The Order: 1886, Black Water

There’s a charming romance to the idea of alternative histories. It’s an exploration of what could have been had circumstances (both large and small) been different, an examination of the endless permutations that can spring from a single decision. While admittedly most titles will shy away from being utterly unrecognisable, the exercise nonetheless remains enthralling more often than not. Throw in steampunk technology, werewolves and a centuries long battle for humanity, and it’s easy to
see why The Order: 1886 has caught so many eyes.

Developed by Ready at Dawn, a studio mainly involved in the PSP market up until now, with help from the SCE Santa Monica Studio, responsible for the God of War franchise, The Order: 1886 will be a cover-based shooter set in Victorian London. While gameplay footage has been extremely limited, with only two short sections of the title revealed, it’s already apparent that the game will borrow liberally from its steampunk setting, with electric rifles, grenade launchers and even shoulder-mounted radios all making a brief if explosive appearance. Whether The Order: 1886 will bring anything new other than imaginative weaponry to the shooter genre remains to be seen, but at this point it at least looks mechanically competent.

The main draw of the game though is its plot. The Order: 1886 is set in a world where humanity is battling against half breeds, men who many centuries ago began to exhibit animalistic traits, with war soon following. It wasn't until the rise of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table though that mankind finally started to find firm footing, with the discovery of the miraculous life-extending Black Water elixir giving us some small hope in the conflict. Through the years the Knights have remained, passing down their title to a successor as battle and age finally claim them, and with the dawn of the Industrial Age humanity has finally regained the upper hand. To complicate matters however the lower classes have risen in revolt against the nobility and the rich, and it is in this melting pot of wars both ancient and new that players will find themselves taking the role of Grayson, the third to bear the title of Sir Galahad.

This alluring premise will be backed by some of the most promising visuals that we have seen from next-gen titles thus far. Even from the brief glimpses that Ready at Dawn have shown it’s apparent that industrial age London will be brought to life in all its gritty glory, and you can expect the game to be at the very least a feast of graphical prowess. While the true worth of any title will always lie in its gameplay and plot, the immersion that will hopefully be offered by its graphics could go a long way to making this game truly stand out, and as yet there is little to suggest that The Order: 1886 won’t do so.

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