Before I begin, I must declare that this post is based on around 3-4 hours of gameplay, a first impression, not a review. Funcom’s The Secret World is currently holding its first Beta Weekend (key still needed) and thousands are flooding the server/s. Although I have been pissed by Funcom’s tactics in handling the community, I can assure you that this piece is written fairly.
The first piece of information seen upon entering the game is quite a lengthy cinematic with voice-overs, similar to The Old Republic. Here is beef #1 for me. Whenever it is my character’s turn to “speak”, he turns silent. In fact, he never spoke at all in cinematic, just staring into blank space for a few seconds, looking at the opposite person. Is this deliberate? God knows…
Entering the game, my first impression was “Woah, looks like World of The Sims Online”. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has been sometime, actually my first time, seeing so many MMO characters decked out in modern trendy clothing. Some may relish the modern twist, some may be unaccustomed after playing too many fantasy games. I am at odds here.
The environment, buildings and architectures are breathtaking. Seeing that there is really no other mainstream MMOs in modern day settings currently, I must say The Secret World team laid down an act which will be hard to follow. Yes, the game graphics itself is pretty not pretty, but zooming out, the game looks awesome.
Combat. I always hated games which makes the default attack as 1 of the hotkey-tied skills, and The Secret World makes it even more frustrating by having cooldowns for them. Imagine spamming the number 1 key just to attack… And there is no auto-attack function from what I see. A couple of people told me this game is “for adults” and “skilled MMO gamers” since players have got to time their attacks, even for normal attacks, perfectly. Seriously?
There is something I like though, which is the ability to choose from several weapons, and have a 2nd one as an alternative. Shotgun, assault rifle, pistols, claws, hammers etc… Players will be spoilt for choice. Given the combat buff in me, I can’t help but to imagine how the game will be like with an actual action combat system…
I shan’t talk too much about the skill system. One thing though, it is not easy for the newer group of MMO players to jump right in and fully understand how it works immediately. I guess the “for adults” part might be true. Take a look at the video below from GameSpot for a better sense of things.
Questing. Once again, something which frustrated me before I uninstalled the game. Some clues are not really visible, which once again brings us to the “for adults” comment. The final quest I did was to follow a raven. The minute it flew over my head, I turned around and my view was blocked by a tree and several houses. Charged towards the direction it flew, but never really got to find it. Before any of you tell me what I did wrong, this just justifies that The Secret World is not for everyone, especially those looking for quick progression.
Conclusion. I only managed to kill zombies so far, but there are several nice, ugly looking monsters and bosses as players advance further into the game. The Secret World is really something like the online child of TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural.
I absolutely love the spooky and eerie atmosphere, the overall look and design, but sadly, I am less than impressed with some of the game mechanics. At 49.99 Euros for the initial game and 1 month of game time, I will be saving up that amount for vanity stuff in Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III’s auction house. My prediction – Free to Play within a year.