The Order: 1886

Ready At Dawn Readies A History Lesson In Fun
by Ben Reeves on Feb 18, 2014 at 06:30 AM
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Ready at Dawn Studios
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4

Science fiction authors often play around with history in ways that would make a college professor cry. Case in point, Ready at Dawn’s upcoming action shooter The Order: 1886. While the game is firmly set within the Victorian era, the developer has cleverly woven real historical details together with Arthurian legends and technological achievements that did not exist until decades after the year in which the game takes place. We recently detailed The Order’s development in our November cover story, but during a recent Sony press event, got a follow up look at the game in action.

Our demo begins as the knights of The Order investigate a disturbance within the Whitechapel district. Ready at Dawn’s depiction of Whitechapel is deeply rooted in the grimy, smoke-filled slums of London’s eastern district. However, the knights enter a version of the city where floating dirigibles hang solemnly in the sky and elevated trains add new texture to London’s Victorian skyline. The knights that have been battling a race of half-breed monsters for centuries, and this unholy war has pushed human technology to evolve faster than normal.

Our demo centers around a seasoned knight that has taken the mantle of Sir Galahad – one of the most capable knights of the round table. Using a monocular, Galahad surveys Whitechapel from the roof of a building. He glimpses a flash of lightning coming from one alley of the district. A group of locals have started to rebel against the city’s social elite. The Knights are tasked with putting down this uprising, so after calling for backup over a wireless radio, Galahad and his rookie companion Lafayette, head towards the sound of gunfire.

The Order: 1886 has a unique visual style, but this is due to the game’s cinematic camera as much as it is Ready at Dawn’s gorgeous graphics. The camera moves in tight around the characters as they climb over the ruble of an abandoned house, and even simulates the movements of a handy-cam that follows Galahad as he runs and jumps from the roof of one building into the second story of a tenement with a caved-in ceiling.

The two knights creep up behind the rebels and open fire, quickly mowing through a row of distracted insurgents. As Galahad presses his attack, he jumps over a balcony and onto a small wooden structure, but the wood gives way under his feet, and the knight collapse on top of one of the rebel leaders. This initiates a stylish quick time event where Galahad fights to gain hold of a knife that he eventually uses to silence his opponent. Unlike traditional quick time events, however, these sequences are full of branching paths. If players miss a button prompt they won’t fail the sequence immediately. Instead, the action will explore a different path than that of a player who hits all the prompts correctly.

After this timed button sequence, Galahad’s backup arrives. Unfortunately, the knights have made a startling discovery. The group finds a stash of The Order’s specially designed weapons inside a rebel stronghold. This is particularly odd since The Order isn’t aware of any recent weapon cache losses. How are the rebels getting their hands on these high-tech munitions?

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until Sony is ready to show off more of The Order to find out who’s supplying the rebels with these weapons, because our brief demo came to an abrupt close. We would have liked to have gotten a longer look at this third person shooter's traditional firefights, but The Order is easily one of the best looking games we’ve seen in a while. History buffs might cry over this depiction of Victorian England, but the only reason we want to tear up is because we still don’t know when we’ll be able to get our hands on this exciting project.

For more on The Order: 1886 check out our breakdown of the Knights of The Order.

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The Order: 1886

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