Is The Order: 1886 Worth Buying?

Ben Stegner 23-02-2015

It’s fairly common knowledge that most video game launch titles are nothing special. Though some launch games have been amazing 4 Video Game Console Launch Games That Were Actually Good Every once in a while, the stars line up and a launch game hits the market that's actually good. It's a rare occurrence indeed, and one that doesn't seem like it's going to happen on... Read More , usually the power of the new system hasn’t been fully realized yet and as such the games are underwhelming.


Enter The Order: 1886, a PS4 exclusive that wowed audiences when announced, and had many gamers hoping it would be the must-have game that made waiting for a PS4 Why Next-Generation Games Consoles Can Wait [Opinion] The current generation of home games consoles - the Wii, the PS3, and the Xbox 360 - have all been with us for some time. This seventh-generation began in 2005 with the release of the... Read More worth it. Is it that landmark title? Read on and find out.

[Content Warning: The Order: 1886 is rated Mature and this review contains clips of graphic violence and strong language.]

Meet The Order

The Order: 1886 takes place, unsurprisingly, in the year 1886. However, it’s an alternate version of the past from the one we know, and this portrayal of London is under constant threat of Half-Breeds, creatures that are both human and animal. The centuries took their toll 7 Historical Websites That Let Us Go Back & Take Another Peek At History Read More , and the humans couldn’t overpower these beasts.

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We’re dropped into the story of The Order, an ancient group of Knights founded by King Arthur that have the upper hand against the monsters thanks to Blackwater. This mysterious liquid not only heals wounds at an incredible pace, but also allows those who drink it to live for far longer than normally possible.


Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, The Order has further gained ground in their quest for protection – in The Order‘s imagining of the age, engineering has advanced more quickly, providing wireless communication 4 Reasons Why Wireless Internet Is the Future Before the era of smartphones, we've always been used to getting our internet from good old cables, whether it be phone lines, broadband cable, or DSL. While those were pretty good options when they first... Read More , electricity-based weapons, and fully automatic weapons.

You control the current Sir Galahad (The Order’s Knights pass their names onto those who succeed them), whose real name is Grayson. You have a few fellow members that accompany you along the way, but like Galahad, they’re mostly forgettable. You won’t find any relationship-building or major character development in The Order. Galahad, while generic, isn’t quite as bad as the string of angry dude protagonists we’ve seen in recent years of gaming (Aiden Pearce of Watch_Dogs is the perfect example of this), but he comes close.

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Obviously I won’t go any further into the story here, but suffice it to say that The Order plays it safe when it comes to the tale. Nothing particularly exciting happens, the ending isn’t satisfying or epic, and I honestly had trouble keeping some of the similar-looking characters straight. But story doesn’t make a game, as long as the gameplay is solid. Unfortunately…


The Cutscene: 1886

There’s no way to put this nicely, so I’m just going to say it: The Order boils down gameplay to its absolute minimum, making it hardly recognizable, and this is its biggest offense. There are 16 chapters in this game, and four of them (that’s 25%!) consist of only cutscenes. To be fair, game cutscenes can be enjoyable 4 Sites to Watch & Download Video Game Cutscenes Online Read More and add to the atmosphere – the Uncharted series does this quite well. But while Uncharted keeps a fine line between movie and video game, The Order goes way overboard.

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Besides the fact that a quarter of the game’s chapters involve just watching cutscenes, the cinematics are pervasive through the entire game. For instance, you might start a chapter (after watching eight minutes of cinematics from the previous chapter’s ending) in a sewer right in front of a ladder. As soon as you walk up to the ladder and press Triangle, the game takes over while you watch Galahad climb up and then exchange some dialogue with his comrades. I’m not kidding: this game is ridiculous with taking the reins away from you. At most, 50% of the game consists of you actually being in control; some of the cutscenes run for ten minutes straight.

Speaking of pressing Triangle, let’s talk about what the actual gameplay consists of. Previously mentioned Uncharted is a good comparison: The Order is a cover-based third-person shooter like the former. Both are extremely linear, meaning there’s not a whole lot of exploring to do; you’ll be following the path and shooting enemies the entire time.


