E3 Impressions: The Order 1886Filed inside: News
It’s hard among gamers like us to find people who don’t appreciate a good, steampunky romp through some Victorian-era streets. Often enough these games come off as highly stylish endeavors, billowing clouds of smoke, and brass-laden firearms.
But then there was The Order 1886, and we all got the steampunk game we didn’t realize we wanted.
I remember seeing the original trailer and getting stuck somewhere between the immediate desire to play the game the fanboy end of me wanted and the “this looks like it could be totally generic, or is just leveraging a popular theme for instant exposure and won’t really embody the concepts at heart to deliver a good experience” reasonable part of me that I’ve made my namesake.
Sure, the trailer was impressive. I let myself get somewhat excited. I love a good console exclusive, as well—they really let a console show off what they’re capable of, being designed from the ground up for that system.
When the game was shown off at the Sony Press Conference at E3 this year, however, I wasn’t prepared for just how wrong part of me had been, and how I should clearly have given into the game from the get-go.
Ready At Dawn (God of War: Chains of Olympus, etc.) is really showing their preparedness to deliver what is not only a thematically compelling, but also (and I mean this literally) a visually stunning experience.
The video shown at the press conference reeked of trailer magic to me. Sure, they set some HUD elements over rendered scenes, and we got this dark, moody, and oddly terrifying look at one scene of the game.
Imagine my surprise when I reached the show floor and saw people playing the game…and it still looked like that. It is, in a word, ludicrous how good this game looks.
And I’m not normally the type to value visuals over everything. Sure, if you’re going to try to deliver a top-notch AAA experience from a big studio, I’ll nitpick visual corner-cutting and technical problems, but the game is something else.
It pervades every aspect of the game: textures, level design, animation, atmosphere, all of it. In the section we saw, you play as one of the game’s protagonists, a man with the given name Grayson, but codenamed Galahad. Where we had previously seen scenes of intense action, this was a stark reminder of one of the major themes of the game: you’re fighting a war against a terrifyingly powerful foe: half-human, half-animal creatures that possess great animal strength, but retain their human capacity for reasoning and aggression.
Galahad is moving through London Hospital, with little more than a lantern and a pistol to work with. The lantern flickers and casts impressive lighting over the abandoned space, believably populated with haphazardly placed desks and medical supplies—all very indicative of the trying conditions of this alternate-history London. The attention to detail and the ability to interact with almost anything in the environment was impressive to say the least.
What struck me most was Galahad’s palpable sense of anxiety. Protagonists in these third-person shooter games are always so gung-ho about everything. Sure, Nathan Drake occasionally doubts himself before a big leap, but his is a plucky optimism predicated on jokes. Marcus Fenix gladly tromps through absolutely insane amounts of enemies to achieve his goals, and does it with bravado in most cases. Galahad, however, knows what’s out there. He knows what they’re capable of.