Hey guys, and welcome, as this will be a bit different since I’m hardly do much writing on the blogs on Destructoid much, I wanted to put a lot more effort in writing more about games here, and also offer insight about what I thought was an impressive hour long playing of FunCom’s latest upcoming MMO, The Secret World. Also, I don’t actually have video footage of me playing the game since I didn’t actually play it on my computer, but instead, I was offered by my friend Ann to use her beta weekend access to play, take screens and give my insight and overall impressions. And to cap it off, I have to say, this game, is probably going to be a Buy for me.
First off, I’m not an MMOer, a person who is obsessed with playing massive multiplayer online games. I never played WoW on a month to month basis after trying it, never played Everquest, or Conan, or Aeon or any of the many MMOs you have to pay for. The only one I can say that falls under this that I’ve played a lot and I wait for it’s sequel is Guild Wars. It has an interesting story, many types of characters right off the bat, and even with outdated graphics, the game looks very nice. But with all games like WoW and company, the premise is pretty much the same, as well as the gameplay. I even stopped from going to play The Old Republic after admitting I was doing that on Day 0. I was even part of the closed beta right before the game was released and I still didn’t do it. I liked the game, but it still didn’t justify having to pay for it each month. And I know why it’s done, and why it’s required, but I wished for some option to enjoy these games without needing to have to fork $15 a month to do it. Nowadays, many popular MMOs have gone to offering free to play until a certain level, or even as much as offering it completely free, and money is earned from in-game purchases. You could do this also on the ones you pay for as well like WoW to further add content or add some swag to your character, but that is just to get more profit from a game that is massive and filled with users that are constantly in it. But with WoW being a fad that is not getting much attention nowadays, other companies, like FunCom, are taking advantage of offering something familiar, but with something new and completely riveting, that it took me, showed me and is for now, gotten me very interested.
I’ve always been fond of stories about monsters, different dimensions, the unseen, the ocult, and also many elements of story telling like secret societies, horror, and science fiction as well. The Secret World takes this all into it’s universe and turns it into something rather amazing to see and hear about. Because the voice work done in MMOs is something new and introduced by SWTOR, I felt immersed by the voice acting and the overall story from the start. No reading everything, almost no dialog and even during conversations with NPCs, they are always fun to hear. But I’ve gotten a bit ahead; you start by selecting the society you want to represent and they are all part of another kind of secret world. A world were it’s made of man, but you will never see them, and you will never know they are a part of this world, but they are there and they are powerful, influential, and most of all, ancient. Your picks are The Illuminati, The Templars, and The Dragon; I’ve quite familiar with the first 2 since they’ve been in games before like Deus Ex and Assassin’s Creed, but not the Dragon. Not at all in fact, so I decided to pick them, but as it turns out, they seem like the Yakuza a bit, but they can’t be since the Yakuza is a crime organization and everyone knows them. There is nothing secret about them, so I think this group has got old world thoughts like the Yakuza or any Asian crime gang, but they seem to have more power and influence and of course, they are members of ‘our’ Secret World.
After you customize your character, you are greeted by the opening scene of your clan, and then you are tossed into the Secret World were you discover your purpose and you start to figure out what your type of character will be via choice in another area where you can practice with each skill. But not before immersing into a flash back to explain the mechanics and to get the plot started, in which you are a part of a team where you are reliving an attack at a subway and you are introduced to the threat. I didn’t get the name of them, but they are reminiscent of Darkness, in actual form. Like in The Darkness, in which you possess the actual entity of it, here, it oozes around and creates creatures that swarm and attack and you try to stop them before they kill you. The action is rather fast and it doesn’t feel like you are waiting for a timer to reset your actions and you do get a tiny clock after you perform attacks you wait for, but most instants feel like you aren’t even waiting at all. After the flashback ends, you are told to report in for your basic training and you will be introduced to your power and your skills. I’m not spoiling what happens at the very beginning, but you are found by The Dragon because of something unique that you possess, and then you join them. During which after the previously mentioned flashback, you can go and select your main weapon and then you are greeted by the tutorials.
These tutorials are full of useful information, as they explain every little detail in the game, and show you videos of attacking, building up experience, and learning about the Passive and Active Skills system as well. Basically, you aren’t locked into a specific ability, attack type or skill, so you can swap them anytime you like, as well as shift focus from a specific skill you are working on. You are also explained that during your progression, you earn Progression and Ability Points which level you up, and also level your abilities to buff out your character to face threats with less trouble. During the start, it feels more like a personal experience and you forget that this is an MMO. Afterwards, you arrive at a world where there both an inter dimensional rift and a portal hub created by a biomechanical tree. I heard something about The Tree Of Life mentioned but the world was called Agartha, i think. From there, you see dozens of other players either hanging around or idle players not playing at the moment. Seems like these places are were most players will me, but when you travel to other worlds, other players do show up, but still, when you engage in quests, side quests and other events in the game, it becomes your experience as your screen won’t be cluttered with other characters during cut scenes.
This game feels like the atmosphere, the story and the overall gameplay is much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be and I think this might have boosted me into buying this game or pre-ordering it. However, I would like to be selected for the next beta event, and if it doesn’t happen, and Ann isn’t selected either, I will definitely give this game a go. I enjoyed the time I played, and I don’t plan on raiding, so you can look forward into seeing more of The Secret World later next month. But for now: