Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Order Review Impressions

"You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor."


           Looking back on my original post regarding The Order: 1886's length, my optimism seems to be sapped out of me, compounded by low review score after low review score.  Averaging only a lowly 65/100 on metacritic, with about 21 publications grading it at positive, 30 mixed and 5 negative, it seems like the killer must buy game for the PS4 will remain inFAMOUS: Second Son .  Hopefully Bloodborne right around the corner The Order: 1886 will be able to break this trend when it comes at the end of March.  Most critics as well as gamers (garnering a user score of 5.8) seem to be on fence about The Order: 1886.
           After reading and watching several different conflicting reviews, I found that The Order: 1886 does several things quite well.  The consensus is that the voice acting is top notch, certainly on par with games like Uncharted and inFAMOUS: Second Son .  

Graphically it is the new standard that will help define the new generation and push its limits ever forward.  It is atmospheric and filled with great characters and setting but ultimately failed to do anything special with any of it.  Its length, which had its own share of controversy is also a bit short, clocking in at only 8 hours on average.  Overall gameplay seems stifled and funneled in a narrow path; while polished, it leaves you as an observer, unable to change and affect the world in any way.  This is very counter-intuitive to the reason a lot of us play games to begin with, to change and interact and grow, not simply be a passive observer.  Some interesting weapons are also introduced, only to be used so few times that they are simply forgotten, like the grenade and bulletime options.  The most interesting enemies, Lycans are used so few times that it is quite disappointing showing you what could've been.  It brings back fond memories of Heavy Rain , with a little bit of God of War .  At least in Heavy Rain your choices mattered in the end, and God of War 's QTE's were a marvel to behold.  A game with a great story and action can only get so far, when that story goes nowhere and the gameplay does not satisfy.
             With so many upcoming games being in direct competition for everyone's hard earned dollars it becomes very hard to justify spending $60 on The Order: 1886.  The Witcher: Wild Hunt promises the same kind of beauty and story that made The Witcher 2 so beloved, with branching storylines and an inordinate amount of choices and variables that affect the entire story and character arcs.  Games like Dragon Age have already set a gold standard at the end of the year, with emergent gameplay being king.  Open world games like Dragon Age and Far Cry 4 , which are already at discounted prices give you much more bang for your buck.  I cannot tell you the amount of hours I spend in Dying Light simply killing zombies or making up my own challenges or doing ones already put in by the developer.  Creating your own story and having fun in a game's sandbox is some of the main reasons why we play games and in this regard The Order: 1886 seems to be a step back.  While linear storytelling works in some games, and some franchises refuse to move forward (I'm looking at you Call of Duty and Battlefield ), here it does not.  Other games, like Destiny do the opposite and have terrific gameplay with no story to speak of, but the gameplay is why we all started playing games back when the only thing you could do was move a paddle up and down.  The Order: 1886 also leaves a lot of loose ends even with its terrific plot, so as a stepping stool for a hopeful sequel it works, but as a stand-alone game it fails in too many departments.  With almost all other games in their portfolio averaging at least an 8.0 or more it is quite disappointing to get such an entry from Ready at Dawn.  Known previously as a PSP developer, with a couple ports and a WII title to their name, it seems that they did not transition to the current consoles gracefully.  I am hopeful for the eventual sequel but as it stands The Order: 1886 is only a purchase when it is in the bargain bin or bundled with its sequel several years from now.

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