If The Order: 1886's merit was judged solely on its graphics, you wouldn't be able to fault it. Recreating Victorian-era London in exquisite detail, the moody environments and stunning facial models are some of the best we've seen yet. It's cinematic sequences are mesmerising; the gameplay graphics fit in just as well.
Add to that an atmospheric soundtrack and healthy dose of tension, and you have what should be the best game that has been released for the PS4 yet.
And still, it’s lacking something.
There’s a half decent story to tackle. Sir Galahad and the knights, while quelling an outbreak of violence, discover that some of the perpetrators are half-breeds – Lycans that are half man, half wolf, and all bloodthirsty. It’s a war the knights have been fighting for centuries, with varying degrees of success, but the industrial revolution has given them a boost, and it seems that they may finally have an edge over the monsters.
The problem is that The Order: 1886 relies a little too much on wowing the audience. At times you feel more a bystander than a player, with the game's reliance on quick time events a source of frustration for players who want to get stuck in. Whiel there are plenty of opportunities to do that, there's a frustrating amount of times when you'll have to push X rapidly, or hit the triangle button to trigger a QTE that plays out the rest of the scene. It's more of a nod to Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls than I was comfortable with.
Interacting with the scenery around you often feels more like you are examining the items for the sake of showing off the great graphics than actually learning anything about the item itself. And that’s not even touching on the long walks where all you are really supposed to do is take in the scenery. A little less QTE, a little more action, please.
When combat does get going, it’s just reaching the level of OK. Cover, fire, move to new cover, repeat. If you get too close to a human enemy, you can take them out with a melee attack; the Lycans have to be subdued (preferably with heavy gunfire) and then stabbed.
Although it has its downsides, it's still compelling enough to keep playing. If nothing else, The Order 1886 gives a small indication of what the PS4 is capable of graphically. If it's a taste of what's to come, bring it on; just lay off the QTE.