FANDOM


This week, Zero Punctuation reviews The Order: 1886.

Transcript Edit

What is Order 1886? Well, it's a phrase that would be shouted from the counter of an unusually busy takeout restaurant. Okay, what's The Order: 1886? Oh, that. It's a PS4 exclusive shooter set in an alternative universe in which King Arthur's knights discovered the Holy Grail and have existed up to the 19th century as a sort of peacekeeping order of immortal warriors. Nice little idea, in a cut-price League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sort of way. Just a shame that it had to be attached to such an utterly inconsequential game, like a birthday card tied to an unsecured balloon.

I'm gonna have to make a list of all the words that used to refer to positive things but which I now associate with pain, like 'gameplay trailer', 'Ubisoft', 'backdoor romance'. Got a new one now: 'exclusive title,' which used to mean "better make the best game we possibly can to show off the potential of this cutting-edge device that we just convinced you to buy instead of 200 iOS games or year's supply of Twix", but now means "when you don't have to compete, you don't have to care." The exclusive game is now like a trophy wife: as long as it wears its prettiest dress, it doesn't have to do shit but stand there smiling with the YouTube buffering symbol cycling in its eyes. 

So while The Order: 1886 has very pretty graphics, it plays like a laundry list of the blandest game mechanics yet devised by man, the absolute bare minimum to keep the needle smack in the middle, slipping into neither engagingly good nor amusingly bad. So it's another fucking cover-based shooter spiritually akin to Space Invaders, except at least the aliens got faster in Space Invaders as you thinned their ranks. The Order's idea of ramping shit up is to spawn another identical crowd of goons the moment you polish up the first, just in case you haven't had enough time to appreciate the current murky over-designed room.

At other times, we must reap a healthy harvest of quick time events, largely used as some poor excuses for boss fights. Oh yes, and Nikola Tesla shows up as a character, which I feel always comes across as a transparent and desperate attempt to go "Oh, look at all the nerd cred we've got splattering wetly down our inner thighs". Tesla's presence is part of this whole electro-punk aesthetic that only seems to exist to justify boring, typical modern-warfare shooter weapons being around in Victorian times. In fact, The Order seems to be making eye contact with Ryse: Son of Rome as they both stare forlornly out through the fences of their respective death camps. They are the stuff of the spunkgargleweewee modern shooter behind the thin disguise of an alternative setting, a funkmarbleteehee if you will. 

In fact, the moment that crossed my mind I realized that the plot of The Order is point-for-point identical to the plot of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We are Sir Galahad, a veteran loyal member of the Order with the face of Al Swearengen from Deadwood and the vocabulary of a shaved bear, pledged to defend the land from evil terrorists- I mean werewolves, but then find themselves having to fight off a civilian resistance and in situations like this you can put money down right fucking now on his high-tech authoritarian big boy's club proving corrupt and him switching sides to a resistance movement surprisingly accepting of a dude who murdered two hundred of their mates that morning- a remarkably inconsistent one, at that. "Grrr, I'm loyal to the Order." "Your Order is corrupt and I have proof." "Grrr, I hate you, but I will come and look at your proof as long as we don't kill any people on the way to it and defend my cast-iron sense of justice." "We need to kill some people on the way to it." "Say no more! *gun noises*"

Now at this point, you might be understandably confused if, like me, you've gotten the impression from the teaser and assorted marketing that this was a game about fighting werewolves. In truth, you fight eight or nine werewolves total, and about nine hundred million cockney sparrows with guns. Presumably, werewolves aren't suited to cover-based combat 'cause they can't hold a gun and are easily lured out of cover through strategic use of Beggin' Strips. And speaking of wrong impressions, in the run-up to release, I'd gotten the idea that The Odor: 1886 was a four-player co-op shooter, going again by the teaser and the four characters on the box art arranged with equal prominence. I wonder if that might once have been the intention, because of the three characters on the box besides Galahad, none of them are still participating in the plot by the final level, as if in the original first draft they were supposed to have been tagging along with you. Although having said that, the main villain is also no longer participating in the plot at the end. To go back to the Advanced Warfare comparison, it's like if Kevin Spacey just flat-out hadn't appeared in the final mission and the final boss fight was instead with Kevin Spacey's pet Staffordshire Terrier, with Kevin Spacey mockingly saluting from a hang glider with 'sequel hook' written on it. 

It definitely feels like a game that's been heavily cut down, because way too many characters and concepts are fighting for space to tie up their loose ends. And after the dust settles, we're left with a game chiefly about humans shooting humans, and the supernatural elements end up as mere MacGuffin, an utterly vestigial element that could have been replaced with anything. The set-piece encounters with werewolves are blatantly similar to the fights with the hunter monsters from Dead Space, just to further illustrate that games being raggedly Frankensteined together from chunks of disinterred corpses is now near enough standard practice, and could easily have been swapped for sequences in which Galahad attempts to navigate a darkened room without bashing his shins on a coffee table. 

Now I think I now how to sum this all up: The Snore-der: 1886 feels like a launch title: something utterly dull, carefully assembled from only the smoothest, inoffensive pieces with no ambition beyond showing off the graphics tech and being just about playable to an audience as broad and homogenized as a kiddie pool full of watery soup, a game from the awkward, earliest phase of a console's life before anyone had gotten to grips with it enough to try anything daring, doomed to forever haunt the preowned bin like the ghost of Banquo within a matter of months, if not weeks, if not the five-or-six hours needed to complete it. 

There was point in the game where I went the wrong way and found myself in a small dead-end room, empty of gameplay but thickly detailed with copper pipes, unused furniture and highly detailed crates, and I thought to myself: "How about we wall this room off, take all the effort that was spent on those fucking pipes and use it instead to tack ten minutes of fun onto the game?" A naïve proposal, yes, but there was definitely something wrong with the priorities here. Perhaps it's that there was only one priority, and that was figuring out how to bypass the taste buds while trying to get us to swallow a cup of cold mung, milked from the barren flaps of an elderly, sexually frustrated hippo.

Addenda Edit

Son of the empire: Ben "Yahtzee Croshaw"

 I don't think anyone uses the word 'werewolf' in this game; maybe 'lycanthrope' is the accepted PC term

 What ho blighty top hole etc 

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.