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Cinematic Games!

So I recently played ‘The Order: 1886’. When I first saw the trailer for this game, I was really excited.  The graphics looked amazing, and it had a cinematic quality to it that I love.  When we take photos, even if they’re just headshots, we try and give them a cinematic feel.  However, when the game hit the shelves it was generally panned by critics and gamers alike.  One of the reviews said “If you want to make a movie, make a movie, not a video game.” Others complained that the game was far to short to justify a $60 price tag.  The review scores were so polarizing that I held off on buying it for awhile, and eventually I bought it for $20.  

I thought the game was awesome.  It definitely had a movie vibe to it. It’s apparent they tried to combine game elements into a movie style of storytelling, and it really worked.  BUT, I think I would have been angry if I’d paid $60 for the game because I beat it in just 7 hours.  I feel for the developer Ready at Dawn though, you can tell they spent so much time on storytelling, graphical details, and making the game flow that the overall length of the game was sacrificed.  Also, since the game is so linear, the replay value is very low.  I don’t feel like I’d get anything else out of another play-through. They also made the arrogant decision to end the game on a cliffhanger, like “Of course we’re going to make another one, this game is so good, how could we not?”.  Well the game didn’t sell that well due to its poor reception, and now a sequel is up in the air.  This could be another promising new IP with no real conclusion due to mediocre sales.  I think it would be a different story if the game had debuted at $40, but it didn’t.  

I’m really happy that games are going in this direction though.  My favorite games, like Metal Gear and Tomb Raider, have always tried to be cinematic in some way, and I love it when a game makes me feel like I’m playing a movie.  It’s tough to find the right balance though, because if there’s to many weak mechanics and quick time events, the games feel unpolished.  I only got hints of that while playing through The Order, sometimes a mechanic was introduced and I didn’t even use it again at any point in the game.  I have my fingers crossed that developers like Ready at Dawn can find that sweet spot in the future, and make more cinematic games that I love. 

The Order: 1886 overall score: 8/10