An Early Look at The Order: 1886
The tides of battle turned with the coming of Great Britain’s industrial revolution. In this world, many anachronistic technologies people the setting of Victorian London. You’ll see mechanical lifts, wireless communicators, lightning guns, semi-automatic and fully-automatic firearms, and that old steampunk standby: Airships.
So armed, The Order has succeeded in all but destroying the half-breeds, which if you’re familiar with how a story goes makes them that much more dangerous since it requires them to evolve in order to survive, presenting an all new threat entirely. A new danger presents itself: civil unrest, in a clear commentary on modern society. The inequality of classes, people working themselves to death and still watching their children starve at home, has led to an uprising against the ruling nobility and knights. And since The Order is made up of such privileged members of society, why am I not surprised they are on the side of the 1%?
You play in a squad of four as Grayson, who inherited the name Galahad from the original knight himself. He has several centuries of combat experience under his belt, and presents as a lethal yet subdued, somber force. I could point out how clichéd the concept of a brooding hero is, but I’ll instead make fun of the fact that he was made so in order to be an unspeaking tabula rasa so the player can imprint on the character. Because a hero who never talks is a truly original concept. /sarcasm.
With you is Isabeau D’Argyll, who took the place of Lady Igraine sometime in her twenties and is now much older despite her youthful appearance. As one of the younger knights to be inducted into The Order, she’s eager to show her worth, and has an especial fondness for Grayson, though “fraternization” is strictly forbidden, preventing their simmering tension from blossoming into something more fruitful (and like more entertaining).
There’s also the Marquis de Lafayette. Yes. That Marquis. The one from your half-remembered American history class that aided the Continental Army during the American Revolution and then returned home to take part in the French Revolution, primarily because he was an utterly insane adventurer. Not much has changed in his appearance in The Order: 1886. As an apprentice only a hundred years old he’s not yet earned a knight’s spurs; he fulfills the role of the practical joker, the headstrong and very likely suicidal clown who throws himself into harm’s way and, if the tropes are followed, ends up getting other people hurt.
Rounding out your squad as the hoary old campaigner is Sebastian Malory, fictional descendant of Sir Thomas Malory, who wrote the landmark Arthurian text Le Morte d’Arthur. So we can expect him to a know a few dark secret about The Order’s past while fulfilling the father role as Sir Percival. And for anyone who knows the story of Sir Percival and The Green Knight, you will expect him to be forthright, righteous, and dedicated to his task at all times. He also killed the last guy who called him Percy.
So we’ve got a squad of four experienced soldiers in an anachronistic 19th century London who’ve been alive for centuries and watched as their loved ones grew old and died. What are we missing?
Initial demos show off the Arc Gun and Thermite Rifle, in addition to your standard frag grenades and combo rifle which fires normal ammunition as well as a non-lethal burst of force. The Arc Gun fires a burst of lightning which can be directed toward targets well after deployment, and has the feel and look of an experimental weapon to the degree that you half expect it to blow up in your hands while it’s charging. The Thermite Rifle is a crowd control weapon which fires iron oxide pellets that explode into a small cloud on impact, causing enemies to choke. That is just a side effect, as your secondary attack fires a flare which ignites the cloud and rains molten metal death on your enemies. Seriously. The metal, once ignited, is actually pulled down by gravity, such is the all-encompassing nature of the physics engine.
And then we have quicktime events, which may sometimes be necessary for a story but are dull by now. That’s why RAD has tried to spruce things up by allowing your character multiple avenues by which to proceed. He can cast about his environment for improvised weapons, as well as focus his attacks on specific parts of the enemy’s body. Provided the same options are not presented every time a quicktime event ensues, the concept is intriguing and may have merit to become a new industry standard.
What we have here is a title focusing on quality. And while a solid release date has not yet been set, provided developers don’t rush things The Order: 1886 is an up-and-comer worth watching.