Unpopular Opinion is a new original feature from The Games Cabin. Every week we’ll discuss a debated topic and try to brainwash you into thinking the same way that we do. Failing that, you’ll have something mildly interesting to read. Enjoy!
Earlier this year, Ready at Dawn released its first next-gen game, The Order: 1886. In the run up to the game’s release you probably read just about every hyperbolic headline that you can imagine. Games press and fans hyped the game up to unimaginable levels, scraping every tiny bit of info that could be scraped to create a nauseating headline.
Then it released and the gaming public let out a collective “what the f**k…” when they discovered the game was somewhat short and that the gameplay was a little bit samey. The developers stated that they’d gone for the cinematic experience, but not everyone cared for the creativity of the developers. I did, but I fear I’m just one of the minority.
I played the game extensively over the course of one lazy Sunday afternoon and was a bit bewildered when the credits rolled at the end, but I wasn’t displeased. No. I was hungry. Hungry for more of this world that Ready at Dawn had created. A world that sucked me out of my modern 21st century house and dumped me into a gritty Victorian-era London.
It was noted upon release that the gameplay mechanics weren’t up to scratch and that they were just a rehash of what we’ve seen already. The game was called “eye candy” due to its brilliantly realised visuals. I’m not completely disagreeing with anyone here, but I’ve recently stepped back in time with The Order: 1886, as I’d forgotten most of the story details when I was talking a friend into getting the game on the cheap.
Upon a second playthrough, it’s easier to appreciate where the developers were in their mindset and what the goals for the game were. During my first run with The Order: 1886, I sat idle quite often as I didn’t realise the game had made the transition from cutscene to gameplay. It did hurt the experience somewhat as I cursed the developers for not making it clearer, but in hindsight, shouldn’t I have been paying more attention rather than dunking my Rich Tea biscuits into my Earl Grey tea? Probably.
Despite the game being a technical marvel, I didn’t really care much for how it looked. For me at least, gameplay and story are above all when it comes to linear action games. The story was panned by a fair few critics, but I vividly remember turning to my other half during a cut scene (which I’d paused) and we began airing our theories as to where the story was going. We sat and pondered for a few minutes, going back and forth between the main cast of characters before heading back into the game. I always find that the games that manage to get me to pause and bring myself back to the present moment so that I can question a characters motives, the potential foreshadowing of events that have yet to unfold, or anything else like that, tend to be the most satisfying.
With The Order: 1886, the Mrs and I spent just as much time talking about the game as we did playing it, even after the credits rolled. It got us wondering where the sequel would take us, whether we’d see a new locale and what would become of The Order. Obviously the first question I asked out loud was whether the game would be called The Order: 1887. I’m a simple fella…
As for the gameplay… yeah, it was a bit boring, and it was a bit repetitive, but I don’t think it was any worse than some of the critically acclaimed games it takes cues from. Gears of War and Uncharted instantly spring to mind, but comparing them with The Order is to compare cheap lager to a premium ale. Each are fine drinks and they have an audience, but some may be looking for a quick fix before a night out as opposed to a refreshing beverage to sip and enjoy over the course of an evening. Of course, I’m not that pompous; give me a bottle of whiskey and we’ll be mates for life.
The Order: 1886 will go down as one of this generation’s biggest flops, but for me it’ll be a game I revisit every now and again to cleanse my palate between the formulaic open-world games that plague the shop shelves. Here’s hoping the sequel comes before I’ve kicked the bucket.