The Battle On The Bridge In The Order: 1886

Battles on bridges have been a staple of the shooter genre for many years for a good reason, they mask the corridors used to funnel the player towards the objective by making them blindingly obvious. In a shoot-out based in a city there are always closed (and amusingly bulletproof) doors and piles of wreckage that block your way and can remind you that you are playing down a predetermined path, on a bridge common sense tells that you that straying too far either way will result in a long drop to you death.

The confined space means the action should be frenetic and, as the developers know exactly where the player will be heading, set pieces can be incorporated with ease. A bridge battle should, in theory, be one of the most exciting parts of a shooter.The Order: 1886’s bridge section, played across the murky and swirling Thames river, starts well with your team of four Arthurian Knights rushing headlong in to the gunfire.

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Playing as the dashing and impressively mustachioed Sir Galahad you are armed with a frag grenade, a pistol and a massive Arc gun that 1886’s “Q” character, Nikola Tesla, has invented. Your team also includes the sassy Isabeau D’Argyll, also known also known as Lady Igraine, the youngest member to ever be inducted into The Order as Galahad’s apprentice, and Marquis de Lafayette, a hero from the War of American Independence and the French Revolution and charmer of ladies across the world.

As you would expect for a cover shooter, the bridge is littered with crates and wreckage to hide behind and a quick tap of the circle button gets you in to cover ready to take out the rebels. They take a couple of hits with a normal gun, slightly bullet spongy, but react convincingly when shot by grasping wounded arms or bending over when shot in the chest. The Arc gun is a different matter, as fully charged it is an instant kill and also separates the rebels from their favourite limbs, popping heads in a shower of blood.

This section is all about Galahad and his cohorts forging their way across the structure to rescue a team mate, and it’s soon broken up by a small quick time event which shows the cinematic duality of The Order; this event is non-intrusive and actually moves the story forward, rather than feeling like an unnecessary addition. It’s soon after, when Galahad goes it alone, that you’ll see the difficulty increase, with other staples of the shooter genre such as rocket-wielding bad guys coming into play.

Thankfully, the difficulty is almost immediately dialled back when you grab the launcher from your defeated foe and stand atop a carriage, blasting wave after wave of enemies with rockets. It’s good fun, but does go on for a bit too long.

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You’re probably thinking this sounds rather unremarkable and to be honest it is, there’s nothing wrong with the shooting section to break things up and pad things out, but there is also little innovation here. The cover system works fine, you can run up to enemies and melee them to death – complete with head crushing animations – and the weapons feel old-fashioned, with muzzle flash and plenty of kickback.

Shotguns and pistols almost explode rather than shoot, and these are juxtaposed with the electrifying Arc gun, which does get the job done but features a rather weak flash of electricity that really doesn’t represent its destructive abilities, instead making it feel somewhat underwhelming compared to the explosive traditional weapons.

Aside from that, in terms of graphics the game blows everything else on PS4 out of the water, then drop kicks it back in to the murky Thames just so it can blow it out of the water again. The depiction of London is spot on, Big Ben looms in the background and the amount of detail on the characters and environment is stunning. You may remember boastful claims that previous consoles could produce graphics that could be used in movies, well that day is almost upon us, the engine that Ready At Dawn have created could easily be used to create broadcast quality TV shows.  My only complaint would be that bridge is surrounded in a hazy smog, it’s historically accurate and perhaps a necessity but it obscures just how damn good the game looks.

Although there is little in the way of performance or story progression during the bridge section the voice actors do have a lot of fun, with both the Rebels and the Knights constantly shouting out commands and comments. The rebels are slightly clichéd apples-and-pears cockneys but they, like the Knights, have potty mouths that would embarrass their mothers.

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In fact, there is a lot of swearing but it’s actually quite refreshing and genuine for someone to react that way when they’ve been shot in the shoulder, most other shooters would just make the character grunt and continue fighting. The game can get a bit like Call of Duty with Knights shouting about their latest kills, “Rebel down!”, but Sir Gallahad spices things up by grunting “You son of a whore!” when dispatching an enemy with a well timed shotgun to the chest.

So let’s take stock so far: we have a good, solid cover shooter, some of – if not the – best graphics ever seen on a console and some fruity and amusing voice work. It’s not anything truly special so far, but towards of the section there’s an impressive show of just how cinematic and affecting this game can be. With Sir Galahad chasing a specific character across the bridge, the action culminates as he grabs his target.

What follows is a jaw-droppingly vicious scene which shows a psychotic Galahad and little else, with his entire face filling the screen. Every detail of emotion, every nuance of the performance capture is on show here, and I was left open-mouthed at the end of the scene; if the rest of the story is anything like this small section, then we’re certainly in for a treat, and it may even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as The Last of Us.

Ready At Dawn were founded by ex-Naughty Dog staff and it looks like they have admired the work of their brethren and may exceed them when it comes to storytelling if the final bridge scene is anything to go by. Perhaps you should pay more attention to that rather than the battle on the bridge itself: lets face it, no one plays the Uncharted games for the shooting sections, do they?

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17 Comments

  1. What I’ve seen so far looks good,looking forward to reading the full reviews when they’re out.

  2. Brilliant, it sounds like it’s going to be exactly what I had hoped. This and The Division have been my most anticipated games on PS4, cannot wait!

  3. Lovely article, TC. One of the first where it accepts the game-play for what it is and then works out if things are enjoyable as a whole.

    Top effort.

  4. Cheers TC, that was a good read.
    This is more than likely gonna be a day 1 purchase. Sign me up!

  5. Familiar gameplay with unprecedented visuals sounds like a good combination, looking forward to the full review but i’m Lycan what i’ve read so far.

    • Get out.

      • You’ll never get rid of me – i’m like a bad penny , or that persistent scratching noise in the wall.. :)

    • Someone throw him a bone!

  6. I had no idea RAD had a few ex naughty dog devs. Looking good. Only a few more days to go.

  7. Great article TC, you’ve actually got me slightly interested in this!

    The game has no MP does it? Hopefully that means there will be plenty of pre-owned copies flying around just a few months after release.

  8. Bit the bullet and recently pre-ordered. I’ve always loved cover shooters so The Order 1886 seems like a natural choice. Hopefully the story is more than just filler.

  9. I enjoyed that read, thanks man you’ve just solidified my purchasing decision. Looking forward to this one now.

  10. Sounds pretty much exactly like what I wanted to hear: more shooty-bang-bang, less “press A to awesome”.

    Good write-up Tuffcub!

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