The Order 1886 was one of the biggest, most impressive letdowns of the year (so far). It had about half the hype of Watch_Dogs and a about a quarter of the gameplay. Put those two things together and you get a game that many gamers felt was trying to be more movie than interactive entertainment (although, in a way, it really was more of an interactive movie than a fully fleshed out game). The backlash that The Order 1886 received caused enough of a ruckus to get Smosh Games involved with an Honest Trailer, and it's about three minutes of some of the most honest criticism I've ever seen. Check it out below.
They were pretty much spot on with that summary, good goodness.
I think the most accurate critique was of the game's non-interactive environments. For Let's Plays it was kind of fun to watch people just walk around and survey the beautiful Victorian environments. But there was always that itch to touch, topple, toggle, and tinker with some of the beautifully rendered environments that Ready at Dawn spent so much time constructing for The Order 1886.
Like it's funny when he walks past all those fancy seats in the zeppelin, but you can't do anything with them. It reminds me of how Rockstar takes an opposite approach with its games and treats objects in Grand Theft Auto. In the newer games, Rockstar realized that having a great big world is only as entertaining as the interactivity it offers. In GTA IV we saw the inclusion of things like attending comedy clubs, or going to the local bar and having a drink, or playing a game of darts, or joining your cousin Roman for a night out bowling. Rockstar took that kind of interactivity a step further in Grand Theft Auto V by allowing players to sit on couches and relax, partake in yoga, or go out and play tennis.
Now I'm not saying that Ready at Dawn needed to add croquet and backgammon mini-games, but some level of interactivity beyond looking over Tesla's inventions in between levels would have greatly increased the game's playability.
Even simple thing like sitting in chairs or being able to damage furniture and whatnot would have done a lot more for the game's longevity given that cinematics aren't the most fun thing to sit through, even with a bunch of QTEs riddled in between.
Of course, I'll just go ahead and say what The Order 1886's biggest drawback was in regards to replay: the lack of multiplayer co-op.
Whether they were going old-school, with split-screen or online multiplayer, some sort of cooperative measure would have been a heck of a lot better than nothing. I understand the game was on a deadline but hot dang could it have used some co-op. In fact, it was the co-op that made Terminator: Salvation go from a 4 out of 10 game to a 5 out of 10 game. I would likely never play it again but the co-op made it enjoyable enough to complete.
Hopefully Ready at Dawn will get another crack at The Order 1886, and we'll see some bigger, better, and hopefully more interactive ideas in the sequel.