The Order 1886 – impressions


the order 1886

Quick opinion on this heavily hyped by critically slated game – it isn’t as bad ass you may have heard.  I am enjoying the campaign which is set in Victorian London and follows a group of Knights of the Round Table as they battle rebels, political uprising and lycans … yes, that’s right – werewolves!  It’s a somewhat Jules Vern inspired steam-punk action setting not dissimilar to Bioshock and is presented beautifully in some of the most detailed and well designed visuals yet seen on the PS4.

At it’s heart, the game is a cover-based shooter not unlike Gears of War and the combat throughout, whilst a little repetitive is well done and visceral and is never boring.  The encounters with the lycans are a little less involving as it’s quite simplistic and mostly dependent on quick-time events, something of an Achilles heel for the game.  I personally don’t have a major problem with quick-time events, and especially in such a story driven game as this, they can make you feel still involved as you watch the cut scenes.  The big pull for me though is the setting and some of the interesting weapons, which all handle well and seem well designed and are easy to use.  Yet the game lacks some of the ‘trimmings’ of other games … exploring is limited to just enjoying the scenery, and finding notes or models lying around add detail to the setting but aren’t anything you’re going to need to collect for any reason.  So yes, it’s very linear and has no replay value.  There isn’t a multi-player mode either, but don’t see how that would work for this game.

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screenshot captured directly off the PS4

In this age of Dark Souls-style high difficulty games, The Order 1886 isn’t all that challenging – it has it’s moments (those annoying shot gunners) but this is mostly a focused story with some interesting characters, gorgeous visuals and a decent campaign.  Those arguing that 6-8 hours (depending on difficulty and your skill level) isn’t very long … I’ll agree it’s not amazing but it’s fairly average for a story driven experience these days (and last gen).  If I hadn’t been given it off a friend, would I pay close to £50 for it?  Probably not, considering the reviews – but I say trade in some games for it, borrow it or rent it, and you’ll come away satisfied.

Update


I’ve been a bit distracted lately.  Work has been hectic but now glad to be off for a few days and recharge.  There are a few movies on the agenda as well as games, and I will be watching The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part One over the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for my review.  I have mixed feelings about this franchise but like it as well, and well, Jennifer Lawrence is very good in them.  Other than that I will be finally watching the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone team up Escape Plan during the week, so you’ll get my thoughts on that one also.  There is a possibility of a cinema visit towards the end of the week too, but unsure what I’ll be seeing.

I’ve been playing and enjoying The Order 1886 on PS4 and it has to be said, it’s a really nice looking game – they’ve captured Victorian(?) London beautifully and the story and characters seem quite good also.  The gameplay is nothing special but fairly well done – it’s mostly a cover based shooter like Gears Of War. Even the controversy of the game’s reliance on quick-time events hasn’t ruined the experience for me.

Also I’m thinking of doing more videos on YouTube, but unsure what that will be right now.  Keep an eye on my YouTube channel.

That’s all from me for now. 

All conquering PS4??


This is coming from now owning both supposedly ‘next-gen’ systems, and feeling rather underwhelmed by what the PS4 has offered me thus far.  I haven’t played many games on it but do find myself going back to the XB more often than not – and the underwhelming allure of the PS4’s exclusive titles doesn’t help matters.

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The latest thing is that the heavily hyped and long awaited The Order 1886 has turned out to be a very disappointing game, despite a lengthy development cycle.  Again another game in Sony’s supposedly killer line-up that fails to live up to it’s potential.  It joins a growing list of games that have failed to completely wow critics or many gamers and warrant that expensive purchase of a new machine.  Yet despite games like Infamous: Second Son, Kill Zone Shadow Fall and Drive Club not delivering – the PS4 continues to fly off the shelves.

