The Order: 1886 ,Gears of War meets Penny Dreadful - Games Weekly

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Order: 1886 ,Gears of War meets Penny Dreadful

Developer Ready at Dawn is made up of a talented bunch of people. In the past, however, they’ve only ever dealt with other developers’ IPs, creating the spin off PSP game Daxter and the PSP versions of  God of War . They were also responsible for the Wii port of Clover Studios’ Ōkami . To date, Ready at Dawn has proven themselves highly capable developers, so it’s exciting to see them finally taking a stab at their very own intellectual property.

Set in an alternate history London during the late 19th century, you play as Grayson, a member of The Order tasked to defend humanity against a half breed threat in a war that’s been raging for years. Because it’s an alternate history London, Ready at Dawn has poetic licence with numerous historical figures of the time. Take Nikola Tesla for example: born in 1856, Tesla went on to become one of history’s greatest inventors, but one whose work faded from the limelight shortly after his death in 1943. He worked for Thomas Edison but soon left on bad terms to focus on his own work. In The Order: 1886, after splitting from Edison, Ready at Dawn tweaks history by making Tesla join The Order. While working for The Order, Tesla creates a number of the more fantasy based weapons that will be at our disposal in the game. In that sense he’s kind of like James Bond’s Q, and we’ll be visiting his lab to gain new weapons like the Crofton Woolwich Repeating Compound Arbalest and the mini crossbow for when missions call for stealth.

During our presentation at Gamescom (conducted by studio co-founder Ru Weerasuriya) we got to watch protagonist Grayson exploring an abandoned hospital in Whitechapel. We were immediately astounded by the level of detail in the environments. Ready at Dawn’s art team have meticulously recreated this entire Whitechapel hospital, all the way down to the correctly positioned tiles on the walls of the corridors. Lighting is also incredible, with Grayson’s dim, yellowy coloured lamp illuminating the environment in an amazingly realistic manner. Offices and wards are cluttered with objects that are fully governed by an impressive physics engine. This is one of the best looking games we’ve seen in a very long time.

Eventually this exploration led Grayson to cross paths with a lycanthrope. The confrontation was brutal, but also presented us with a potential caveat for this game: quick time events. We were surprised by howscripted the game appeared during this particular sequence and presentation. Gameplay moved seamlessly into in engine cut scenes, many of which included QTEs.

Failing QTEs resulted in the lycan murdering Grayson (in some particularly gory ways) and having to reattempt the sequence. Ready at Dawn has always hada “filmic vision” for The Order and has deliberately chosen lens effects and letterbox aspect ratios to convey a motion picture tone, so the inclusion of scripted events and QTEs is probably par for the course. While it might turn some people off, it certainly isn’t enough for us to ignore this game it’s looking fantastic and we can’t wait
to get our hands on it.

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