The gunplay is fine and while the weapons aren’t that varied, there are a few standouts, such as the arc-lightning gun that lets you zap enemies and the blaster that shoots thermal gel than can then be ignited. It’s standard content that anyone who’s played a third-person shooter before won’t be amazed by, but it isn’t bad. Nicola Tesla provides many of the tools you utilize, which is a neat little historical bit.

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Press X to Do Stuff

When you’re not shooting enemies from cover, you’ll be put through endless quick time events (QTEs). If you’re not familiar with these, QTEs require you to press a button when the screen tells you to or else you die. Typically, you have limited control when you’re in one, so it’s about as engaging as playing Rock Band with a controller.

For some reason, The Order‘s developers thought that it was a good idea to build their entire game around QTEs, and it shows. Nearly every action you perform, including moving debris, opening boxes, and pulling chains, involves you mashing the X button to help Galahad along. The game’s pathetic excuse for a boss fight (and the “final boss,” which is a clone of the boss about halfway through) is one big QTE: you have to press buttons to attack when told, and tilt the control stick to dodge when the screen says so.


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Adding to the problem is the fact that this game doesn’t graphically differentiate between cutscenes and “gameplay.” Unlike most games, where you can tell when you’re in a cutscene and aren’t expected to be doing anything, The Order will randomly require you to press a button or align your control stick with a point on an attacker’s body in time to defend yourself when you aren’t even expecting it. This leads to frustrating deaths and a constant nervous feel during cutscenes, and it’s just plain irritating. For more on why QTEs are awful, JonTron’s video is a must-view (language warning).

More Aggravation

Little things about The Order make it even worse. Since the game is linear, there’s almost no reason to explore. However, the best linear games, like BioShock Infinite, still give the player different ways to plan attacks and have secrets hidden off the path. All you get in this game are objects that you can tilt the control stick to look at, along with some newspaper headlines, documents, and audio recordings that you won’t care about. While BioShock made you want to discover its audio logs to learn more about its fascinating world, The Order‘s “collectibles” serve as mere distractions and don’t add anything to the environment.

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When I reviewed The Evil Within, one of my gripes was the game’s odd decision to use a widescreen aspect ratio, meaning that black bars take up the top and bottom parts of the screen. Amazingly, The Order does the same thing! I can’t begin to understand why game developers are doing this, as it makes turning the camera awkward and it makes it hard to tell where threats are coming from – not to mention it utilizes less of your screen. Another small pain is that you can’t change the safe area of the heads-up display (HUD), so every time instructions come on the screen they’re cut off. Why wasn’t this made an option?

The game is also way too easy, even on Medium. Deaths were usually due to control issues or stupid cutscene QTEs I didn’t realize were happening, but even so, I died no more than a dozen times.

There is absolutely no replayability with this game, something I also criticized The Evil Within for. While that game at least has a New Game Plus mode and an unlockable super-tough difficulty, The Order gives you nothing. You don’t get challenge missions, a harder game for the second time through, multiplayer; nothing. Once you finish this game, you’ve seen it all.

And don’t worry, you’ll finish it quickly. A week before launch, a clip of The Order surfaced showing someone finishing the game in five hours. While he was simply rushing from cutscene to cutscene, a normal playthrough isn’t much better. I finished the game in roughly seven hours; for a full-price game, this is absolutely pathetic. A game doesn’t have to be lengthy to be great, but for a game with nothing other than the main course, The Order needed to be longer. If this game featured no cutscenes or quick time events, you could probably finish it in less than three hours.

The Short Order

The Order: 1886 isn’t a bad game; the problem is that it’s not a good game, either. The shooting is solid, but it’s not exciting. The plot is generic. You’re shepherded through the entire experience, even to the point of the game placing an icon on the next door you need to open. The game is so stupidly short that it’s practically over before it begins. It plays like an interactive movie 10 Interactive Movies You Can Watch and Control Online Here are several of the best interactive movies you can watch and control online right in your web browser. Read More . There’s just nothing fun about this video game.