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I’m confused.  Since when did tech-specs and NOT games make a machine the biggest and most popular?  Certainly wasn’t the case last generation when the PS3 failed to initially grab people despite technically being superior to the Xbox 360.  It has baffled me this time how brand loyalty or simply good marketing and well, a bit of brainwashing seems to have won over quality entertainment.  I remember owning both the Sega Dreamcast and the Nintendo Gamecube and liking both, with some amazing games on them – but they did not sell, and so quickly they were discontinued by their manufacturers.  This of course isn’t the case for Microsoft’s Xbox One which has done admirably well sales wise despite the PS4’s dominance – but it still means that marketing and brand win over actual quality of games.  Third-party isn’t so bad for Sony’s machine as it usually wins out against the XB for resolution and frame-rate (but not always…) and such has grabbed a lot of media attention and made it look like the console to go for – but now owning both, I find the games on the XB, especially the exclusives like Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall etc. a huge amount of fun.  Microsoft have done a great deal to rectify a difficult start for their new console and I for one applaud their wealth of updates, new features, their excellent games with gold feature and some top notch indie titles.  Yes Sony’s machine has all of these things but often feel limp and lacking compared to how Xbox does things – who just make it all look a lot more attractive.

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That then brings me to the consoles themselves.  It’s clear that the touch pad and speaker on the PS4 controller is a gimmick and will get very little use in games, and well, when the speaker does come on, it just doesn’t seem right.  Kind of cool, but a bit annoying.  Also let’s talk about the recording of gameplay features on both consoles.  XB’s Upload Studio is excellent, very easy to use and you can send gameplay to your friends at a click of a button.  Not so on the PS4, with the Share Factory very cumbersome and complicated (but possibly more robust in features) and you can send screenshots to friends – but not gameplay, unless you post it to Facebook or YouTube.  Huh??  Why??

I’ve also mentioned before that the PS4 doesn’t let you attach an external HDD via USB to enlarge your storage capacity (at least as far as storing games on it is concerned – you can back up other media like screenshots or game saves) but the XB allows you to store games on an external HDD – avoiding any awkward tinkering inside the console itself.

So yes it puzzles me just why the PS4 remains so universally loved.  The exclusive games are seriously lacking and the features of the console itself clearly pale in comparison to it’s immediate rival – but hey, its a pretty looking machine, and everyone is talking about it … so that’s all that matters, right?  Sigh.

My gaming year 2014


It’s certainly been a very fun year on my gaming calendar.  I had only got my Xbox One in December 2013 so by the time 2014 rolled around it was still very new to me.  One of the first games I played during the year was Dead Rising 3, an open world zombie slaughter-fest with immediately impressive visuals mostly down to the number of zombies all after my blood, and the tongue-in-cheek storylines and comical weapons and outfits kept me coming back.  Then we got the remastered edition of Tomb Raider, arguably Lara Croft’s best adventure yet and it looked incredibly detailed on the XB1 and meant I went on to complete it a second time, having previously owned it on PS3.

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As the months rolled by, I got my hands on the much anticipated Titanfall.  Now this game may have lacked a story of any particular significance, and it’s single player was pretty dire – but the multiplayer, wow … really grabbed me, I felt for a shooter it had real depth and the inclusion of parkour, titans and some great maps kept me playing for a good while.  I’d even go as far as saying it’s the best multiplayer shooter I’ve ever played, and for me I felt I could be good at it and it was fair and easy to learn.  I haven’t played it in a while, and well, I really need to get back in there.  One other similarly hyped game was Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, which although visually and concept-wise impressive left me feeling it could have been much more.  It didn’t have the replay value I had hoped, was way too easy to get spotted whilst sneaking around and well, despite an interesting (short-lived) campaign that set the stage for MGS #5, I sold it after a short while owning it.

