The Secret World: Review and Gameplay: Page 2 of 12

The Secret World: Review and Gameplay
The MMO World's Best-Kept Secret


Some unlikely allies will come to your aid.

The characters of The Secret World are a diverse bunch; not just in terms of personality, but also species and plane of origin. As a fresh initiate into one of the game's three secret societies, your first contacts will all be of the human variety—strange humans, to be sure, but humans nonetheless. Pretty soon though, you will be crossing paths with angels, demons, zombies, and other, less easily-classifiable supernatural sorts.

Regardless of what skin they happen to be in, though, each the expertly-voiced cast members of The Secret World is fascinating in his/her/own right. One of my early favourites was a blonde vixen by the name of "Cassie". I met her hanging off the local leader of a cultist camp that had set up itself up on the outskirts of the zombie-infested town of Kingsmouth. The members of the cult clearly regarded her as being little more than a naive adolescent who had joined the cult as an act of rebellion against her controlling parents. Not knowing just how clever the writers of The Secret World were, I didn't think to look beyond surface appearances. It was only when a later mission in which Cassie popped up to deliver her "black kiss" (this is what the game called the status ailment that rendered my character unconscious) that I questioned my earlier impressions.

How could a runaway in a tank top and short shorts incapacitate me, a supernatural "superhero" (to quote another of Kingsmouth's few remaining youngsters)? I had to know, but the game wasn't going to make it easy on me. Some characters are regular chatterboxes, and have expansive dialogue trees for the player to click through. Others, like Cassie, only show up during cutscenes or in the heat of combat, and can't be interrogated. Exploring the game world, and paying attention to even the most insignificant-seeming detail is the only way to learn more about the characters who don't have dialogue trees, but even characters who will happily talk your off have a lot of secrets to discover.

Orochi Penthouse

The line separating friend and foe is rarely clear.

Poking around Kingsmouth, I eventually dug up all sorts of interesting Cassie-related titbits. I have to be vague in the interest of avoiding spoilers, but let's just say that she that the bloodline to which she belonged had quite the history in Kingsmouth, and she a lot less naive about what was going on than most. And there's still so much I don't know about her, including whether she's aligned with the "good guys" or the "bad guys."

On the topic of good guys and bad guys, the two are outrageously hard to tell apart in The Secret World. The members of your faction, for instance, may train you up, send helpful information your way, and outfit you with all sorts of wicked death-dealing implements, but you can't really be sure what they're up to—it turns out that there are secrets even within a clandestine secret society. Even the apparently upright and noble Templars seem to put "the mission" ahead of individual human lives, and will actively chastise players who spend too much time doing good deeds for people in peril.

What about the fire-breathing demons and blood-soaked vampires though—surely they live up to their reputation for evil! Not so fast, I'm afraid. It turns out that it might have been humans who corrupted demon-kind, not the other way around. And vampires, well, most of them are mindless, soulless bloodsuckers, but their queen ends up being more of a tragic, flawed, and very human character. That's not to say that demons and vampires alike will appreciate your sympathy so much that they will reconsider tearing out your throat, though.

Raconteur of the RPG scene.
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Witcher III
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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