Until Dawn and The Order: 1886 share a lot in common.
- Both games are PS4 exclusives released in 2015.
- Each title faced delays before they were finally released.
- While Until Dawn is strongly based in horror elements and choice-based mechanics, both games feature quick-time events and story-driven gameplay.
These number of similarities are shared between the titles, but there remains a large difference that separates the two games is how they were received at launch.
Until Dawn debuted last week to generally great scores from most major reviewers, while The Order: 1886 was seen as underwhelming from the general consensus. Both games look gorgeous and feature phenomenal production values. So, where did Until Dawn go right where The Order didn’t?
The Meaning of Collectibles
One large criticism of The Order: 1886 was the restrictions placed in the breathtaking world that developer Ready at Dawn created. Players could only go where the developer wanted you to and the setting was largely underutilized. Players can pick things up and put them down, and that’s about it. Some of the items you picked up are “collectibles,” but fail to add any real meaning to the story, resulting in a game that simply doesn’t respect the player’s time put into collecting each document, object, or phonograph. To add to this offense, The Order: 1886 doesn’t come equipped with any way to track which of these items you have or have not collected, making finding them even more of a chore.
Until Dawn is by no means a game that is built around exploration, but the objects that are presented for the player to find give real meaning and depth to the story, adding clues to the real tale behind the mysteries of the mountain. Even beyond just helping solve the game’s mystery, is, finding certain objects in Until Dawn changes how you see the story play out. Lines of dialogue change depending on which clues you’ve found, going as far as to impact the way the characters interact. It takes multiple play throughs to realize it, but it’s fascinating to see how these collectibles literally change how you and the characters understand what is happening.
After a single play through of The Order: 1886, there was generally no real reason to venture back into the world again. As long as you were awake and looking at the screen when you played, you probably saw all the game had to offer and all there was to do, leaving you with nothing to stop you from taking the game to GameStop the day after you bought it to get back some of your money.
When it comes to Until Dawn, there’s no possible way to see all of Until Dawn in a single play through. Those who are articulate and careful can probably get by with two play throughs at the minimum, that is, if they’re being careful the first time around. But even then, as the game is based on the choices you make, it’s interesting to watch how it adapts and changes in small and large ways after you compare different choices you make.
Making use of Quick-Time Events
Quick-time events are often received poorly by the gaming community, and The Order: 1886 proved just that by using them in just about every single way possible, even in spots that probably didn’t require them. QTEs are used in boss fights, in cutscenes, to open doors, etc. and it does a great job at using QTEs to take you out of the world and remind you that you’re playing a video game.
While Until Dawn contains its fair share of QTEs, they don’t feel out of place. They often occur while you’re running down the hallway as Sam, and you are presented with 5 seconds to choose to keep running or hide behind a door, all the while having no idea which way is your best bet. The speed at which you must perform the QTEs makes them meaningful and gives you a sense of urgency and tension, similar to the feelings shared by the characters in the game. Fail a QTE in Until Dawn? You might die. Fail a QTE in The Order? You’ll just do it again.