The Order: 1886 review

Victorian Knights take on blood-thirsty werewolves in this enjoyably cinematic PS4-exclusive...

This steampunk actioner is the most overtly cinematic game yet released for the PS4. Set in an alternate Victorian reality, it pitches werewolves against the descendants of the Knights of the Round Table, against a backdrop of incongruous tech and Ripper lore. In many ways, The Order: 1886 is the best film Paul W.S. Anderson never made.

In terms of gameplay, the title is a mix of Gears of War-style action and puzzle-solving. This third-person shooter is also wrapped entirely in narrative. There’s no online component or open-world shenanigans, but in our view that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is a uniquely cinematic gaming experience, one that makes it easy for us to forgive the routine A.I. and sometimes languorous pacing.

Graphically, The Order: 1886 is never less than sensational. Usually, the entire game is framed in a ‘scope ratio. Not only does this give the visuals a convincing bigscreen look, but it makes the cut scenes almost impossible to tell from the live play. The game also revels in visual nuance. So much so, that at times you just want to kick back and take it all in. It looks sumptuous at 1080p, but also scales beautifully to 2160p.

Texture and detail abound, adding realism to both characters and locations. Dialogue and voice acting can be considered above average; facial expressions particularly impress. The game has a native resolution of 1,920 x 800 and runs at a cinematic 30fps (fears that it would look choppy without 60fps prove unfounded). The Order: 1886 also makes superb use of the PS4’s multichannel audio capabilities, while Jason Graves's weighty, ominous orchestral score is particularly memorable, and deserving of its standalone OST release. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, it really sounds like a big, live orchestra is playing alongside you, with a portentous choir crouched behind the sofa. The result is visceral, otherworldly and a tad scary.

There’s been griping about the length of the game in some quarters, but we don’t subscribe to the Michael Bay ethos of quantity over quality. If you really want to play something that never ends, dig out a copy of Pac-Man. But if you want to experience something genuinely different in terms of next-gen gaming, join The Order…

The Order: 1886, Sony Computer Entertainment, PS4, £55 Approx