There's no denying that Ready at Dawn's cinematic shooter, The Order: 1886, is downright beautiful. As I walk around the streets of Whitechapel, a war-torn district in the game's 1800s London setting, I can't help but take it all in. Every brick in the street, every glass window pane in a nearby building, every individual hair firmly planted in my character's sweet sideburns--all of it looks so real.
My admiration of The Order's visual fidelity is cut short once I start taking incoming fire. I dive behind some nearby cover; rebel forces (not sure what they're rebelling against, exactly, but they're shooting at me, so they must die) crop up on nearby rooftops. Cutscene. I shoot at them with my Thermite Rifle--an awesome weapon that blasts clouds of flammable smoke, which you then light on fire with the gun's secondary firing mode--and a good chunk of them fall dead. Cutscene. I regain control and start moving, but only for a second or two. Cutscene .
This pattern--move, shoot, cutscene, repeat--held true in a different demo, too. In it, Galahad, the main character, is separated from his partner in the bowels of an abandoned hospital. A creepy, scary-looking werewolf (er, Lycan, as they're referred to in-game) starts hunting him. It's a truly horrifying creature--but every time Galahad shoots at the thing for more than a few seconds, a cutscene takes over. These cutscenes are pretty set-pieces, yes, but my fear is that their visual prowess comes at the sacrifice of player control. Granted, each demo lasted a whole eight minutes, so it's entirely possible that they're vertical slices selected for the sole purpose of showcasing The Order's undeniably good looks. I really hope that's the case; as pretty as my demos were, they were a bit underwhelming to play.
Check out the following slides for more images of the game