Back in April of this year, a friend of mine had gotten his hands on The Order 1886 to play through a demo for the first time and while initially excited about the game, reported back to me that it “just doesn’t look good.” Since then I’ve been waiting to get my very own hands-on experience to form my own opinion.
Taking to Earls Court to get my grubby little mits on The Order’s EGX demo, the first thing to take note on was the sheer size of the game’s queue. The Order 1886 itself was actually in a sectioned off area with another anticipated title to play (Bloodborne) but from what I saw, it was the same game I’d been waiting to play that many other gamers were salivating over. Regardless of the queue size, I waited patiently to jump into an alternative version of jolly old London town – ready for action.
It was action I both wanted and received; I took control of Sir Galahad and launched him (along with the other Knights of The Order) straight into a straight out firefight. You may have seen the demo I got to experience first-hand already – taking place in the cobbled city streets, you and your companions; Sir Percival, Lady Igraine and Lafayette, are tasked with cutting though a gang of roguish looking baddies with your trusty Termite Rifles.
Much like another popular third person shooter (Gears of War), your weapon has more than one mode of attack. The first is to launch termite at enemies (using R2), which upon impact bursts into a cloud of smoke. This smoke can then be ignited by either firing a spray of bullets (R1) or by simply aiming the termite at environmental fire (torches, etc) to cause a small explosion and leaving your once threatening baddies running around screaming with a bad burning sensation. There are other combinations you can figure out like keeping the flow of your bullets directed at the already burning termite to get that fire raging for longer, or setting fire to a wooden platform/crate and letting nature run its course.
Once I got used to the controls and controlling the Thermite Rifle, I got to see the game’s style of shooting change as a member of my crew had been injured. During our first fire fight I saw Policeman taking a bullet, causing him to be out of action and me in charge of carrying the injured to safety. This caused a game of dragging my comrade through cover fire whilst fending off the bad guys myself with a pistol, until bringing him to safety. Although the pistol feels inferior to my new thermite toy, I welcomed the accuracy and methodical pace I could use this classic rather than spraying bullets at fire.
The following scene played out with us taking refuge in a warehouse before Sir Percival took a rather nasty looking nic when he’s shot in the neck. Despite it looking like the end, the Knight simply took a gulp of some kind of liquid and his wound healed almost instantly. After further reading, I have since found out that this potion is called “Blackwater” – a mysterious liquid that grants The Order with powers and abilities that surpass the average human. Continuing with the scene, our other shot victim dies thanks to his wounds and the rest of my team are left trapped. This shows off a further use for thermite cartridges as Galahad uses his to burn through a blockade and led the other Knights onward in their journey.
The demo’s final scene brings up another cover-based shooter level, which can be played through as before but also unlocks the ability to use you stash of Blackwater. Using the mysterious potion, you can enter a type of Bullet-time mode to slow down enemies and make your journey that much easier. After successfully defeating all that stood in my way, once again another scene played. Another enemy – armed with a Thermite Rifle of their own, proceeded to launch a fireball of his own at the Knights and brought this EGX demo to an end.
Following this short hands-on demo, I can see why much of the feedback for The Order 1886 has been negative so far. With the same short demo being the only playable section of the game available so far (Though improved on each time), we’re not getting a full idea of what could be coming. In my opinion; that’s not such a bad thing, I like to be surprised by my new games and even more so when they’re story based.