Level: Airship
Level: Blackwall Yard
Level: Embankment
Level: Catacombs

Chapter 9: An Uneasy Alliance

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Timeline of the level
  • Galahad and Lakshmi arrive via tunnel

  • They use scaffolding to reach street level

  • Lakshmi climbs over a gate; they get separated

  • Galahad takes out the sniper threatening Lakshmi

  • Galahad protects and reunites with Lakshmi

  • They cross through a ship under construction

  • They finally reach the shipping warehouse

  • Lakshmi reveals the vampires in UIC crates

  • They set fire to the warehouse

  • The warehouse burns; they battle UIC and Lycans


 
Final Analysis

Blackwall Yard—like many of The Order: 1186's longer chapters—is a bit of a mixed bag, depending on what part you're looking at.

Though it might have made certain development processes easier to have more indoor sections, the vast outdoor areas really bring an indescribable sense of being a real place.  The time of day certainly sticks in your mind as well, the way the morning sun (yes, it's supposed to be morning, not evening) gives everyhing a high-saturation uniformity and creates stark shadows.



The level's combat sequences are rarely perfect, but each one is distinct from the previous fight and most present experiences that are unique to the rest of the game.  I enjoy the alternating sequences alongside Lakshmi and separated from her.  I think she's given enough "screen time" and enough to do to help Galahad to feel like a developed character.



Many of the custom sequences don't work all that well for me.  They seem contrived (Galahad's restorative potion doesn't kick in while he's limping, but he's completely back to normal as soon as the door is closed?) or simply unpolished and "game-y" (how the "leap and I'll grab you" sequence comes about).

But it keeps moving.  Walking sequences give way to climbing sequences which flow into combat and into playable cinematics and back again.  Again, the variety and creativity behind the pacing overcomes many of the flaws for me.



The bit I'd most want to re-do are some of the fights in the early-middle part of the level (around the Thermite Rifle guard, and the one in the mini-warehouse with the ladder (which I talked about here in terms of the elevated thin cover not working well)), which just feel cramped for how much work they're being asked to do.

The best sequence, in my opinion, is the gunplay in the burning warehouse—gaming as a genre is better when we're able to pull off unforgettable moments like that.



Overall, it's an ambitious ride that tries to have it all and succeeds in getting more right than wrong.  That describes some of my favorite entertainment.



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