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Editorial – The Order: 1886 – Low Review Scores, Penis Envy, and Exposing the Hypocrisy

One of the more fascinating phenomena I have experienced as a gamer occurred over the last week. When news broke that The Order: 1886 (review) was to be shorter than ten hours, the internet was on fire with negative comments about the game, and when the scores came out on Thursday morning, every gaming group was flooded with cancelled pre-orders and initial doubt.

But then something changed. Friday hit and The Order: 1886 was released to the public and everything did a complete 180. Gone were the doubt and hate, replaced by a nonstop flood of support and love for the game. But how did a game that scored so low across the board turn around be met with overwhelming support? It’s simple; what The Order: 1886 will truly be remembered for is the fact that it exposed the lack of professional training in the raging hypocrisy that is video games journalism and a slew of so-called critics who are just plain bad at their jobs. The problem is not with them not liking the game; the problem is why they didn’t like it.

Video games are expensive and it’s your money and you are free to do with it what you will. But in regards to the keyboard jockeys masquerading as journalists, they have made a grievous error with a complete lack of understanding of the craft.

Now I don’t have a legal team on retainer, so I can’t name names, but let’s take a look at some of the arguments made against the game and I will show you how each of these arguments is unsound and grossly hypocritical.

Yes, the game is short. Across the board the game was docked marks for its length. But what about Dennix? You see, there is a fantastic up-and-coming comedian named Dennix Wilson. I know Dennix, I like Dennix. Dennix only plays indie games because he only likes short games. So what about Dennix? Shouldn’t he be able to play a triple-A game? What critics have effectively done is shown they have a complete lack of understanding of an audience outside their specific tastes. Reread that sentence; it’s going to be a common theme.

When you are critiquing something, you need to consider all audiences. Just like there is a porn for all tastes, there is a market for any kind of game. It is not the critic’s job to say, “I like or don’t like this.”  It is their job to say, “This is good or bad because…” Not every game conforms to your personal tastes, but you have a job to do and that is to consider the game from all angles. It’s not your job to think about you; it’s your job to think about this game’s audience and judge a game based on its merits and if it achieves its goals. Everyone deserves a game, even Dennix.

From reading several reviews of the game, it became clear that critics went into the game with a mental checklist.

The Order 1886 - Editorial - The Order: 1886 - Low Review Scores, Penis Envy, and Exposing the Hypocrisy

There were so many cries of “It didn’t have this, it didn’t have that,” one went so far as to complain there was no load-out screen. Firstly, there is no load-out screen because the game gives you certain guns for certain situations. If you see a bolt action rifle lying around, it’s because you are about to do some long-distance shooting. But the bigger problem at play here is reviewers are trying to shove this game into a box. If it doesn’t meet their checklist, it is automatically bad. This philosophy prevents any experimentation but also exposes a major drawback of internet journalism.

One of the major tenets of journalism is: This is not about you. Journalism is about removing yourself from the situation and objectively reporting. Journalism isn’t a play thing. It isn’t for fun. Objectively reporting on ANYTHING is a serious endeavor, and thinking you are qualified to guide public opinion with absolutely no attention paid to learning the craft or its ethics is plain irresponsible. As a journalist it is your job to NOT make yourself and your tastes the star of the show.

Yes, The Order: 1886 contains male nudity. I have seen several complaints that in this game you see a penis. First of all, grow up. Secondly, it is kind of fascinating that so many men are freaking out over seeing a penis in a video game; yet, they see plenty at full attention every time they watch pornography. And don’t act like that isn’t true, because it is.

Secondly, it brings up neutrality. There are two instances of male nudity in the game, along with two instances of female nudity. In Dungeons and Dragons terms, it’s true neutral. So, I ask, what about the female and gay gamers? You got to see breasts twice; do women not get an opportunity to see the nudity they like? Do you not think they deserve it? Or do you lack such confidence in your heterosexuality that you can’t handle seeing a penis and moving on with your life? You can’t dock marks off a game because you saw something that makes you question your sexuality. You may not like dick, but there are a ton of people who do. Yet another example of how, once again, the critics failed to acknowledge that this is not about them.

The game’s story has been called into question due to the fact that it leaves several loose ends. Yes, the game introduces small sub-conflicts that are left open when the credits roll, and many have called this a detriment. My answer? Star Wars. Star Wars introduces Darth Vader in movie one, Luke does not confront him until movie two, and he doesn’t die until movie three. If Star Wars and its storyline is so beloved, why is it all of a sudden considered undesirable when it’s present in The Order?

What they are doing is setting up an epic and, by having the conflict grow over several games, causing players to have invested more interest in it. Much like the slow build to Christmas morning, the final conflict with the head Lycan will be all the more satisfying as we will have watched it grow over several chapters. This technique will be familiar to any fans of wrestling.

The Austin/McMahon feud is widely considered the greatest feud in WWE history. Did it start and end in one night? No. It was built up over several years, culminating a cage match. The Order is building an epic feud, and the fact that reviewers failed to realize this is astounding.

A lot has been said about the quick time events. As I stated above, there is an audience for everything; you need to judge the game based on the quality of its quick time events, not whether or not you in particular like quick time events.

But secondly, one reviewer complained that they kept dying during the QTE’s because they weren’t expecting them. I died maybe three times during the QTE’s, so maybe you’re just bad at video games. Aside from that, there are two solid problems with this complaint.

Firstly, the opening chapter is mostly quick time events. Right away the game establishes that it contains QTE’s. If you already know they are there, why are you putting down the controller?!?!

Secondly, we live in a post Resident Evil 4 society. Ever since that game, it is common knowledge you never put down the controller during a cutscene! The whole thing forces me to ask, “Is this your first day playing video games?”

You may disagree, and that’s fine. But I have to ask, to all of you who hate The Order: 1886, have you actually sat down and played it? Because most people who have think it’s amazing.

What do you think?

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Written by Scott Dell

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