The Order: 1886 and Story Collapse – Part 3

Continuing from Part 2:

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Galahad and Lakshmi break into the Company’s headquarters in one spot while for some reason Lucan enters from another. Galahad proceeds to slaughter more endless waves of Company guards whom Lucan apparently saw unfit to warn. Eventually the pair meet up with Lucan who has a minor fake freak-out when he sees Lakshmi, but then he pretends to be persuaded by Galahad that she’s ok, rather than just shoot her on the spot and blame Galahad for not warning him. They go into what looks like a library but for some reason holds all of the Company’s records, including a big book of incriminating evidence.

Before Galahad and Lakshmi and can leave and blow the whole conspiracy wide open, they find Lord Hastings in full vampire form sucking on a rebel, and Lucan steps out of some shadows to admit to being a lycan. But Lucan’s cunning plan to lure the two and kill them is undermined by another appearance of Lakshmi’s brilliant strategic intuition as she escapes by jumping out of a random window on at least the second story. Galahad stabs Hastings with a big-ass knife, but then Lucan tackles Galahad, and proceeds to get the shit beat out of himself. Lucan runs away and sends some lycan comrades after Galahad who are quickly slaughtered. After another brief fist fight between Lucan and Galahad, someone starts banging on the front door and a slightly lycan-transformed Lucan runs away. His ambush worked brilliantly!

Igraine and Lafayette burst through the door and immediately hold Galahad at gun point. Lord Hastings walks through another door and accuses Galahad of joining the rebels and attempting to murder him, and then shows his bloody shoulder and Galahad’s foot-long knife as evidence. Apparently Igraine and Lafayette buy Hastings’s story that Galahad stormed into the headquarters with a team of assault rifle-wielding rebels, ended up stabbing Hastings in the shoulder with a massive blade which Hastings somehow survived, and then a bloody, beat up Galahad stumbled his way back to the main entrance with no rebels in sight, except I guess for the one with no blood in Hastings’s room.

Maybe it would behoove Galahad to ask Igraine and Lafayette to quickly check out the record room and look at the smoking gun evidence of the vampire conspiracy before arresting him… but since when has anyone in this story ever tried to solve anything by communicating?

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Cut to Galahad sitting in chains before the council where he is on trial for “the most heinous crimes.” An outraged Augustus (though is he ever not outraged?) suggests the death penalty. For no possibly conceivable reason, Lucan asks for mercy to be shown. Seriously, why would he do that? He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by keeping Galahad alive. And again, it’s not like he has to throw up smoke screens; no one in the Order appears to have the slightest idea that he’s a lycan. Maybe he’s just extremely paranoid.

On the note of Lucan’s nonsensical actions, remember way back in the beginning of the game when he gave Percival and Galahad the greenlight to investigate the rebel-lycan connection at Whitechapel? Why on earth did he do that!? All he did was give them a thread to pull to unravel the whole conspiracy. One possible explanation is that he sent Percival and Galahad in to kill the rebels so they wouldn’t sabotage the Company’s operations, but when they arrived, there were already lycans there to kill the rebels! What the fuck?

Then Igraine, Lucan, and a late-entering Lord Hastings offer evidence for Gallahad’s treason. Igraine says she saw Galahad and “the rebel leader” talking and they appeared to be on familiar terms. After some investigating, she found his Order uniform discarded at the pub which is apparently known to all as a “rebel hideout” and is therefore a terrible hideout. So did Galahad just leave his elite Order uniform lying around a random bar, or did she scour the pub’s dozens of rooms until she found it?  Lucan and Hastings run through their story and the council unanimously declares a “guilty” verdict. Augustus sentences Galahad to death.

Did The Order’s developers forget that this game takes place in Britain, the institutional birth place of common law? Because at no point is Galahad allowed to testify at his own trial. Seriously, no one thinks to ask Galahad, who has been a member of the Order for centuries, why the hell he decided to betray his comrades for a bunch of socialists out of nowhere. They don’t bother to investigate Hastings or the United India Company either. Yet again, another huge conflict within the story could be resolved if characters just fucking spoke to each other!

