The Order manages to sink a loose set of hooks into your attention but fails to capitalize on that pull and instead replaces the pent up curiosity with a lump of disappointment. The interest in the story helps overcome weak gameplay elements, but its failure to deliver hurts the overall effect of the narrative
The player controls Sir Galahad, a knight of “The Order” in England. The Order is based on Arthurian legend, hence multiple characters names referencing the mythical knights of the Round Table. The Order also has access to some of the newest and coolest tech via a young Nikola Tesla.
How Tesla became involved with The Order, or indeed how the Order came to be is largely left vague. There is some reference to ancient practices, with the requisite connection to the aforementioned Knights of Arthur, but these elements are more bones than flesh and at points leave events unexplained. Why is the Order interested in stopping these rebels? Why do the police forces assist them? How do they recruit member? I’m still at a loss and I was paying close attention.
The plot is driven by Galahad’s inquisitive pursuit of a greater conspiracy surrounding the rebels in England (again, tepid explanation as to the rebels motivation). The rebel forces, composed of generic pistol wielding grunts, have joined with “half-breeds” which also appear as generic grunts until they change into werewolf creatures. Why are there werewolves? What causes them to turn? The moon? I have no idea. Who are the rebels again?
Without spoiling anything, Galahad eventually uncovers some greater political elements occurring under The Order’s watch, and perhaps, at its guidance. However, once the twist and climax occur, the game ends without much further explanation. My girlfriend had been watching me play through from the beginning and was anticipating the conclusion. Sadly, once the revelation is made the game leaves things on a cliffhanger, and never wraps up its other ends.
We were both awash in disappointed and severely lacking satisfaction. Despite the dismal conclusion, sparse background explanation, and multiple instances of generic storytelling, the game does manage to build up interest in other ways. The characters and environments are well constructed, and the game packs plenty of cut scenes to show off its gorgeous graphics. Neither of these elements could overcome its gameplay faults.
The “platforming” elements are really excuses to implement dialogue and banter between the characters. The typical set up is moving across a roof, jumping up to a higher roof, and then performing a QTE to zipline to another roof, or if you are lucky, a ledge or porch area. Exciting stuff.
There are also stealth portions, which involve crouch walking around to sneak up on guards and take them out without being spotted. The Order implements this system in a manner I really dislike: You take out each guard, but as soon as you are spotted, you must restart the whole thing, loading screen and all. Given the imprecision of when you are “sighted” it becomes frustrating to lose and have to restart when you aren’t sure just how you were spotted. Trial and error create an unwelcome repetition here that was not enjoyable.
As previously mentioned, the gun play and associated gun selection is weak at best. There are pistols, shotguns, and rifles, with the key differences being the size of the clip and the rate of fire. There are a couple unique guns such as an arc lightning gun and also a thermite gun. The thermite gun shoots out a powder that is then ignited and explodes. It’s a neat concept, but is hardly used and is generally harder to pull off then simply mowing down the nameless waves.
Quick time events are often a sore spot for some players, but I have never been too turned off by them. However, The Order doesn’t really implement them in a satisfying way. You use them for grappling and moving objects, which becomes more of a chore than neat interaction. Despite this, during one particular boss battle, there is a unique QTE hybrid, where you must time the attacks, but also have some freedom of movement and ability to choose the proper attack. Other than that small moment, the QTEs either got in the way, or were forgotten.
Ultimately the gameplay is an uninspired, linear monotony that leaves no impression. Implementing some unique weapons with the Tesla angle, or utilizing the beautiful environments for shoot outs could have really helped bring some pizzazz to an otherwise bland experience.
The sound is also a strong point for the game, helping to further increase the impact of the characters, and complement the graphics. The accents (English and otherwise) seem natural, and the environments buzz with gunshots, grenades, and snarls from the halfbreeds.
One big knock on the game at launch was the length. It took me about 7-8 hours to complete the game, and I did not seek every collectible or audio tape. There is zero replayability as you will feel hollow after seeing the “conclusion” and the game does not have multiplayer.
-Lack of explanation for story elements
-Uninspired gun play and narrow set pieces
-Slow movement speed in non combat portions