Video Game: The Order: 1886

"This is not the history you know."

The Order: 1886 is a third-person shooter developed by Ready At Dawn (best known for the God of War prequels) and Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica Studio (known for the main-series God of War games) for the PlayStation 4, and was released in February 2015.

The game follows Sir Galahad, a member of the titular Order of the Round Table, which was brought into existence to combat the rise of a subset of creatures called "half-breeds". Through the Order's advanced technology and equipment, its members possess extended lifespans and enhanced healing abilities. Even with those advantages, the Order are struggling with a new enemy that threatens to destroy their way of life, alongside a rebellion fueled by societal inequality.


This game includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Two of the weapons are powered by thermite and electricity, respectively.
  • Action Girl / Lady of War: Multiple. Isabeau, a.k.a. "Lady Igraine", being the first obvious choice. Lakshmi as the leader of the Rebellion also qualifies, as does her second-in-command Devi.
  • The Ageless: It is made explicitly clear while the Blackwater might grant the ability to extend one's life and heal from even the most lethal of damage it does not make them immortal.
  • Alternate History: Quite a bit is different in this version of 1886. Technology is far more advanced, humanity has been at war with the half-breeds for over one thousand years, and Arthur's Knights of the Round Table have expanded into the present day as soldiers fighting the lycan threat.
  • An Officer and a Gentleman: All of the Order's knights are expected to be upmost examples of chivalry and gentlemanly behavior, even if they're not gentlemen.
  • Automatic Crossbow: One of the more exotic weapons issued to the Order in one sequence.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The "science weapons" Tesla turns out tend to have drawbacks that match their power; the Thermite Rifle is effectively useless without its ammo-chewing alternate fire mode, and the Arc Gun needs to be charged for a few seconds to be fully effective.
  • Badass Longcoat: Galahad and Lady Igraine.
  • Big Bad: Lord Hastings and Lucan. The latter is dispatched by the end of the game, while the former presumably escapes (barring the implications of The Stinger).
  • Bilingual Bonus: The motto woven into the patch on Galahad's shoulder as part of his coat of arms reads "Post Tenebras Veritas," which translates roughly "through darkness, one finds truth." Which pretty much sums up the general plot. Nobody said finding the truth equals a good thing though.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The game ends with Galahad being ousted from the Order by the Lord Chancellor just before taking Lucan down for good. Galahad is forced to flee the city with Tesla to join the rebels, but hints that there's something he has to do first...
  • Black and Gray Morality: Implied. While the Order are probably heroic in that they fight off the half-breeds, their methods aren't much better (see Putting on the Reich below).
  • Body Horror: The transformation of the Lycans/half-breeds. Their heads literally split and crack apart as their other form takes over.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Refreshingly averted. Despite the theme of suppressed feelings still being present, both of the pair are quite obviously aware of the other's affections and just take things as they are.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: All of the four main characters do this, but Galahad and Isi are especially big fans.
  • Cutscene Boss: Several of the boss fights in the game (including the fight against the first Lycan and Alastair/Lucan at the end) are comprised of quick-time event sequences punctuated by unavoidable attacks.
    • These boss fights are actually an Unexpected Gameplay Change into an over-the-shoulder one-on-one duel similar to the ones in Quest for Glory III, except each attack, dodge, or counter-attack triggers a relatively lengthy mini-cutscene. The fact that this duel mechanic is used only for these two bosses have led to (inaccurate) accusations that the final boss fight is just a re-skin of the first boss fight, and that both are the same QTE.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Agamemnon. Humongous vessel travelling across the Atlantic from England to the Americas, dwarfing any other similar construct, crashes spectacularly during its maiden voyage. Makes you wonder if people in-universe will learn from it two decades later.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: After severely wounding Lucan, Galahad questions if his love for his adopted father and sister were part of his many deceptions. Lucan admits that his love for them was genuine.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Thermite Rifle, of course.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game works hard to avert this, since the developers specifically wanted The Order to have a cinematic style and seamlessly integrate cutscenes and gameplay. This is seen in various mechanics, such as Galahad's weapons transferring into cutscenes and regenerating health being justified with Blackwater.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Steam Punk may be the aesthetic of the game, but fantasy is at the heart of the lore: werewolves, vampires, and ageless knights who fight these supernatural foes.
  • Hand Cannon: Percival receives one early on. You can use it in game; it'll kill pretty much anything, but ammo is absurdly scarce.