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It’s not all bad. The graphics truly are a sight to behold (there’s a reason you can’t tell the difference between cutscene and “gameplay”), the voice acting is well-done, and the technologically advanced London is interesting – it’s definitely not a period games are typically set in. Seeing Tesla’s inventions is cool, and little touches like Galahad holstering his weapon and putting his hand on his blade when preparing for a stealth kill are neat.

The problem is that these details are overshadowed by the poor “gameplay” – to perform a stealth kill, you have to press Triangle at just the right second based on a prompt. It’s frustrating to die not because you weren’t stealthy, but because you didn’t know when you’d be required to press a button.

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This scene really sums up why the game fails so miserably. Everything looks great on paper, but The Order is essentially you moving a character from cutscene to cutscene using quick time events, with some shooting thrown in as a distraction. It’s a shame, and it seems that 2014’s terrible trend of over-hyping games that end up as major disappointments (Titanfall, Watch_Dogs, Destiny) is bleeding into 2015. Let’s hope it ends.

Do not buy The Order: 1886. $60 for a game that lasts seven hours is inexcusable, and what’s inside barely passes as gameplay anyway. If you have to play it, rent it for a few bucks Video Game Rentals: Where Can You Borrow Your Fun? Video games are awesome, but buying them all brand-new can get expensive. Save some money with these rental options. Read More and you can finish it in a weekend – or borrow it from some poor soul who paid full price for it.

It’s been said a lot by this point, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it here: please stop pre-ordering video games. Publishers try to get everyone excited to play their new game before they even know anything about it, and the pre-order bonuses are supposed to make buying the game six months before it comes out worth it. It isn’t, as anyone who pre-ordered this game now knows. Wait a few days until reviews come out; you really aren’t missing anything and you could end up saving big. Let’s join together to stop this trend.

Don’t get burned by The Order: check out other steampunk inspired games Can't Wait for The Order: 1886? Play These Other Steampunk Games Instead Steampunk is a recognizable aesthetic characterized by steam power and Victorian fashion. Love the look? Play these games! Read More  instead. Even better, try out some of the best platformer games of all time Top 20 Platformer Games Of All Time With thousands of video games, where do you start when you want to play the best? Here's our definitive guide on the best 20 platformers of all time. Read More and enjoy a video game that actually lets you play!

What do you think of The Order? Were there any redeeming qualities that demand a second look, or does this game serve only to kick off a disappointing 2015? Give your thoughts in the comments!

Related topics: PlayStation 4, Video Game Review.

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  1. Anonymous
    December 4, 2015 at 2:26 am

    I don't understand why this game is getting hated on so much. Not every game is going to please everyone. But I can guarantee that there a lot of people who ACTUALLY DON'T want to have to play a game for a ridiculous amount of hours to beat it. I'm so SICK of games pushing insane amounts of hours to come to a conclusion. And I often find myself not wanting to play games anymore because all the developers have been making games feel more like a tedious task or a feeling of being back in school and having insane amounts of home work to do. I LOVE games for cutscenes and I LOVE games with QTE and I LOVE good graphics (which this game goes WAYYYYyyyyyy beyond 'good'), and I highly like games to have great voice overs and extra added sound effects for nice effects to surround sound (like the chiming of old school clocks with an owl 'hooing' opposite side of room, or the sound of rain splashing on a distant window and cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning etc.). THIS GAME HAS AND DOES ALL THIS WITH PERFECTION! I'm so gald that there are still developers who make games like these and knows there are still a lot of gamers out there like me who appreciate these games for what they do and what they are. I wish other game develooers would Stop giving me games where I waste hours doing RPG like effects in games leveling up weapons or powers, or wasting my life away with tons of written dialogue, and espescially stop giving me games that I can't enjoy because I'm too worried about missing little items that will help me progress or unlock things, I WANT TO VISUALLY AND FREELY ENJOY MY GAME without having to stop and 360 my character around every nook and cranny. THANK YOU ORDER 1886 crew for avoiding all the things I HATE in games and providing me with all the things I LOVE in games!!!

