Hands On – The Secret World


Hands On – The Secret World
Seemingly, the Ark of the Covenant is an Engine
The thing you have to understand about The Secret World is this...

It’s nuts.

Yes, I have played at least one video game. I understand the overwhelming majority concern some degree of the fantastical. FunCom’s class-less MMO approaches from the other end of the spectrum however i.e. it concerns ALL the degrees.
Aaand cue hilarious Everything Is True trailer...

The Bees are Returning, bitches. Wrap your frontal lobes around that!

Apprehensive of developer FunCom’s wild ambition, I sit myself before keyboard and mouse, ensure Lady Internet’s mood has calmed and wait as my aforementioned friendly, bearded, eye-patched guide shows me the ropes.

While the scope of The Secret World is by definition celestial, core gameplay still concerns skirmishes, PVP, looting and generally laying the smack down. As such, it’s a simple beast to grapple, particularly when one packs an assault rifle and magic hammer!

My Hands-On concerned a New England Amusement Park and the first thing to strike me was the presentation. Visually, it’s no Uncharted, but FunCom have crafted an MMO worlds away from the blocky sprites of Azeroth.

The second thing to strike me was a zombie. Cheek of him! A few swings of my hammer and a round or three to the chest soon illuminated the undead to the error of its ways.

With seven passive powers, gameplay concerns movement and the triggering of seven active abilities. And in a pleasant twist from the norm, the clothing is entirely cosmetic. No longer need you don unsightly tunics or revealing thongs to avail of disproportional stats boosts. Those are unlocked solely via the abilities system. An RPG curve Funcom have deftly placed themselves ahead of, methinks.

Now players need only costume themselves in tutus and top hats because, damn it, that’s a stylish combo! Fact.

Between us, Odin and I shot, smashed, trapped, zapped, hexed, vexed and generally wrecked the shop, feverously mashing WSAD and the Num Pad. With the zombies rotting in a preferably horizontal plane, we encountered the Theme Park owner, who regaled us with plot-points concerning treachery, conspiracy and the BoogeyMan.

 Ominous crucifixions are par for the course in TSW
Ominous crucifixions are par for the course in TSWEnlarge Enlarge

That’s right folks. The Secret World’s intrigues aren’t limited to the Illuminati, Templars, Hollow Earths or, ahem, Returning Bees. The BoogeyMan gets his props too. It’s just that kind of party.

Apparently, amidst this supernatural furore, the B-Man has been leeching off people’s fear, growing fat of the terror of paying customers. It was time for Odin and I to nip that shit in the bud!

But there was a problem. I wasn’t loving the assault rifle. I’m all for magical hammers that crackle forks of phosphoric lightning, but a machine gun’s just a bit mundane for my tastes. So I did some rooting around, employed the free form abilities system and found some tasty magic to my liking.

Armed with hammer and glowing spectral chains, it was time to kick a bit of ass!

Uh, then a titanic clown bore down upon me. Aided by demonic bumper cars.
I play a lot of games. Still, this was a first.

Eventually the combination of hot lead, ghostly green weaponry and assorted buffs saw the smiley m*therf*cker drop and the B-Man’s essence vanish from the Amusements.

At least, I think it did. I won’t lie, stuff was getting pretty wild and I struggled to keep up.
And don't get me started on this guy. Mainly because he's huge and scary and teethy...
And don't get me started on this guy. Mainly because he's huge and scary and teethy...Enlarge Enlarge

Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
So many MMOs weave a loose tale of destiny and grinding while expecting players are content to loot, forage, walk and occasionally crack skull. Quite conversely, The Secret World has a miasma of plot to uncover, in the hopes of keeping players interested, nay enthralled, during the 100s of hours they might plough into it.

But for all its above par graphics, its featured creatures and those Blights befalling the Garden of Eden, or whatever, it’s the ability to remould you character at any time, for any eventuality, that proves the real draw.

The Secret World will boggle the cerebral cortices of PC games come June 19th.
That is assuming Lilith’s Children manage to remain chained until then...

Hands On – The Secret World on ClickOnline.com
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