Would we take a sequel to The Order: 1886? You’re damn right we would. Despite the first game being rather disappointing, we still feel there’s enormous potential with Ready at Dawn’s new IP. Hey, we gave Assassin’s Creed a second chance after that ‘meh’ original and it went onto much better things -until Unity at least.
So enough beatings for The Order, instead we’ve got some tips on how it can get it right next time. Let’s face it, we’re not going to be asking for better graphics. The engine is clearly up to scratch and capable of running the gameplay and graphics without a hitch. But we’re going to need more than pretty next time. Don’t worry, you won’t find any game one spoilers below.
Before release, I wasn’t too bothered about the lack of co-op because I can appreciate how it’s hard to do big Uncharted-esque action set-pieces with another player thrown into the mix. But then I played The Order and noticed that, well, there aren’t really any big set-pieces at all. The biggest ‘event’ takes place with you blacked out as even that wasn’t worth animating apparently. You just hobble around in the aftermath.
For the most part, Galahad is with an AI partner, which would have been a perfect excuse to swap them for an online co-op partner. Let’s not dance around the issue, Gears of War is great fun in co-op and seamlessly integrated into co-op or solo play.
Less watching, more playing
Admittedly, playing in co-op would be very awkward if you just wanted a quick half hour play as you’re going to spend twenty minutes of the session watching cutscenes or slowly walking to the next fight. It’s not exactly a thrill a minute.
We spent way too long watching The Order instead of playing it. A major issue in a video gameand if you’re making Hideo Kojima look like maybe he has hired an editor every now and then, you’re doing it wrong. The story in The Order: 1886 is by no means bad, but it hardly warrants the endless interruptions to you doing well, anything.
Don’t assume you’re getting a sequel
Don’t you hate it when you watch a film only to find out it’s going to be a part of a trilogy. It’s worse when the end point of a film leaves absolutely nothing wrapped up, doesn’t end with any sense of ‘wow’ or ‘I can’t wait for more’.
Well in that case, you might just want to play The Order: 1886 a few weeks before the sequel lands as this thing just stops. I’ve nothing against sequels, but for Pete’s sack at least give the viewer some sense of closure for the time they’ve just invested in your product or at least finish a few character arcs off. And Galahad, don’t pretend you’re Batman, you bellend.
Stick with London
Without giving anything away, the story alludes that The Order may have some work to do in America next time. But we really don’t need a change of location and let’s face it, Assassin’s Creed has bled The America’s dry over a similar time period.
Yes, Assassin’s Creed Victory could be a clash as it’s also set in Victorian London, as is Bloodborne (ish), but we’re still confident that The Order could produce something great if a little bit less narrow. It absolutely doesn’t need to be an open world -we have enough of those- just let us have a bit more room.
Manual Blacksight aiming
The rechargeable slow-motion shootouts in The Order: 1886 are useful for thinning the crowd in busier shootouts, but they also feel remarkably cheaty. Shot locations are auto assigned, with your only option being able to flick to a different enemy. Considering you barely get to play The Order: 1886 in the first place, this further intrusion to gameplay feels very frustrating. So, just let us get our Max Payne on, or our John Marston at least.
Improve lycan encounters
The lycan fights are a threatless waste of time in The Order: 1886. Usually a series of shooting/dodging followed by QTE events or the larger boss fights consist of watered down melee swipes and more QTEs. We suspect lycans won’t be the only supernatural threat next time, so fingers crossed the devs can come up with some more creative ways to take them on.
Ditch widescreen borders
You’re not breaking new ground by having ‘cinematic’ borders. You’re artificially replicating a formatting issue in the transition from cinemascope (or c/s) to TV screens. The borders appear on our TV’s to compensate for the original cinema ratio. A practice appearing more and more dated as films are consumed at home more than the cinema nowadays. A game world can be gorgeous, cinematic and engaging without the need for borders.
The stealth is pretty poor in The Order: 1886 and feels all the more redundant by your colleagues effectively going ‘fuck it’ after a while and just breaking out all the guns a few hundred feet from where you started. You might as well point a neon sign over the design board saying ‘obligatory half-finished stealth section here.’ At least make it optional, so we have the option to go loud if we want or have stealth takedowns as some sort of side-objective where there are some tasty rewards for sneaking through a specific section.
More enemy character models
For all The Order’s good looks, there are a few character models that reappear throughout the game. One of whom appeared as both a rebel and a red coat guard at The Order’s headquarters. His multiple deaths imply he’s not supposed to be the same chap. At least give them different facial hair.
Ditch time-wasting QTEs
Boss fight Quick Time Events aren’t what really got our goats in The Order: 1886. It’s all the pointless ones for moving beams supposedly blocking our path (just hop over!). Or being forced to push a mine cart down a tunnel, when you could just climb over it. We know padding when we see it and games don’t get any duller than this.
There’s not much lore knocking around in The Order: 1886, but the newspapers do attempt to add a little meat to the world. There’s no way you can read them from a regular sitting position though. The same goes for the handwritten notes. Even the subtitles are a few sizes too small, you’d think there would be a standard accepted size for those that would be hard to mess up.
Don’t mess with the gunplay
By all means give us some more weapons like the Thermite Rifle instead of the essentially modern weapons Galahad wields for the rest of the game, but the mechanics in the shootouts don’t need much work. The weighting of the guns and the aiming all feels spot on. Bullets also have measurable, well-animated impacts in the enemies as you watch each one strike your target.
I originally published this piece at Dealspwn.com.