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Video Game / The Order: 1886

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"This is not the history you know."

The Order: 1886 is a third-person shooter developed by Ready at Dawn Studios (best known for the God of War prequels) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 4 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.


The Order: 1886 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Two of the weapons are powered by thermite and electricity, respectively.
  • Aborted Arc: The game abruptly ends at the beginning of the third act, leaving almost every major plot thread unresolved. Even the main plot- trying to stop Lord Hastings from shipping vampires all over the world- is completely abandoned without a single hint that the main villain will be foiled or brought to justice. Sequels and DLC were planned to tie up the open plot threads, but none have materialized or entered development.
  • 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. It also seems to slow the aging process instead of completely stopping it; the Lord Chancellor and Percival seem to be some of the Order's oldest living knights, and while they're several centuries old they've clearly aged quite a bit in that time.
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  • Alternate History: Quite a bit is different in this version of 1886. To start off with, King Arthur and Camelot existed in real life. 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. Also a rather minor one is that going by the mention of a "Royal Army" that the English Civil Wars never happened (the reason there is no Royal Army presently for Britain is because the British Army is at the behest of Parliament, not the British monarch). There's also now the United India Company, rather than the East Indian Company that happened in the original timeline.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The Jack the Ripper killings occurred in London in 1888, a full two years after the events of the game, despite the fact that they are occurring presently in the game. Given the fact that the game is planted firmly in Alternate History, and that Jack himself turns out to be Lord Hastings, who is also an elder vampire, it's justified.
    • By 1886, Nikola Tesla had already been living in the United States for two years.
  • Automatic Crossbow: A silenced weapon used by Grayson and Sir Lucan 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. Both guns also run out of ammo quite quickly since enemies won't drop ammo for them.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Jack the Ripper was a vampire.
  • 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.
    • Sir Perceval dresses down Lafayette in French at one point.
    • Lakshmi and Devi talk in Hindi between themselves when it's a private matter.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • The brothel you and Lafayette go through when you first enter Whitechapel appears to be there for a few laughs regarding Lafayette's womanizing. In actuality, it's a rebel headquarters, and you'll be visiting it again several times during the course of the game.
    • Also applies when you find a leaflet for the brothel in the famously asexual Tesla's study. Guess who’s allies with the rebels?
  • Cutscene Boss: Several of the boss fights in the game (including the fight against the first Elder 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.
  • Developer's Foresight: Enemies will comment if you hide or even retreat.
  • 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. The coach gun also seems to fire incendiary ammo; Galahad even comments the rebels must be crazy to fight using them on a hydrogen-based airship.
  • 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: Steampunk 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: The Colt Dragoon. Percival receives one early on, and it passes on to Galahad later in the game. You can use it in game; it'll kill pretty much anything in one shot to the upper torso, 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: Armored soldiers wear full metal plate armor that lets them soak up more than a full mag of full auto rifle fire; they either charge your position with shotguns or use heavy weapons like the thermite rifle or the grenade launcher.
  • 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 Arthur Conan Doyle.
    • There's also a cameo appearance by Charles Darwin as a Lord of Westminster.
    • 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. He even vandalizes a picture of him in his lab to make him look like a devil.
    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" Remark 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. Though it is heavily implied from how he looks at it before he ditches it is that it broke or he ran out of ammo.
    • The whole latter half of the game is spurred into happening by Galahad's single shortsighted decision.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Many of the guns featured in the game were introduced long after 1886 in Real Life.
  • 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. Though it is implied it only had unlimited ammo for that part and him ditching it is because he ran out of ammo.
  • 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. Although a bit less straightforward example than usual, with the prosecution being split between intentionally false accusations, 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 subplots 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. It kills in one shot and doesn't need to be aimed as long as you're pointing in the general direction of the enemy, making it great for blind-firing from cover.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: You stumble upon a man having relations with a prostitute in a sex scene when you visit the whorehouse early in the game.
  • The Mentor: Sir Perceval, who originally mentored Galahad and is a key part of the Order. True to the trope, he is killed.
  • 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/Sir Lucan 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 Alastair's shenanigans in the name of maintaining societal stability, and also because Lucan is his adopted son.
  • Monster Progenitor: The Half-Breeds are turned monsters, while "Purebloods" are more powerful monsters who were born that way in ancient times and responsible for the creation of the Half-Breeds. By the time the game takes place the Purebloods are thought to be almost extinct. However, it turns out they've actually infiltrated the highest levels of the British government under the guise of the United India Company.
  • Monumental Damage: Crystal Palace is destroyed when the United India Company airship drops down on it.
  • 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".
  • Nintendo Hard: Regenerating health, hide behind cover, easy-peasy, right? Nope. Enemies will storm cover with powerful shotguns and throw grenades to smoke you out, and your health regenerates slowly enough that enemies can easily keep up the pressure. Not only that, most cover is destructible. If that weren't enough, the game rations ammo and constantly forces you to switch weapons as you play through the level, forcing you to switch tactics depending on the weapons and their benefits and drawbacks.
  • 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.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: All of the knights of the Order appear to have unique uniforms, most notably the main four knights, who have very different designs between them, ranging from Galahad's Badass Longcoat to Igraine's dress-like battle uniforms.
  • Noodle Incident: There's quite a lot of background character information given out this way, either via direct dialogue, or through various collectibles.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The Rebel leader Lakshmi refers to her bodyguard as "daughter" even though they appear to be the same age. it turns out she's an "unofficial" Knight of the Order as well, having been granted Blackwater by the lost knight Sir Bors who disappeared hundreds of years ago.
  • 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 an Elder/Pureblood), but it is unknown if he is weakened during the daylight hours.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Given the Victorian-esque setting it was pretty much inevitable. They seem aware of their alternate selves, and the more powerful ones are even fully able to speak while transformed. The game calls them Lycans.
  • 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 "gun-toting, 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. Most of these effects also significantly reduce the processing power required to render the game.
  • 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.
    • Or that Lucan is a Lycan.
  • 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.
  • Real Is Brown: The entire game looks like it was viewed through a sepia filter, even the red-coats' uniforms appear dull red.
  • 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.
  • Steampunk: 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.
  • Unique Enemy: Despite playing such a large role in the plot and in cutscenes, you only fight werewolves in 3 separate fights in the entire game (each time about 3 werewolves per fight), plus the 2 QTE boss fights. Most of the game is spent shooting up other humans.
  • 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.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: From Igraine's tone it sounds like she would love to retire from the Order and be with Grayson.
  • 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.