks fantastic. The world drips in detail, reflecting the desired look. Small touches like clothing and hair reacting realistic to movement add extra layers of shine. One element that still strikes a chord with me is the lack of reflections. For environments crafted with such finesse, glass that holds no reflection was, still is, jarring.

The Initial first few hours of the game act as a tour. The visuals flex their muscles, impressing the player. Sights and sounds assault the senses, pushing the player towards investing in the world. Those initial few hours do a great job of setting up the world…but things soon go flat.

Most of the game descends into isolated enclosed areas, covered in chest high cover. The sprawling London street is forgotten. My second play through found myself at odds with the drastic change. All that beauty, life and detail drowns among the wealth of dark tunnel and corridors. It feels much more like a wasted opportunity the second time around.

The concept of wasted potential is the most potent feeling through The Order 1886. Encountering the game’s first Werewolf produces some fantastic sequences and experiences. Stella animation and monster design gives the creature a true sense of menace. The encounter is builds up, tension sets in, it’s fantastic. Unfortunately, these encounters are few and far between.

Awaiting the next monster encounter is partly what motivated me during my first play through. My second play through is marred by knowing encounters are lacking. For a game that’s plot focus so strongly on monsters, The Order 1886 mostly features nameless human enemies. The second time around, the lack of monsters and enemy types is painfully evident. Yet another example of wasted potential.

By the times the credits start rolling, I still find myself enjoying the experience. The Order 1886 is a decent game, with flashes of potential. Cookie cutter third person gameplay restricts the game from every expanding passed average. Jump into cover, pop and shoot, repeat. By the time The Order 1886 released, this gameplay style had been done plenty of times in better forms. Monster encounters hint towards a better game trying to get out. With very few monsters in actual game, their presence is sorely missed.

Ready at Dawn created a fairly strong foundation for good things. Even after a second play through, The Order 1886 is enjoyable, but frustrating. It’s core plot feels like the epilogue to a much bigger tale. Various creatures of the night are suggested and mentioned, with only a few ever appearing. The whole game is a missed opportunity, but an enjoyable one. Here’s to hoping that a sequel makes use of fantastical elements of the game.

 

Sean Halliday


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