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For some reason, instead of being immediately hanged, Galahad is detained for interrogation and the story returns to its opening scenes of torture in Westminster as redcoat British soldiers try to get Galahad to reveal the rebel leader’s location. For some reason no one suggests looking in the heart of rebel territory. Galahad escapes, jumps off the top of the building into the Thames River, and is rescued by Nicola Tesla.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention Nicola Tesla is in the game. He doesn’t actually do anything relevant to the narrative until this point so I guess I forgot about him. He just builds the Order’s cool weaponry and a friendly relationship is briefly established between him and Galahad.

Tesla hides Galahad in some random shack he happens to own and meets up with Lakshmi. How does Tesla know Lakshmi? Galahad asks her that and she tells him to ask Tesla. Galahad never ends up asking Tesla and Tesla never says anything about it. Yep, that actually happens.

While briefly stirring from unconsciousness, he hears Tesla telling Lakshmi that he has to return to his laboratory in Westminster so he doesn’t raise any suspicions. When Galahad does finally awaken two weeks after his escape, Lakshmi tells them they need to get to rebel territory for safety, so they go and kill a few more Company guards along the way who are for some reason patrolling a random sewer.

For never explained reasons, Igraine happens to find Tesla’s hide out seemingly minutes after Galahad left. Igraine deduces that he had assistance from Lakshmi, and that they must have gone to rebel territory. This is the last the player sees of Igraine in the game and as far as I can tell, this scene serves no purpose whatsoever.

Cut to Galahad and Lakshmi entering the pub in rebel territory. Lakshmi says they should prepare to leave the city, but Galahad wants to go to Westminster to get Tesla. So why did he bother going back to the pub in the first place? No idea. Lakshmi complains, “Have you lost your senses? The palace is the last place you should show yourself.” Galahad counters, “I have to get Nikola out of there. I owe him that much.” Lakshmi responds, “Alistair (Lucan) knows you. He’ll expect you to come.”

What!? Where did all that come from? No one has received any indication that Lucan knows Tesla is involved, and therefore he has no reason to expect Galahad to come to Westminster. And if Galahad does want to get Tesla out of there, why not just wait until he goes home for the day or steps out of the building (he must at some point) and then grab him. There is no indication at this point that Tesla is being held as a prisoner or anything. This whole conversation is just another one of a billion nonsensical plot points conjured from thin air.

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Galahad leaves to go off on a solo suicide mission, but is soon confronted by Lafayette in the pub. Lafayette says that he trusts Galahad and lets him go on his way. That’s the last we ever see of Lafayette. No indication is ever given as to why two weeks ago he voted with the council to execute Galahad, but now he seems to trust him. Whatever.

Galahad makes his way to Westminster through some tunnels. Eventually he encounters and kills dozens more guards. Not Company guards, mind you, but British military soldiers, clad in redcoats. Now not even the flimsiest pretense that these guys might be evil remains. These are upstanding British citizens who joined the army ostensibly to protect their queen and country who Galahad is mowing down in a dark sewer. What a hero.

When Galahad arrives at Tesla’s laboratory, he finds Tesla wounded, but alive. Apparently Lakshmi’s psychic intuition about Tesla being discovered was true. Tesla even says to Galahad, “Lakshmi was right, he (Lucan) knew.” How exactly did Lakshmi figure this out? When was she coming into contact with Lucan to deduce his secrets? She’s the leader of the rebels and he’s the second in command of the Order, if they ever saw each other, they would have to shoot on sight!

Again, I have to reiterate for the full sake of clarity: No one ever says anything and the player never sees anything to indicate that Tesla is in any immediate danger before Lakshmi in the pub, and she never gives any explanation or reason for why that is the case. It is pure plot contrivance to get Galahad back to Westminster for a showdown.

Galahad goes into Tesla’s laboratory and confronts Lucan who says some stuff about wanting to protect his kind, yada yada. They fight, Lucan turns into a lycan, gets stabbed a bunch of times, and shrinks back into a human for his final monologue in which he condemns humanity for its “incessant greed” and propensity for war. I guess the irony is lost on him that his vampiric allies can only survive by murdering people for sustenance, and his species… I don’t really know what his species does. Do lycans lose control every full moon and go on murderous rampages? I don’t know, the game never tells the player anything about lycans.

