At the time of this writing, details on “The Order: 1886” have just been leaked on YouTube, and most of the discussion going on about the game is centered around its length; currently rumored to be between 3 and 5.5 hours. By posting time (Sunday), the reviews will have been out for a couple of days and plenty of eager player will have gotten to experience the game first hand. Until then, we’ll be talking about the supposed shortness of the game and will be resisting the urge to judge the game based on it’s length. Should we though?
At $60 each, buying games isn’t exactly cheap. So we as players are always on the lookout for those games that look like they’ll be worthy of that kind of cost of entry. Many of us feel that the more ‘game’ we get for our dollar, the better that same dollar has been spent. So when a highly anticipated game like The Order: 1886 is rumored to be much shorter than your average game, it’s understandable that its value would be called into question. This is a triple-A game after all. One would think that a developer with the time, manpower, and publisher support enough to make such a game would at least be able to hit the 12-hour mark that most major games manage to achieve. If The Order is not in fact hitting that mark, then we can’t help but wonder; not just if there’s something wrong with the game that’s caused it to be so short, but whether or not a short game in this modern generation is even worth buying. Is it? Well, I’d say it depends.
I can’t help but think back to many of the games I enjoyed back in the early days of my time as a gamer. Games like Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario 64 were probably among the most notable of them (I say among because there are sooo many more excellent games from that time!). Compared to many if not most games to be released in the following generations, these are all on the relatively short side. In fact, someone who knows what they’re doing could easily beat any of them in a few hours. Yet, in their case the length doesn’t matter. Of course it’s an attitude that could be attributed to simply writing off the length as a product of the times. Games were much more limited in the early- to mid-90’s than they are in 2015. Still I don’t think that’s quite it. Each of the games I listed aren’t just considered good, they’re held up as classics, as some of the finest games ever produced! If we collectively had an attitude of forgiving them for their length, I doubt they would be enjoyed such lofty status and praise in this day and age. No, there’s something else about them that sets them as a cut above the rest; and I believe that that something is the sense that they achieved their goals.
Each of these games can be considered relatively short, even compared to other games of their time like Chrono Trigger or even Super Metroid. Yet for those that have played them, their short length doesn’t register as much of an issue. I think that this is because games like Super Mario World achieve exactly what they set out to do. They offer a solid experience for the duration of our time with them, and while we often wouldn’t say no to more, their conclusion still leaves us feeling like it was time (and money) well spent.
A short game need not necessarily be bad, it’s really just a matter of whether or not it achieves its goals. If it does, chances are we’ll want to hang onto it and share the fun. If it doesn’t…well we all know how that goes don’t we? Will The Order: 1886 be good even if it is on the short side? Well, I don’t know…I suppose that remains to be seen. What I don know is that until it’s released, a relatively short play time doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
What’s your take on The Order:1886? If you’ve played it, what are your impressions of it? How does length factor into your opinion of a game?