    I think the developers of this game should make a dope 'one of a kind' statue of a Half-breed mauling down on some dudes neck with him wearing a shirt that says HATERS. Award it to me at the next game convention so I can help give this game the real praise it deserves. And make me a replica of one of the cool weapons so I can use on all the ither haters and people crying about ten hours of perfection instead of thirty hours of homework.

  2. stevo
    March 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I dunno,I kind of enjoyed the order,all your points are valid,it could have been better if it was longer,had less q.t.e's etc but I still found it to be a quite enjoyable game.
    to be fair the only game to blow me away on ps4 is the last of us(I'm an xbox convert) and shadow of mordor.
    But for me after years of halo,and gears etc Zzzzz,it's nice to try something that's a bit different

  3. Christopher Sadlowski
    March 8, 2015 at 7:05 am

    My husband's going to be SO disappointed! He kept seeing commercials for this game and I could see the sparks shooting out of his head every time one ended. It sucks too. I made him save cash (sad that I need to teach a 39 year old how to save for the things one wants!) in an envelope and we got the PS4 at a GREAT deal with a trade-in of his PS3, even having extra cash left over expecting to pay full price. The PS4 sits there doing nothing really, and we either game on my custom gaming PC I built last year and my PS3 SuperSlim we kept. What the hell is going on!? I agree with the no pre-ordering garbage that I'm frankly shocked is still happening. Guess they're sinking their claws into the young kids who don't know any better and who are too stubborn to listen to us dumb adults. Oh and Destiny...what a load of garbage that game was too! Another WONDERFUL purchase my loving husband made. He even thought buying the DLC was going to make the game better before my eyes popped out of my head from frustration...glad I got my message across that you "DON'T BUY THINGS YOU WON'T PLAY! AHHH! I'M SATAN!!" Needless to say it's been a few months and the game sits on the shelf doing nothing...the new console generation is really disappointing me.

    • Ben S
      March 9, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      It's a shame, because I totally understand being super excited for a game and having it be terrible when you finally get it.

      I'm sorry you have been burned more than once with these marketing ploys.

  4. Bill
    March 4, 2015 at 3:46 am

    I found this article after finishing the game a few days after I bought it. I went right to the computer to see if that was it? I couldn't believe that was it! It was one of the reasons I went with PS4 instead of Xbox One. I completely agree with what you said. Waited all this time for a game that lasted me a few days (I was taking my time thinking I would have it for a while), NOT! Awesome graphics, but little to no gameplay or anything else. And what happened to Lord what's his nuts, the vampire? I didn't even get to kill him.

    • Ben S
      March 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      I didn't take my time since I was playing to get the review done, but I certainly wasn't speedrunning either. This was a disappointment, plain and simple. Hopefully the rest of 2015 doesn't follow this miserable saga.

  5. crisro
    March 3, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Well , good thing i didnt buy it

    • Ben S
      March 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Glad you waited, huh?

  6. Ash
    February 26, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Dull experiences? AC: Black Flag, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Farcry 4, The Last of Us, GTA:V, Shadow of Mordor.... Theres plenty of games worth buying, at least on Ps4. Don't own an XB1 so i can't say anything bout that.

    • McFuzz
      February 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Wait. Are you saying these are dull experiences or 'games worth buying'?

      Whichever camp you decide on, every single one of those games are not only Non-exclusive to the console, but available on the previous generation of consoles, which everyone interested in console gaming already has either PS3 or Xbox 360. If that's an argument for 'PS4 has a good games catalog', well, I'm not buying it.

      As a PS3 owner, I have all of those games on my PS3 and have had good experiences with a lot of them, with zero issues. Makes buying a PS4, at $600, a bit of a silly option. All it enables me to do is play old, remade games at higher pixel-counts and gives me access to 'timeless classics' like Order 1886 and DriveClub. Oh, but, of course, you have to pay an online fee for multiplayer! Nah. PS3 still works, kthx.