Augustus shows up out of nowhere and confesses his adoption of lycan Lucan. Galahad asks Augustus to confess to the council, but Galahad gets outraged (again) and claims that doing so would destroy the Order. Ummm, why would that happen? And how could the outcome of your confession possibly be worse than what your son was already doing with Lord Hastings? And for that matter, was Augustus really going to let the vampire plot continue just because he felt bad for his son? I guess by this point the player should be used to this sort of nonsense.

The cowardly moron, Augustus, tells Galahad that he is banished from the Order (which seems redundant since he has already been sentenced to death) and asks him to kill Lucan. Galahad shoots Lucan. The screen goes black. Roll credits. After the credits end, the player hears Tesla’s voice asking for Galahad over a radio and Galahad is revealed to be perched on a rooftop of a London now in martial law. Tesla says that the military will attack the rebels at any moment and that they should leave the city. Galahad responds, “I’ll join you shortly. And don’t you know… I’m Galahad no more…” Which I guess means he still retained his name and rank after being publicly sentenced to execution by the council, and only lost them when the corrupt leader of the Order privately told him to go away.

End.

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So Lord Hastings is still free and destroying the world, the Order is corrupt and run by an idiot, the British military has woken from its apparent slumber and is finally trying to drive the rebels out of the nation’s capital, and Galahad has become Batman. In other words, there is no resolution whatsoever. Galahad kills what amounts to one lackey in the whole conspiracy and gets banished from the Order, that’s it. The entire plot is still up in the air. Some desperate defenders call this a “cliffhanger ending,” I call it “no ending.”

That concludes my three part, 5,700 word evaluation of The Order: 1886’s story. Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “The Order: 1886 and Story Collapse – Part 3

  1. Pingback: The Order: 1866 and Story Collapse – Part 2 | Theory of Objective Video Game Aesthetics

  2. I think The Order is pretty lousy, but it’s also clear if you look at the development that the game was essentially rushed to release after the devs bit off way too much to chew and ran into some serious trouble; people bag on Phantom Pain for being “unfinished”, but I’m pretty certain The Order is literally 40-50% off an actual game that was polished up, stapled together, and handed into Sony.

    For instance, they mention weapon upgrading as a core mechanic. You were clearly meant to return to Tesla or somehow get equipment from him between/during missions (look at that intro scene with him, where they go to the trouble of touring the lab and he says a line like “You can always come to me for new weapons, upgrades, and gear”).

    There was supposed to be side-exploration and alternate paths like in Last of Us (linear but with things here and there), but it’s almost all literal corridors.

    You’ll also notice parts of the game seem to be set up like it’s one of those co-op shooters, like Resident Evil 5 or Dead Space 3, with “buddy” environment stuff and the player never away from a partner for more than a handful of minutes in the entire game, but that’s clearly not there. (One interview I read says they wanted to include multiplayer, but couldn’t do it tech-wise.)

    And then there’s the final act, which, as you noted, isn’t even an actual act or ending. To me, that seems like a clear mid-point or 3/4ths point to a theoretical The Order: 1886 that’s actually finished. The Batman Galahad cutscene also seems like set up for some final levels in that theoretical game.

    In all likelihood, The Order: 1886 is a rough draft released to the public. Not that what they had was all that inspiring to begin with, though I could see a sequel that takes the route of being like a Resident Evil 4 style action-horror (give the player several large areas to explore with plenty of player choice in big gunfights and some scripted set pieces between them, emphasize exploration, maybe add some non-lethal or stealth options so Galahad doesn’t come off as a psycho) instead of a very lame Gears of War Steampunk being pretty cool.

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    1. That’s an interesting take on The Order.

      You may be right that the game’s unfinished, I don’t know anything about its production. The third act in particular is the definition of unfinished, the main villain is never defeated, the plot isn’t wrapped up, etc. My only pushback on your theory is that the game is incredibly well-polished in a technical level, which is unlikely for a game that was rushed out the door.

      As I think I said in the posts, I actually really like the core setting/aesthetics of the game. There’s no reason they couldn’t make something interesting out of it. An RE4 style set up as you suggest could work brilliantly, but unfortunately the horrendous handling of the story makes me doubt the development team’s design abilities.

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