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The last few weeks saw a number of significant reveals for two of the gaming world’s most intriguing new titles: Watch Dogs and The Order: 1886.
Watch Dogs already has a movie adaptation in the works, and its accessibility on every console and the PC are sure to make it very popular title when it releases May 27. The Order is a major selling point for the PS4 during the ongoing console wars between Microsoft and Sony, but its exclusivity to the PS4 could also come back to bite it whenever it finally does release (Fall 2014 is the latest target).
Taking that information and all the latest chatter into account, I got to thinking: which one am I more excited for?
Here are some of the factors I considered (and you should too) when making my decision:
NOTE: It is early. A lot of the information could change (especially for The Order).
I think all of this is pretty silly. We are all a little guilty of making a mountain out of a molehill here, as gaming websites have become the resolution tabloids/paparazzi in the last few days. If The National Pixel Enquirer can find a blurry patch or dark spot in the 43rd second of the newest trailer, it can cash in on some hefty internet traffic. It is important to remember that 90% of people won’t be able to tell the difference between resolutions, and that 100% of people should be more focused on other aspects of the game.
That being said, of course the graphics and look of a game are important. This is especially true as the world transitions from one generation to another. For the next year or two, PS4 games will be judged on just how PS4-looking they are, Xbox One games will be judged on how Xbox One-looking they are, and both will be stacked up against one another.
For Watch Dogs, this is disastrous. I think we have reached that point. Ubisoft finally announced a launch date for the much-anticipated title, but they mucked it all up by also unveiling a new trailer. This new trailer highlights the storyline of the game and features high-level PS3/Xbox 360 graphics. Now, it is entirely possible that these ARE the PS3/Xbox 360 graphics, but why would Ubisoft do that?
Regardless, the images were a far cry from what we saw at the game’s E3 2012 unveiling. There are hundreds of videos comparing the differences, but I think this one does the best job:
NOTE: YouTube videos can be misleading, as the image quality can be boosted or dropped for various reasons. I found that the images in this video match up with the official Ubisoft videos.
A veteran gaming giant like Ubisoft can’t let this happen on the eve of a game launch. The original E3 video was almost certainly prepared for the PC, so just use the PC version for the new trailer. Die-hard console people would be a little mad, but by now most gamers have realized that the PC will always offer the highest graphical ceiling due to the ever-improving hardware. If the PC version WAS used in that new trailer, then people will be rioting in the streets come May.
This isn’t a death sentence, but it certainly isn’t good news either. Developers and PR people for Ubisoft have been quick to point out that the game’s story and content are way more important, and they are. However, I wouldn’t want to dance around the subject for too much longer if I were in their shoes.
The Order: 1886 is in the opposite boat. Its most recent trailer exhibited some fantastic gameplay footage and some stellar cinematics.
NOTE: I covered this video in detail here.
It looks great, but we are probably six months away from the game’s release. A lot can happen to a game’s graphics in six months; just ask the Watch Dogs team. If The Order releases lower quality video footage, they won’t be able to say that it was just a last-gen version; The Order is PS4 exclusive.
The game also received a little bit of backlash for its unconventional, widescreenish resolution. It runs at 1920 x 800p, as opposed to the unconditionally loved 1920 x 1080p. I find it pretty funny that people are saying things like “Those black strips are really distracting me from watching a clip of the best looking game I have ever seen.” Priorities, people.
Gameplay and Storyline
I will keep this short because we won’t really know all the details until the games launch.
Watch Dogs centers around a main character, Aiden Pearce, who wages a sort-of digital war against the powers that be in an alternate version of Chicago. Much of what we know about the quests and gameplay centers around Aiden’s interactions with his environment. Basically, he can hack into surveillance cameras, traffic systems, etc. to mess with his enemies and accomplish his goals.
Watch Dogs’ gameplay options are limitless. I love games where every goal can be achieved in multiple ways, and Watch Dogs seems to have that in spades. It reminds me a little of the old Hitman games, where you were given the option to just run in guns blazing, use stealth, manipulate technology, or use a disguise.
I also love the storyline. It is futuristic and exciting, but it also seems like a very conceivable series of events that could happen in my lifetime. More and more of our world is being centralized and converted to technology, so the anti-hero hacker going up against the select few in power and their supercomputer is a compelling narrative for me.
Watch Dogs will also feature multiplayer options, whereas The Order will be single-player only.
The Order: 1886 also takes place in an alternate version of a big city (London), but it takes place in the past. King Arthur and his Knights extended their lives using a magical liquid and have battled an ever-growing race of half-human half-monsters for centuries. The story picks up in the year 1886, when the tide begins to turn in the Knights’ favor after a number of technological innovations have created amazing new weapons.
Obviously, The Order makes no qualms about going for all-out fantasy storytelling, as opposed to the plausibility of Watch Dogs’ futuristic story.
The gameplay of The Order seems to be similar to the third-person shooter/action game formula of games like Tomb Raider. The taste that we got from the video featured quick-time events and a more rigid formula than the open world of Watch Dogs.
Both games could do great things in this area. We will have to wait and see.
Watch Dogs is a clear winner here. It will release several months before The Order and will be featured on all systems instead of just the PS4. Watch Dogs already has a movie in the works. Its potential to become a global phenomenon a la Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty is significantly higher than The Order’s.
The question of accessibility also makes this an easy choice for many of you. If you don’t have a PS4, you are probably more excited for Watch Dogs because it is actually attainable.
The Final Verdict
I’d give the edge to The Order so far.
Before Watch Dogs’ most recent trailer, it would have been a tie. We were all shown one thing in 2012, and now we have been shown something different. I think it is only natural to be a little worried at this point.
Many of you are probably saying “Rory, we don’t have to choose. We can just get them both.”
You’re absolutely right. You probably should just get them both. I will almost certainly get them both.
However, right now that number one game in the back of my mind is clearly The Order 1886.
What do you think? Blow up that comments section.
Originally posted to Gamer Headlines