  • Healing Factor: One of the benefits that the Knights of the Order possess, thanks to the Blackwater.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Shotgun soldiers wear metal armor that lets them soak up an impressive number of shots, and their main tactic is to stroll up and blast you in the face with their shotgun. It seems you're supposed to keep them at bay with suppressive fire or grenades.
  • Historical-Domain Character:
    • The Knights themselves all take their names from the Arthurian-era characters, and generally act within the personalities associated with those characters (Galahad trying to do the right thing, etc).
    • One of your squad members is the Marquis de Lafayette (yes, that one). He's the youngest of the Order's current membership.
    • Now with two times more Nikola Tesla! Ironically enough he's the only one shown to be in the right era.
    • Lord Hastings casually admits to being Jack the Ripper before trying to kill Galahad.
    • The police commissioner is hinted heavily to be Arthur Conan Doyle.
    • Oddly averted with the United India Company standing in for the East India Trading Company, although what little we see in the plot implies that things somehow got worse for India after the end of the 1857 rebellion.
    • The leader of the rebellion is Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi
  • Historical In-Joke: Even when he's playing lab rat to the Order, Nikola Tesla does not get along with Thomas Edison.
    Tesla: The man is an idiot!
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Alastair attempts to justify his actions to Galahad in this way during the conversation before the final fight, even throwing in a Not So Different for good measure.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • After using a rocket launcher with infinite ammo against a wave of mooks, Galahad decides to ditch it immediately afterwards.
    • The whole latter half of the game is spurred into happening by Galahad's single shortsighted decision.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Rocket Launcher. It has unlimited ammo and can dispatch waves of mooks with ease. Since it is so overpowered, Galahad ditches it immediately after.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Begins this way, with Sir Galahad having been tortured for several weeks.
  • In Medias Res: The game begins with Galahad being tortured in a prison just before he escapes, before flashing back to the events that led up to his imprisonment.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: "Little Bobby Paige", shown in one of the trailers, tells the story of a nine-year-old boy who is bitten by a half-breed while out on the street late at night. He returns home, turns, and then tears his parents apart.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Blackwater essentially acts as an extra life, that you can use once per chapter to revive from a near-death downed state.
  • Kangaroo Court: The trial against Galahad. Altough a bit less straightforward example than usual, with the prosecution being split between intentionally false accusation, half-truths and several cases of honest mistake in various degrees of understandability. It's also up for discussion whether the accused is not allowed to defend or was simply too dumbstruck to do so.
  • Karma Houdini: Played with. Though we do not get a final confrontation with Lord Hastings, it is implied after the end credits that Galahad will deal with him before leaving London to join the rebels.
  • Kudzu Plot: Many of the background element sublots are left unresolved, namely the mysterious hooded man seen talking to Sir Perceval who ended up rescuing Galahad after his escape from Westminster, Igraine's hunt for the Rebellion, and, most obviously, Lord Hastings' Karma Houdini act and disappearance from the storyline right before the finale.
  • Legacy Character: Each of the Order's members takes up the name of a member of the Round Table, with each new member picking a vacant name.
  • Lightning Gun: One of the weapons that can be wielded.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: You stumble upon a man having relations with a prostitute in an incongruously gratuitous sex scene when you visit the whorehouse early in the game.
  • The Mole: It's hinted that there's one within the Order. As it happens, the Order is really bad at internal security, because it turns out that there are at least 2 for 2 entirely separate factions. Alastair D'Argyll is secretly in league with the Half-Breeds (and is a Half-Breed himself), while Tesla is secretly in league with the Rebels, who are against both the Order and the Half-Breeds. Meanwhile, the leader of the Order is deliberately turning a blind eye to Lucan's shenanigans in the name of maintaining societal stability, and also because Lucan is his adopted son.
  • Monumental Damage: Crystal Palace is destroyed when the United India Company airship drops down on it.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted. The entire game world is rendered with soft body physics, (i.e. "ragdoll physics") so things can move and flow quite nicely.
  • Noodle Incident: There's quite a lot of background character information given out this way, either via direct dialogue, or through various collectibles.
  • The Obi-Wan: Sir Perceval, who originally mentored Galahad and is a key part of the Order. True to the trope, he is killed.
  • Older Than They Look: Thanks to Blackwater, the Knights of the Order live to see centuries, with the possibility of Lord Chancellor being over a millennium old, should the in-universe tall tales about his deeds be believed.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Given the Victorian-esque setting it was pretty much inevitable. The two go together like...two things that go together really well.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They do appear to be killed by conventional means like burning or impaling them through the heart, though it is unknown if they can be weakened or killed by garlic, holy water, crosses or sunlight. Lord Hastings appears to be able to walk in the sunlight just fine (Though it may be because he might be a Master Vampire), but it is unknown if he is weakened during the daylight hours.
