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Secret World, The (Video Game)

Cover art:

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The Secret WorldDeveloped by Funcom

Distributed by EA

Rated M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs & Violence

Available exclusively for PC


The Secret World is a brand new MMORPG from developer Funcom that imagines a world similar to our own with one major exception–all of the myths and legends about monsters you’ve heard your whole life are true, and many creatures in this world are even inspired directly from real-life horror films. The Secret World may be a MMORPG, but the game presents major innovations and changes many of the rules you’ve come to expect in the genre. The Secret World may not be what you were expecting, but once you’ve booted up the game, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to leave this scary good adventure.

The Secret World is full of legendary monsters from all realms of horror, and you will soon join in an ongoing war against these creepy beasts, but you must first choose a secret society to fight for. The Templar, the Illuminati and the Dragon each exist outside of common knowledge and fight the evil beasts lurking the face of the Earth, but each also have their own reasons for fighting and ultimate goals. Choosing a society to join is nearly as important as creating your characters, as each of the three secret societies come with their unique set of equipment and will progress through the game’s storyline differently. Although The Secret World‘s storyline is simplistic and easy to understand on the surface, you will begin uncovering more of the game’s complex backstory and historical universe with your every action in the game. Each monster has their own history as well, and the game’s NPCs having interesting stories of their own. No character or location is wasted or taken for granted in the game, and that’s something plenty of game developers should try to imitate in future releases.

Another of the major differences The Secret World features is in character creation and customization. The game has done away with character classes and levels that bound your character to a predetermined set of character progression. Instead, you are allowed full freedom to create your character into the ideal fit for you as a player with up to 7 passive and 7 active abilities equipped at any given time. Character’s skills can be customized to fit your preferences and can be changed relatively easy whenever you wish. This encourages you to create strange combinations and experiment with a variety of weapon, magic and other skills that will keep the game fresh and entertaining for hours on end and give you tactical advantages over fearsome foes.

For all of the drastic differences you’ll notice in The Secret World, the game still sticks to a handful of traditional MMORPG game mechanics. You’ll still receive numerous missions in addition to main quest missions that will require you to explore deep dungeons, dark caves, dense forests and other dangerous locations, and you’ll still find yourself grinding through hordes of monsters in search of more money and better equipment. The primary differences in actual game modes come in The Secret World‘s player vs. player matches. Here, you either compete in up to 10 vs. 10 vs. 10 matches called Battlefields in a variety of historic locations such as Stonehenge or El Dorado, or you’ll head over to the Fusang Projects where the three secret societies are locked in an ongoing battle for control of the entire territory by controlling pivotal points located around the game’s map. Each mode can be a ton of fun, and it’s nice to see they all provide different experiences should you ever grow tired of any other modes in the game.

The Secret World is a marvel from a presentation standpoint combining great graphics with an appropriate soundtrack and a storyline that always has something new to uncover. Character design is where The Secret World shines; the game features a deep roster of terrifying beasts for you to fight against, and several of them are some of the better looking monsters seen in any MMORPG. Player characters and NPCs look great as well, and the game’s animations and framerate continue to look sharp and lag free no matter how hectic fights become. Sound design is another plus in The Secret World offering up great sound effects and a soundtrack that helps keep your attention on the task at hand. In-game menus offer up a helpful HUD and handy ways to keep track of your character’s skills on the handy skill wheel, equipment for you character and the game’s deep history.

The Secret World is a horror and gaming fan’s dream come true. The game allows players to experience the best of both worlds with creepy environments and horrific creatures mixed with an untraditional but effective approach to the MMORPG genre. It’s rare that you find a game that strays this far from conventional gameplay mechanics and still produces a high quality gaming experience that will have you continuously coming back to see what else the game has to offer. The Secret World is one of the best PC games of the year and one of the better games for any platform. If you’re a fan of entertaining games and scary stories, don’t be too frightened to pick up your own copy of The Secret World today!

For more information on the game, check out the officialThe Secret World website.

Game Features:

  • Players 1-30
  • Three unique societies
  • Cooperative and player vs. player modes
  • Fully customizable characters
  • Downloadable content support
  • 4 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss The Secret World in the comments section below.

