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The Order, a crowning achievement

Feb 20, 2015

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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The Order: 1886When he was off slaying dragons, you know the legendary King Arthur wishes he had an arc gun that fired electric bolts or even better, a thermite rifle loaded with explosive projectiles like the noble Sir Galahad does in The Order.

As you might guess, this Arthurian legend is not exactly like the sword-in-the-stone stories you might have read as a kid. The Order takes place in an alternate Victorian era London. As a result of an accelerated Industrial Revolution, giant airships circle the skies of The Big Smoke. Electric trains shuttle citizens back and forth in a primitive version of the London Tube.

Having more in common with MI6 than the gallant paladins of old, the Knights of the Order have traded in their swords and shields for steampunk inspired auto rifles, grenades, sniper rifles, binoculars and communicators all supplied by their resident 'Q', inventor Nikola Tesla.
Yeah, THAT Nikola Tesla. Too cool.

The Order: 1886The Order just doesn't rely on technology though to keep the peace. They are all strengthened by the supernatural powers of the Holy Grail and its Blackwater. The water heals their most critical of wounds and has extended their lives beyond those of mortal men.

Engaged in a centuries-old war against the half-breed Lycans (werewolves) and underhanded rebels who are determined to bring down the monarchy, The Order is currently stretched to its limits putting out fires all around London while also investigating whether there is any link between the two groups causing all of the chaos and headaches.

The Order: 1886A thinking man's shooter, The Order is teeming with demanding action but it is also very heavy on plot and story. Sometimes you will find your trigger finger getting itchy as some of the cut-scenes run a bit long. If you exercise patience though, it is all worthwhile as The Order tells such a commanding tale that it is well worth the wait to get back to the action.

At crucial moments the cut-scenes can be very powerful at times giving you a sense of purpose, determination to soldier on as the exceedingly conflicted Sir Galahad; such as when he loses a trusted comrade in battle. As fires burn in the background and smoke twists, curls into the air surrounding all of the charred wreckage and destruction, Galahad mourns the loss of his friend as the camera pans slowly back. It is as an intense a cut-scene as you will ever see.

The missions themselves are a thoughtful assortment of duck, cover combat, quick time events, clue investigations and a few stealth missions. Looking back, I could have done without the trouble-free detective work, especially since those tasks are straightforward and take no real effort at all. Pick up that flashing object. Move it around. Store the information in your memory banks and move on. A brief cut-scene would have sufficed.

The Order: 1886The Order's gameplay touches on all of the shooter hallmarks without presenting them in stale manner as developers Ready at Dawn (Daxter, God of War) and SCE Santa Monica Studio seemed to have put a lot of consideration into even the most basic of undertakings such as lock picking and the like. You have to appreciate such attention to even the finest and simplest of details.

Beyond all the bullets and bodies though, at its heart, The Order is an unusually gripping narrative in a world bursting with intrigue and clashes of loyalty, honour and pride.

The Order: 1886 The Order: 1886
Format: PlayStation 4
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Ready at Dawn, SCE Santa Monica Studio
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Official Site: http://www.playstation.com/en-ca/games/the-order-1886-ps4

Rating: 8 / 10

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.