An Early Look at The Order: 1886
With the success of Playstation 3 exclusives such as Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us, Sony is developing a market strategy focusing on the creation of exclusive new intellectual properties in direct opposition to Microsoft’s tendency to utilize multi-platform sequels, and Nintendo’s predilection for the reproduction of intellectual properties from close to thirty years ago. And, since the Playstation 4 will soon be dropping opposite the Xbox One (with the Wii U sitting in the corner eating paste), gamers are owlishly watching to see which console (if any) is the smarter buy.
We’ve seen Xbox One’s day one launch list include big name titles made up of sequels. Battlefield 4, Dead Rising 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Assassin’s Creed IV, most of which will be released for the Xbox 360 as well, making one wonder if there’s really such a rush to get the console on release. The Playstation 4’s launch title list is surprisingly similar. So that’s a bit of a dead end…
But I still want to act as if this article will have some relevance to the game console you choose to buy, so just assume I said something insightful and let me tell you about The Order: 1886 for Playstation 4 only.
Ready At Dawn has been toiling away firmly in the PSP’s pocket, taking this idea from concept to reality since 2005. It hit some snags in 2009 since there was no extant physics engine sufficiently malleable to complete what RAD developers were trying to achieve, so they built their own, and the Playstation 4 is supposedly the machine capable of running this bad boy.
I could wax grandiloquent about this having the most stunning in-game graphics since the last game to be described that way, or I could tell you about what the developer has said, but that sort of fluff is just designed to fill pages and account for word space. Since I’m obligated to do neither, I’ll just tell you what’s known about the game without pulling a Molyneux and acting as if this is the Second Coming.
What we’re looking at is a 3rd person cover-based shooter with a simulated camera lens for a cinematic feel and some extremely advanced environmental soft-physics. Rather than structures around you being rigid, they are designed to give and flex, just as cloth, leather, wood, and even metal will under sufficient force. Meticulous detail has been presented in your surroundings for the appropriate ambiance of a game heavily reliant on its story.
This is an alternate history game. Sometime around the 8th century, the human race split into two separate and distinct sub-species. Humans as we know them remained unchanged, but what were quickly deemed half-breeds took on some of the more bestial qualities of animals. Faster, bigger, stronger, with sharper senses and quicker reflexes, the half-breeds are the basis for mythical monsters and creatures from fairy tales. A war was inevitable. And despite their relatively small numbers, the half-breeds had the initial advantage.
That’s when King Arthur appeared. He and his Round Table of knights banded together to face the half-breed threat and go on the offensive. Arthur quickly realized he was outclassed, until he discovered a substance known as the black water. When imbibed, the black water gave unnaturally long life and even had restorative properties. Armed with this resource, Arthur and his knights, known thereafter simply as The Order, battled the half-breeds through the ages. When one knight fell, an apprentice groomed for years took his place and his name (need I point out the idiocy of limiting the numbers of a fighting force for the sake of tradition and a cool story when the half-breeds could be overwhelmed in a few years of steady recruitment?). And you just know the secret of the black water is going to be the twist in the story here.