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I got Battlefield 4 with my Xbox and that certainly got a lot of time in the drive.  I must have played through the excellent single-player campaign at least twice, because I got almost to the final mission then a bug caused me to lose my progress, so I had to restart.  I thought it had a great story with really good characters and some top-flight visuals.  One of the best launch titles for the XB1.  The multiplayer also was very addictive, but as with the likes of Call of Duty, after a while it just seemed to get too popular and too difficult to be fun anymore.  Another game I had with the XB1 was Forza Motorsport 5, which I still dip into today, and is a great, serious racer with some sharp visuals and lots of fast, meaty cars.  Certainly a game I can really lose a lot of time to and has depth and a lengthy career mode that I’ll admit I still haven’t finished.  I played it recently to compare it with the PS4’s Drive Club, and not being biased whatsoever – Forza was just immediately more accessible and more ‘fun’.

During the year, off and on I had a lot of fun with the ‘Record That’ and ‘Upload’  features of the XB1, which is very easy to play around with and the inclusion of being able to edit several clips together or narrate them etc. has been endless fun.  I also like how XB1 allows you to upload said clips not only to their own Upload service but also to Youtube.  Xbox Live’s Games with Gold was also very welcome as I pay almost £40 a year for the service and have enjoyed getting my hands on freebies like Guacamalie, Limbo and Super Time Force to name but a few.  It’s a great incentive and I look forward to what Microsoft gives away in the future.

Another highlight was Watch Dogs … yes, it was downgraded following the E3 2012 reveal but damn if it didn’t have a great cyber-hacker story and some great characters.  I think the whole hacking the city game mechanic set a blue print for the future and any sequels will only build on such an interesting concept.  I think I was fairly on my own for liking Aiden Pierce – he was an anti-hero, a troubled character, flawed but believable and I thought he was a great lead for the story.  I still come back to this one as the rendition of Chicago is very well done and well, let’s be honest here, at night, with it raining and the lighting etc. – this game can look amazing.

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In recent weeks it’s also been a case of too much choice not enough time or patience to really get some games completed.  Good examples of this are The Evil Within, which I’ll admit has scared the crap out of me more than any game this year (yes, even more than Outlast) and the onset of the horror survival genre has meant I’ve purposely avoided similar titles.  Evil Within is different though as it still plays like a classic Resident Evil game, has action not just scares, and a great atmosphere.  Still not finished it though.  Another is the polar opposite Sunset Overdrive, probably one of the most unashamedly ‘fun’ games I’ve ever played, with a perfect mix of Dead Rising meets Jet Set Radio in probably the most colourful city I’ve ever visited in a video game.

Destiny remains my biggest disappointment of 2014 as far as gaming is concerned.  Initially yes, it was all wow for me … gorgeous visuals, decent shooter gameplay and the ability to upgrade your character, weapons etc. within an always online open world.  Then after a few weeks, repetition crept in.  The single-player which seemed to promise so much was over and a big let down and then I’m meant to just keep playing the same raids and missions over and over until I cap out my character’s level?  I also didn’t like how Bungie pretty much promised the earth and delivered something ultimately very bland.  It’s still on my XB1 dash board … I may pick it up again just for the sheer beauty of it, but it’s not a game a have much of an urge to rush back to.

Of course I ended the year very similarly to how I ended 2013 … by getting a new console.  I purchased the PlayStation 4 and am very glad I did, having a lot of fun with the impressive Assassin’s Creed Unity.  The machine itself seems a simpler design to much of the ambition of the XB1 and despite more power under the hood, plays it very safe, very PS3 in comparison.  2015 will be the real time it get’s to spread it’s wings, so for now XB1 is still my console of choice.

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It will be interesting to see how 2015 shapes up.  The big games I am looking forward to are the XB exclusives Quantum Break and Rise of the Tomb Raider, as well as the PS4 exclusives Uncharted 4 and The Order 1886.  I’m a bit on the fence on how the much anticipated, heavily hyped The Division turns out, it being by Ubi Soft who do have a habit of over-hyping stuff and not entirely delivering … but it was one of the best looking games on show at both E3 2013 and E3 2014 … but I’ll wait and see if the final product looks (or plays) anywhere near as good.

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So with 2015 on the horizon, this gamer / blogger is very excited to see what it delivers.