Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Let's talk about The Order: 1886.

Endless has been kind enough to upload a lossless vid of The Order's E3 trailer, which you can download here.

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I don't know about you, but my hype level for Ready At Dawn's The Order: 1886 has crashed to floor with this E3 showing.  It began, I'll admit, with the first snippets of real gameplay we saw - our heroes shooting dudes in an alley, crouching behind boxes and shooting.  It looked like gameplay we've seen a hundred times before.  

Slowly, we saw a bit more - a clip of The Order's heroes fighting their way across a street as enemies appeared on nearby rooftops, which, to me, gave the game more of a shooting-gallery vibe than anything.  A beautiful backdrop you sweep the reticle over as enemies pop out. 

Finally, at Monday's Sony press conference, they showed four minutes of pure gameplay footage:

And that's it.  A monster walks at you while you shoot it.  Regardless of whether or not you shoot it, it gets to you and grabs you and throws you through a wall.  You crawl to your gun, and turn to shoot the monster - the monster closes in as you shoot it - and regardless of whether or not you shoot it, it gets to you, and no doubt another cutscene plays. 

The Order: 1886 is House of the Dead with a gorgeous paint job, it seems.  It appears to offer a bit of a cover mechanic with some full-on action when it wants to alter the tone from "creepy," but is otherwise claustrophobically linear.  

It's a rail shooter.  An interactive movie with a light gun in your hand.  This was my fear, following the Sony conference, and when GameTrailers' Daniel Bloodworth was able to go hands-on with the game, I tuned in to hear his impressions.  
"I definitely got the sense of... a bit of a light-gun game."
-Daniel Bloodworth-
Bam.  Full stop.  Fears justified.  Ready At Dawn always described their game as "filmic," but I got the impression they were talking about visual filters and lens techniques - not its approach to interactivity. And I wonder why it feels like such a let-down?  The Order's a new IP - we should have no preconceptions about what it should be.  

Perhaps because when we saw it, we imagined all the best of Sony first-party efforts coming together.  It would have the dazzling polish of a Sony Santa Monica title (who are assisting) with the fluid, dynamic, expressive gameplay of an Uncharted, combined with a completely-original scenario and narrative from Ready At Dawn, the folks who gave us some of the most compelling God of War stories ever. 

It has that dazzling veneer, that much is certain.  Knowing Ready at Dawn, it probably has a fantastic story, but will we be okay with a game whose gameplay is... a shooting gallery?  A beautiful light-gun game in 2015? 

I don't know - but my now-low expectations perhaps put The Order in an advantageous spot.  From here, there's nowhere for it to go but up. 

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