  • Persecution Flip: A minor one. Galahad can recover a phonograph cylinder from the warehouse in Chapter 9 which contains the diary of an aid to Sir Stanley, who is touring America in an airship. The aid notes that the "savages" of America have become more civilized, by which he explicitly does not mean the Native Americans, but rather the "guntoting, trigger-happy" cowboys of the Wild West.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Most of the conflict could have been avoided if the good guys actually talked instead of keeping important facts secret for no apparent reasons. Especially Galahad not talking to his trusted companions about the United India Company being in league with Half-Breeds or Lord Hastings and Lucan being Half-Breeds themselves.
  • Post-Processing Video Effects: The developers expressed doing this in order to evoke a "cinematic" experience, they included film grain, Lens Flare, a desaturated palette, motion blur, and depth-of-field blur, and honest to goodness Letter Box bars.
  • Press X to Not Die: Multiple situations have Galahad pinned down by an enemy while attempting to retrieve a weapon to defend himself, and if the player doesn't press a button fast enough, he will be killed.
  • Punny Name: What a surprise it is for a certain Jacob Van Neck to turn up a vampire.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • The rebels that we see seem to invoke a mixture of Bolshevik, Nazi, and Jacobin influences, in particular given their heavy use of the colors red and black. Particularly those red armbands.
    • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Ironically, it's the player characters who feel like this, what with their agenda to exterminate a different race of humanity out of fear of being overrun, and their lack of hesitation in Kill the Poor. Not that they're corrupt, but they drink a thick black fluid that looks and acts like corruption itself, "for the good of mankind... and personal survival".
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: It may seem strange to modern-day gamers that the fictional United India Company would essentially be a government in of itself, but it's more or less historically accurate in how much power the real-life East India Company wielded. note 
  • Regenerating Health: Played With. The members of the Order have obtained this (and it is a gameplay mechanic) due to their extended lifespans and advanced medical technology. They only consume Blackwater when they suffer from mortal injuries (in one fight scene, the liquid is powerful enough to cure a serious stab wound to the chest and a character having their body nearly snapped in half).
  • Sadistic Choice: None for the player, but Galahad is presented one in the end - either to cut all ties to the order he's sworn loyalty to and the woman he loves and vanish, or let them all learn the truth and ruin them both in the process.
  • Sequel Hook: A lot of things left unresolved, Galahad has something to get done before he leaves, and the game ends just before the year ends. All a perfect set up for The Order: 1887.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played very, very straight. Shotguns are useless outside a short range... good thing, too, since mooks will rush you with them.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted not just with shotguns, but every weapon in the game; each one has benefits and drawbacks you have to weigh. Often on the fly, since you will run out of ammo for your preferred gun.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In one of the houses in the initial raid on Whitechapel one can find a little sewn doll of Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet.
    • There's a suggestive photograph in the whorehouse you visit in Chapter 3 of a woman with the name "Zelda" and a lipstick kiss on the back.
  • Steam Punk: Played With. It's part of the aesthetic of the game, yet they clearly use electronics. The trailer depicts a radio, and a railgun!
    • It's playing with Reality Is Unrealistic in that regard: Electromagnetism was discovered in 1873, so either the developments regarding radio occurred sooner than it did in our world (Hertz began formulating his theories in 1886), or Maxwell made the original discovery earlier.
  • The Stinger: After being ousted by the Order, Galahad is planning to leave with Tesla to join the rebels as the city goes under martial law, but tells him that there's something he has to do first...
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Isabeau and Grayson. They started out as mentor and student, and then it blossomed into something more. The nature of their work makes it impossible for them to consummate their relationship, but both are very aware of the other person's feelings and reciprocate.
  • Wham Line: Igraine's "Guilty." Not much in the word itself as the tone and the vitriol behind it for Galahad to hammer home how much he really screwed up this time.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: The Lord Chancellor explains to a severely-wounded Lucan that even though the latter's biological father died at his hand, he couldn't bring himself to kill an innocent child, even if he was a Lycan. He instead took him in as a son, despite knowing full well what his bloodline was.

Alternative Title(s):

The Order 1886