      • eden
        May 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        It seems like the PS3 has more appreciation in hindsight, because it was heavily criticized before. It didn't have nearly as good a library of games as the PS2, PS4 hasn't been as good either but Ii think it improved over PS3.

    • Ben S
      March 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Ash, every game you mentioned is either a remaster or is available on all four big systems, as Fuzz said. I loved The Last Of Us and I played it for the first time on PS4, but I wouldn't exactly call it a killer app for the PS4.

      It's exciting to get exclusives (LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted), but when they're lousy like this it's disappointing. Indies are taking the PS4 so far in my opinion.

  7. Dann Albright
    February 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I got the feeling from your Facebook post that this was going to be a negative review, but I thought I'd finish the game before I read it, hoping that I'd be able to disagree with you. But you're right on with everything in this review. Way too short, lots of boring QTEs, a ridiculous number of cutscenes . . . I liked the story (always been a big fan of this sort of story myself), but I barely got into it before the game was over. And the boss fight was super lame. I couldn't believe it was the boss fight. Like you said, it was exactly the same as one from the mid-game.

    I have a pre-order on MKX, but that'll likely be the last game I pre-order. Supposedly I got access to something called The Knight's Arsenal DLC with my pre-order . . . but I have no idea what that is. Do I already have it? Is it coming up? I have no idea.

    All in all, I'd say The Order would be phenomenal . . . if it was the tutorial section of a game. A few firefights to get you the hang of the controls, a few QTEs against half-breeds, and then some real gaming. Alas, not this time.

    Fantastic review—you got it spot on!

    • Ben S
      February 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      I'm glad you didn't like it, Dann, but sad you had to play it yourself. I appreciate you finishing it first to form your own opinion though!

      I got that DLC too (I pre-ordered digitally once I knew I was going to be doing the review so I could pre-load the game and be ready) and here, I had to download it separately. That was annoying, but once I noticed it and downloaded it all I can see that it added was a few alternate costumes with a specific weapon. If you go into "The Armoury" in the pause menu you should be able to see them. Else it's greyed out the whole game I think.

      I hate to be overly harsh, but this game deserves it. It was simply dreadful.

  8. Mark
    February 24, 2015 at 9:50 am

    One of the best reviews I've ever read about this game. Straight to the point!

    • Ben S
      February 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks Mark! I wanted to be frank about it, but also explain why this one is such a miss other than its length. Thanks for reading!

  9. McFuzz
    February 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I am so glad the right person reviewed this. We have so many people these days that will cling with nail and tooth to the new generation consoles, absolutely INSISTING that the games are the next big thing. We're two years in and they're still 2 desolate platforms with really pretty games and shallow, dull experiences.

    Halo 4 is in my bad books for its ending battle being a QTE against the Didact, who was a crap villain to start with. As opposed to the intense, timed, exploding-spaceship escape from the first Halo game, it's entirely disgraceful that even that series fell so far. It makes me cringe for Halo 5, on top of the "Post-match Bro-downs" that make my skin crawl.

    The gaming bigs need a serious shove in the right direction. The only decent games on the 'graphics-over-gameplay' consoles are remakes from last generation. There are no amazing new exclusives that tried something new (Like Wonderful 101, and example of QTE's I really like that deserve to be there and add to the experience). The transitional year has turned into transitional YEARS. Remaking The Last Of Us (As good of a game as it is) and Grant Theft Auto 5 one year after release is absolutely apalling. Resident Evil 1 has even made its way onto the console. What? Why not a new RE game, or a spin off? Because the only games that are decent quality are ones that weren't pressured to make the graphics pretty and the gameplay safe on release.

    There is no room for people who are passionate about games anymore, because it's become an industry of making money and appealing to the widest market. We need to lose our fetishization for high-quality graphics, before we entirely forget that we're making videogames and not movies.

