The Order: 1886 is a 2015 third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 4 on February 20, 2015. Set in an 1886 alternate history steampunk London, the game follows the legendary Knights of the Round Table as they battle to keep the world safe from half-breeds, such as werewolves and vampires, as well as fringe organizations rebelling against the government.
The Order: 1886 received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was directed at the game's production value, graphics, and technical achievements, while criticism was given for the game's short length, story, gameplay, replay value, and limited involvement the player is given.
The Order: 1886 is a story-focused action-adventure game played in a third-person perspective. The player takes control of Sir Galahad of the Round Table, an order serving as protectors of an alternate history London. The gameplay mostly revolves around cover-based shooting. The game is structured in a linear manner; the player guides Galahad through the environments, following the story. Galahad and his fellow Knights battle against multiple different foes, including humans and werewolf-like creatures known as half-breeds. Galahad is equipped with several tools and weapons for use in combat, such as variations of rifles, grenades, crossbows, and pistols.
Aside from combat with firearms, Galahad also utilizes melee attacks and silent kills to defeat enemies. Another major aspect of the gameplay is use of quick time events. The player is often required to complete button prompts in order to progress. Several types of collectibles providing lore are scattered throughout the world for the player to collect.
The Order: 1886 is set in an alternate history 1886 London, where an old Order of Knights keeps the world safe from half breed monsters, which are a combination of animal and human. In the game's history, around the seventh or eighth century, a small number of humans took on bestial traits. The majority of humans feared these half-breeds and war broke out. Despite the humans outnumbering the half-breeds, their animal strength gave them the upper hand in centuries of conflict.
On June 11, 2013, The Order: 1886 was announced at the Sony Computer Entertainment E3 2013 conference as a new intellectual property for the PlayStation 4. In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Ready at Dawn CEO and creative director Ru Weerasuriya reveled that the game was in the works since 2010. The studio's internal proprietary RAD Engine 4.0 was used for the game's development. On August 29, 2013, Weerasuriya revealed that the decision to go ahead with The Order: 1886 was influenced by Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. On February 6, 2014, it was announced that the game would be single-player only and that the game will run at 30 FPS.
On January 17, 2015, Ready at Dawn confirmed that the game had been declared gold, indicating it was being prepared for production and release. The Order: 1886 was released on February 20, 2015.
The Order: 1886 received mixed reviews from critics, with some praise particularly directed to the game's production values, graphics and technical achievements, while receiving criticism regarding the game's length, story, gameplay, replay value and the player's involvement in the game. It received an aggregated score of 63/100 on Metacritic based on 94 reviews.
Play gave the game an 8.1/10, praising its satisfying action, high production value, voice acting and dialogue, recreation of 19th Century London and cover-based gunplay. Also praised was the overall amount of gameplay, such as cover-based shooting, stealth and puzzle-solving. However, the weapons were criticized, stating they "[range] from the borderline useless to the ludicrously overpowered". The reviewer was summarized by saying that "while a brief yet explosive cinematic adventure might not be what some modern gamers want, it's quite clearly the best way to showcase the true power of a new console just after its first birthday."
Matt Miller from Game Informer praised its filmic presentation, orchestral music, "rewarding" scripted action scenes, variety of weapons, controls, gunplay, characters, environments and memorable location. However, he criticized the low replay value, the story for leaving too many unresolved conflicts and questions, as well as the combat and gameplay which he stated "feels like playing through a long-established template for third-person shooting mechanics." He summarized the review by writing that "1886 goes against the current tide of open-world wandering and emergent sequences, and banks on the idea that players can enjoy a straightforward and relatively brief cinematic adventure."
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation was highly critical of the game, panning its story and overly linear gameplay and saying "while The Order: 1886 has very pretty graphics, it plays like a laundry list of the blandest game mechanics yet devised by man" and "[it] feels like a launch title; something utterly dull, carefully assembled from only the smoothest, inoffensive pieces with no ambition beyond showing off the graphics tech." At the end of 2015, he chose The Order: 1886 as his worst game of the year.
The retail version of The Order: 1886 was the best selling game in its week of release in the UK and Ireland, debuting at No. 1 in the UK retail software sales chart. This made it the first game developed by Sony's in-house team to take the first spot in the chart since August 2014.One month after release, the price was permanently cut by 33%. The game was the ninth selling title in the US. Neither Sony or Ready At Dawn have provided detailed information regarding the game's commercial performance.
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Centuries of Conflict: In this alternate history, a dangerous foe known as Half-breeds emerged centuries ago. In response to this new threat, an elite order of Knights formed to protect humanity from this deadly threat. Strengthened by a mysterious liquid called Blackwater, the Knights of the Order are able to heal their wounds and extend their lifespans in order to engage this supernatural foe. It is the year 1886, and through the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, humans have advanced technology to gain an advantage in this war. Now equipped with powerful weapons to aid in their struggle, The Order is starting to turn the tide against the Half-breeds.
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