The Order: 1886 – When Visuals Trump Gameplay?

The Order: 1886 – When Visuals Trump Gameplay?

The Order: 1886 has people all aflutter, mainly due to its apparent visuals and not the gameplay. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in the slightest. That being said, there’s an increasing circle of people looking down on The Order: 1886 after seeing how generic the gameplay seems to be. This is also perfectly fine, as well as being a legitimate criticism of what has been shown so far.

Much like any other form of media, video games aren’t all trying to change the industry. Some are made purely as spectacle, a straight-up piece of entertainment. The Order: 1886 seems to look gorgeous; the visual quality appears to be the best we’ve ever seen on a console. As soon as the game boots up, the reaction on people’s faces is a result of the look of the game, not of the gameplay. The Order: 1886 isn’t trying to (or at least from what we know) break new ground in terms of gameplay, it’s just looking to entertain a cinematic matter, and that is perfectly understandable.


Not every video game–as well as books, film, TV, etc.–is trying to break new ground and offer something truly original. Video games on the whole are mostly about entertaining rather than innovating. A number of developers, be it big budget or indie, aim to innovate. On the flip side, plenty of developers set the goal of creating sheer entertainment and nothing more. Does a lack of original ideas in a game make it bad? Of course not.

While innovation spawns progression, there is still a place for games looking just to entertain or impress via spectacle. Given how visual video games are as an experience,1886′s reliance on impressive visuals is a viable prop for what looks to be a simple, generic, third-person shooter. The risks of relying on visuals to carry a video game can make or break it. The completed version has to be fully on-point, because even a small drop in visual quality during a stage will undoubtedly draw heavy criticisms. The main risk concerns the game’s ability to stand up and be counted a few years down the line. Great visuals are relevant; great gameplay is timeless.

Regardless of what side of the fence people are on, The Order: 1886 is generating discussion and attention. With the recent delay to 2015, it’ll be interesting to see if the game is what some expect it to be: a shallow, albeit pretty, video game. Or perhaps it’ll surprise the masses and spark off the start of a new franchise…


Sean Halliday

1 Comment

  1. […] few months back, I suggested that The Order 1886 would be a case of visuals over gameplay. I was never scathing towards the game, it was more of a case of curiosity. The Order 1886 is […]

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