The Secret World Review
I've been struggling to find the words I want to put in this review simply because of the unique MMO that this game is. You'll get the chance to play as either a member of the Templar, the Illuminati, or the Dragons. You'll be able to build your character with action points and skill points to unlock bonuses for your weapons as well as open up new attacks for different types of weapons. You'll have the chance to choose from a wide variety of weapons, ranging from pistols, hammers, and swords, to chaos magic, and fists.
You are placed in a world that is present day where there are dark forces moving against us. You and your organization are trying to battle out the other two to gain supremacy as well as save all those who are affected by what is going on. You'll have a ton of quests to choose from, some you'll have to do with a group, others you'll have to survive on your own. There are so many choices in this game, and not all of them will allow you an easy time in the game, but if you play your cards just right you'll find that you can stand up against almost anything that stands in your path.
Graphically this game definitely has that haze of something bad is going down. I wouldn't say that the graphics are going to blow you away, but at the same time they do look pretty good. There's plenty of different enemies to keep you busy, and different looking weapons to show that you've upgraded from what you might have had before. The user interface is minimal but is there enough to give you a good idea of how much health you have left, what powers you have at your disposal, and where in the world you're headed. Of course there's also a nice quest list on the side so that you can see what you have active at the current moment.
The sounds of the game fit, the music and sounds fit with what you're doing. When you're running around a town in the North East of the US it just works. I don't know how else to put it. The voice acting is ok, I wasn't blown away with it, and to be honest there just comes a point where you want them to be quiet so you can just get on with what you are trying to do.
The controls took a bit of time to get used to. The movement and attack options were easy, but it was the keys assigned to all the different pop up menus that had me flustered from time to time, and had my running my fingers across the keyboard trying desperately to find what did what, again and again and again.
So I played as a Templar (which in retrospect is kind of creepy as I'm now playing Assassin's Creed III and all I'm doing is killing Templars). Anyways you are someone with a hidden power that the Templars want to hone into a super soldier. You'll be able to fall from great heights, you'll be able to control magic, and you'll be able to wield any weapon you might find. There will be tons of items that you'll find along the way, and you'll want to deconstruct them all for materials. One huge part of the game is building better weapons so that you can become even more powerful. The problem is that the crafting mechanism is a bit cumbersome, and there will be times of frustration as you just can't seem to make what you're looking for. Oh, and if you deconstruct something you lose 1 piece of the materials, but its not like you can upgrade your materials and then downgrade them and have the same amount (I learned that one the hard way).
The first area I was in was something straight out of a Lovecraft novel, and I LOVED it. Sure I was never able to find anyone to do the group missions with because I could never determine what type of build I was (I had pistols and a hammer, no healing, couldn't take that much damage, and had a finite range). So I missed out on that portion. Actually come to think of it I basically soloed all that I played. There are a ton of quests, but I found that most fall into the category of go over there fetch that, or go over there and kill this many enemies, so there wasn't any true originality to be found. I really liked the storyline, but there was also some slight disconnect where after a while the story would be lost until you got an update from your headquarters. Each organization has a headquarters, and periodically after doing enough you'd be asked to return and do special missions. I learned the hard way that sometimes you'll want to wait on taking on the next mission because you won't survive when you first get them, unless you are extremely lucky.
There was also the investigation piece to this game that was interesting at first, but ended up turning into, I hate to say it, a GameFAQs run. There are clues and pieces to a quest that you'd have to use the in game browser to hit sites created for the game to get information off of. The problem is sometimes it wasn't really all that clear that that's what you had to do, and so after not being able to find out what I was suppose to do I'd pop open the browser and Google the quest name so that I could get the solution, and of course when reading over all the information I'd have an 'AHHA' moment of "So that's what I was supposed to do".
I really wanted this game to be the one that hooked me, and for a while it did, but once I was done with the Lovecraft area, and went to Egypt I kind of lose my drive. That and trying to traverse the area of many portals that you'll be using to get from place to place became so much of a hassle that I didn't want to deal with it any more. So sadly I've now cancelled my account. Maybe one of these days I'll sign back up, but I think I would be more interested in reading the stories written for the game than actually participating in it.
So I guess I should close this by saying if you're looking for something different in the way of gameplay you might want to check this game out, sure there are a lot of commonalities with other MMOs, but there are some unique twists found in this game that I haven't seen anywhere else. You're going to have to suffer some confusion and frustration, and a monthly fee isn't going to help, but there's a chance that this game will hit you in just the right way and you'll see something amazing. For me it just missed the spot, so I have to give this game a 7.2 out of 10.