PS4; Ready at Dawn; £49.85; released on 20 February 2015

For a game to be cinematic it has to direct the player into scripted events and set pieces without them noticing. These need to flow and feel like part of the game, without taking the player out of the experience. Achieving this is a tall order, and one that The Order: 1886 tries very hard to make happen.

Set in a steampunk version of Victorian Britain, you play as a member of a secretive order of Knights, sworn to protect the realm from mysterious forces.

The game itself is a relatively standard linear three person cover shooter with a healthy dose of quick time events for good measure. You traverse through relatively simple combat, with a decent enough array of weapons moving toward the next cinematic or QTE. That is essentially it, the appeal of this game is not the varied gameplay but the cinematic and bombastic scenarios that you find yourself in.

 

Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, for a game to be convincingly cinematic and draw you in, the player has to be guided into the right spot at the right time without noticing they are being guided. The Order succeeds in doing this for the most part, although there were a few points where I was looking the other way during an important event. This can really take you out of the moment and makes you appreciate games that do this well, like the Uncharted series.

Visually, Ready at Dawn have done a great job here - the environment is one of the most detailed I’ve seen on a console game. As a linear game there isn’t a great deal of the world to explore, but what is there looks absolutely spectacular. Some of the character models look a bit clunky at points, but really that is just nitpicking as it really shows what the new gen consoles can do.

This is one of Sony’s big exclusives and hopes are high, as can be seen by the fan’s reactions to the complete playthrough that was leaked on YouTube, which had the game’s run time at around five hours. The story that the developers were trying to tell was told in a relatively short amount of time, but the decision has (thankfully) been made not to try and pad the game out to be longer a la Alien Isolation. It is undoubtedly a short game compared to many, but it doesn’t feel rushed.

It is always refreshing to get a new IP rather than a sequel or re-release, and The Order is a competent game with a few great moments. The story is actually quite entertaining, and is certainly more intriguing than it has any right to be within a big budget action-adventure game like this. While the gameplay can get a little repetitive, due to the amount of cut-scenes you’ll be watching, you probably won’t notice anyway.

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