I’m about 3 hours into The Order: 1886, and am liking the game, but I’m certainly not in love. I wanted to post a few screenshots that show off the beauty of the game, but also wanted to touch on the main controversy that has overshadowed everything else in the game: its length.
After 3 hours of play, I’m just over 1/3 though the chapters. If each chapter is about as long as another, that’ll put my play time in the 7–8 hour range. That’s on the shorter end of most games, but not ridiculous. It’s certainly not a problem for me. My #2 game of the year last year was Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, a one hour game that I replayed (in its multitude of modes) about 50 times. Yet, we have game critics and internet commenters going nuts on the “shortness” of this game. Why is that?
The reason I can see at this point is that there’s no reason to ever play this game again after you beat it once. The game is indeed almost half cinematics, but that’s not the real problem. The problem is that there is absolutely no freedom in the game world to mess around. It’s shocking for a modern game, frankly. The visuals are absolutely breathtaking, and that surely accounts for some of this, but I definitely would have sacrificed a few polygons in exchange for a more interactive world. It just feels weird to walk though the streets of London and not be able to do anything besides what the game wants you to do.
There’s no interesting traversal through the environments either. You are forced to walk most of the time, and you’re generally given nothing to do along your walks. Even sections where you have to jump or climb are completely rigid. You will not miss a jump, because the game will only let you jump in certain spots. You feel like you’re triggering the jump animation rather than making a leap yourself.
It’s a damn shame, because I want to love this world more. The story is pretty good, and the universe they built is fantastic. I’m in love with the setting and the idea of the game. I was thinking that I would take longer to play this game than most because I would really soak in the game world. I would explore the nooks and crannies, finding all the little secrets while going though the story. I initially tried to do this, but there are no nooks and crannies in this game. You have to walk the direction the game wants you to go because there’s nothing else there! On the odd occasion that you find a room or alleyway off the main path, it’s just an empty space; there aren’t hidden items or secrets to find.
All that said, I’m still enjoying my time with The Order. The game is not for everyone, and it’s definitely not going to be my game of the year, but it does enough well for me to stick with it. The visuals are astounding, definitely the best on any home console, the gunplay is messy but fun, and the story is solid. I’m just bummed out that there’s not going to be any reason to play this game again after the credits roll.