    TL;DR - Go buy a Wii-U instead.

    • Ben S
      February 23, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      I appreciate your thoughts, and I like what you had to say about appealing to the widest market. It's saddening how new games are all about marketing and pre-order hype instead of the company taking pride in their work and making amazing games for us to enjoy.

      AAA gaming has been leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many lately. Let's hope it doesn't become permanent.

  10. phalae
    February 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Hello Ben S,
    So, IMO, you shouldn't start this sentence with this argument ! :p
    "Do not buy The Order: 1886. $60 for a game that lasts seven hours is inexcusable..."
    It is, in fact, excusable ;)

    • Ben S
      February 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      I think you're focusing on a small part of my overall argument. I had to sum the whole thing up in a few sentences, and that was one of the things I chose to highlight. It's not the whole story, and it's particularly inexcusable because the seven hours aren't even slightly enjoyable.

  11. phalae
    February 23, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    So a 90min movie is obviously worst than a 120min ?
    How long a game is, isn't argument in 2015... !

    • Ben S
      February 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Your analogy is totally invalid. I never said anything about movies; a movie only needs to be long enough to tell its story. Games are totally different.

      Furthermore, i made several points on why this game is poor other than its length. I specifically said that short length does not mean a game is bad, but if it's short the content wherein needs to be dense and fun. This game was the exact opposite.

      Finally, the year is a totally irrelevant matter. Shovel Knight came out last year, was about five hours, and it's absolutely amazing.

      My review didn't focus on the length of The Order.

  12. cptpicard
    February 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I was burned pre-ordering "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel". I loved the first and second games, and thought that the Pre-Sequel would be a slam dunk. It was terrible. I had to force myself to finish it, just because I had paid for it. Very disappointing game. I hadn't learned my lesson though, because I also pre-ordered Thief. Which was just the worst. No more pre-orders for me!

    • Ben S
      February 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      I love video games, but I'm becoming increasingly despaired with them lately. Between the cesspool of awful free-to-wait games on mobile and rushed, broken AAA titles, I'm glad I have a backlog of PS3 games I missed out on the first time around to play.

      This is seriously the big PS4 exclusive we get? It's pathetic.

  13. Matthew Hughes
    February 23, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Sounds terrible. But just be glad you weren't forced to make an in-app payment just to complete the bloody thing, as is the case with most games in 2015.

    • Ben S
      February 23, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      That's the one thing about this game that I can say: it at least works. No awful bugs, no deleted saves, and no forced third-party sign-in garbage before you play.

      No in-app purchases at all, or DLC that I've heard of, but being this is single-player only it makes sense.

      This game is miserable.

    • Alec Lounds
      March 2, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      the game is not terrible half of this review is flawed all the way down to weapon description. Really man?, "blaster gun"... its called the thermite rifle and it shoots thermite pellets and flares to ignite said thermite. this is not the only flaw in this review as there is exploration to the game, albeit not much but it is notable as finding all of the easter eggs and backstory wax cylinders are NOT easy to find. the game may be short but do not be swayed that the game is terrible it was gorgeous and very satisfying story wise leading perfectly into a sequel. i would agree with one thing that you might want to wait to buy the game at a lower price to obtain the bang for your buck.

    • Ben S
      March 9, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Alec, does my description of the guns really affect the game's quality? There's no need to go in-depth on minute details that won't affect people's decisions.

      You seriously cannot call this game's objects "exploration." You never wander more than a few seconds off the path, even if you want to. You're herded along the entire time.

      I don't understand how this game's story could be considered good, but it definitely does lend itself well for a sequel, which isn't a surprise. Maybe the developers will actually make a game you can control next time. I certainly won't be buying it.

      • eden
        May 8, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        I don't think calling the game short or that it's an interactive movie is really good criticism. There are lots of games that are popular that play out just like that.

        • eden
          May 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm

          If it's true that the gameplay is bad that's different, but you seemed to put an emphasis on the game being too cut scene heavy, which I don't think is a bad thing.