Ready at Dawn’s The Order: 1886 has sparked some controversy to say the least. Claims that it’s too short, full of nothing but Quick Time Events, and of it being more movie than game flooded the internet even before its official release.
After having played the game myself, and seeing that much of what was being said is flat out wrong, I felt compelled to counter some of the false information being spread. Let’s look at some of the larger complaints being lobbied at the game and debunk them.
Shortly before The Order was released, a video popped up on the internet that had someone finishing the game in just a little over five hours. This caused gaming forums and comments sections to erupt in anger over the supposedly short game length. Many said that a game that short shouldn’t cost $60. Despite Ready at Dawn and others claiming that the game is actually 8-10 hours long, people had already made up their minds and canceled their pre-orders.
It took me roughly 10 hours to finish The Order: 1886. I played it as I would any other game and didn’t rush. It’s as long as most of the story segments of any other popular game out there. Now, this is 10 hours of just story and nothing else. There are no sidequests, no extra challenges, no leveling up, no gear to customize, and few collectibles. For me, this was a nice change of pace from so many games that have these elements in them to pad out the play time.
While the game CAN be finished in five hours, so can many others. Metal Gear Solid 4, for example can be finished in that length of time and Ico can be finished in two and a half hours. A speed run’s length isn’t the actual run time of a game, so to judge The Order: 1886‘s run time on that basis is silly. There is also the fact that the game doesn’t self destruct after you finish it. You can replay it again which will add to your play time. Yes, you will mostly experience the same things but many re-watch TV shows and movies which never change.
The Order IS a five hour long game but only if you blast through it as quickly as possible. If you play it normally however it is NOT a short game.
There was a time when cinematic qualities were something games aspired to have and something gamers wanted. Over the years, things have changed and if a game takes you out of the “action” it’s deemed as something undesirable.
Since many now feel negatively about cinematic games, it isn’t much of a surprise that The Order has gotten some heat about this aspect of the game. I won’t sit here and tell you it ISN’T highly cinematic because it most definitely is. However, there was never a point in time when Ready at Dawn mislead people into thinking this game wouldn’t be a cinematic experience. I mean, the 2:33 aspect ratio alone should have been a big clue that this game aspired to be like a film.
What’s strange is how people have reacted to the cinematic nature of the game when compared to other titles. Games by Quantic Dreams are lauded for their cinematic approach and storytelling. The Order has these qualities too but with decidedly more “hands on” gameplay. However, it’s being derided for having similar qualities to games which are praised. I don’t quite understand it. This sort of inconsistency may originate from people expecting this game to be JUST a straight up Third Person Shooter.
Quick Time Events
Though QTEs have been around for decades and are as valid as any other gameplay mechanic, a lot of gamers say that they don’t constitute actual gameplay. They feel that control is taken from them during QTE sequences and that they’re essentially “pressing X to win.” This type of thinking is a bit, if not completely, flawed.
In any game, you have to press buttons in a precise manner to advance. In this regard, aiming your virtual gun and shooting an enemy is no different than doing the same thing in a QTE. The only difference is that one is in real time while the other isn’t (exactly). Skill and reflexes are still required to press the correct buttons in the right sequence. The challenge that games are required to have isn’t diminished.
Not to get off-topic too much, but arguing that QTEs aren’t real gameplay is like the debate about turn based RPGs. Some feel that they don’t require much skill either. While the hand/eye coordination necessary to effectively play a live action RPG isn’t required, a good deal of mental skill is. If you don’t make the right decisions, you will fail. This hearkens back to QTEs. If you don’t perform actions correctly, you won’t progress.
As far as The Order is concerned, while it does have a great deal of these events, they do not make up the majority of the gameplay. Most of the gameplay is actually comprised of cover-based third person shooting. The QTEs serve as a means to heighten the cinematic qualities that the game is going for. They do not make up the lion’s share of the interactive elements of the title as some have said.
We often hear about how games are becoming stagnant and how change needs to happen. Yet when something unique is presented to gamers, they are quick to dismiss it at best or harshly judge it at worst. The reaction The Order: 1886 has received is proof that gamers will not welcome a game that doesn’t meet certain criteria that has become “standard” in the industry. This is sad because it means we’ll just get more of the same from developers who have to sacrifice artistic vision in order to make a title more “valuable” by injecting it with content it may not need.
While I understand that some gamers have a limited budget and want the most for their buck, every game shouldn’t be a 60 hour+ open world, multiplayer experience with a million sidequests. There’s plenty of shelf space for games crammed with content and those that offer a tighter experience. You can have all-you-can-eat AND gourmet restaurants on the same block.
In general it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to things you read or see online. Even now, falsehoods about The Order‘s length and overabundance of QTEs and cinematics still persist. If you want an honest opinion about the game and actual facts about it, either play it for yourself or talk to someone you know (and trust) who has played it.
Actual hands-on time with The Order will show you that most of what you’ve heard is false.