    Amanda Dyar

    2 Comments

    1. Excellent, excellent game. I can understand some people being initially put off; the engine is on the ugly side of things if you can’t run it with DirectX 11, the very core of the combat feels a bit janky and dated, and Funcom and EA don’t have a great track record with MMOs (Age of Conan and The Old Republic aren’t names to inspire confidence). It has an incredibly offputting first impression

      Sticking with it just to the end of the admittedly lengthy tutorial though is so rewarding. It’s incredible to think that this is in the same genre as World of Warcraft. There’s some vague vestige of a level system in the Quality Level of items and skill tiers, and the zones still proceed in a largely linear design based around your expected Quality Level of weapons and trinkets, but asides that it’s highly freeing. I solved a puzzle by looking up parts manufacturers on google and running morse code through an audio program external to the game. “Kill 10 rats and bring me their tails so I can make a soup” this isn’t.

      As far as horror goes, this is a world in which every conspiracy is real and so is almost every monster. The first zone alone has streets named Poe Street, Elm Street, Dunwich Road, a store called HP’s, and is itself a mixture of John Carpenter, George Romero and HP Lovecraft in a head-on collision of Eldritch cults involved with an eerie fog from the ocean that may be causing a zombie apocalypse. Men In Black are investigating it, the Illuminati and the Knights Templar are sending in agents to sort things out for their own ends, wendigos crawl in the hills and you come across text logs describing the visceral body horror of a man turning into a sea zombie that would make Cronenberg proud.

      And all of that is just the very utmost tip of the iceberg.

      If Funcom deliver on their promise to add significant new content monthly, I may be tempted to upgrade to the lifetime membership, but that’ll have to wait and see.

    2. The game is great. I had been in the closed beta for a while, and the progress is nothing short of staggering.

      The best feature of this game, in my opinion, is the lore. Not by a small margin either. I cannot remember the last time that I actually read through all of the text that I was given in a game because I wanted to. I can say beyond any doubt that I have never had that experience in an MMO. Missions do not feel like mindless tasks that I am doing to fill up the bar at the bottom of the screen. Yeah, I want to fill that bar up (after so much time in the beta, it is odd for my skill wheel to be so empty), but I am actually more interested where the story will lead me, or in having to solve the puzzle that I have been given. And there are puzzles. One in the game took me hours to figure out, but I was never frustrated and angry. This was not a “stupid thing, keeping me from moving forward” type of puzzle, it was more like a crossword or a sudoku, where I was enjoying it because I had to think it through. And every time I would complete a section of the mission I felt accomplished.

      It is also surprisingly easy to pick up and put back down. Yeah, I enjoy it a lot, but it does not have a quality of me feeling like I have to power through to get to the material I care about. I am always at the material I care about, and the missions have satisfying enough resolutions that I can get one done and feel like that was good enough for now.

      The skill wheel is brilliant. I love being able to get everything, and the restriction to only 7 active and 7 passive abilities means that I do not get overwhelmed by everything there, as well as keeping it reasonable to justify giving hundreds of abilities.

      Combat is pretty standard for MMO’s with the number bar being abilities and WASD movement, but the fact that even low level enemies have attacks that should be dodged to avoid taking a lot of damage is a nice change of pace. The couple dungeons I have done were fast paced and fun. I am glad that I do not have to slog through too many trash pulls to get to the bosses, which are typically pretty damn fun.

      There are some problems, of course. Character customization is a bit disappointing. I am no fan of sliders, but body types consist of either “Male” or “Female” with all customization being on the face and clothes. It is a bit tough to swallow that everybody you see running around in the world is cut out to be a model. This is easier to forgive in a fantasy setting where you might think, “I guess since everyone is an adventurer fighting for their life it makes sense that they are in shape.” This is supposed to be the real world. And if you think that walking down the street of New York, London, or small towns in Maine that all you will see are supermodels, well, you have got another thing coming.

      There are still some bugs, but nothing gamebreaking. It has crashed on me once since launch which is disappointing, and I know that on some servers certain quests are bugged.

      None of this can overshadow that this is the best horror game I have played in years. The atmosphere is palpable and I actually found myself getting a little emotional. One side-quest has to do with a newly married couple that hit me pretty hard (probably because that will be me soon, but hopefully with 100% less horrific tragedy). At one point while running around a zombie infested town, something caught my eye. I stopped, turned, and saw that I was standing in front of a kindergarten, complete with a fingerpainted sign over the door. It really gave me pause for a moment.

      The writers know their stuff too. There are all sorts of little jokes for horror fans spread throughout the game. My favorite so far is “Yellow Sign Fish and Chips” in London. It is so subtle it makes me wonder what I may have run by and not noticed.

      This is a really brilliantly designed and executed game, and readers of this website are exactly the kind of audience it is targeting. I really and truly hope that it finds it, because this is a world I would not mind visiting for a long time.

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