Okay, I was a bit disappointed when I read that The Secret World release date had been pushed back to July 3rd. But after playing the beta and exploring Kingsmouth Crossing the last few weeks, I think it will be worth the wait.
The Secret World is a horror MMO game set in modern times if you didn’t know already, this MMO differs from so many other clones in that there are no levels or classes and you can customize and change your customizations as often as you wish without being locked into any specific class choice. You earn experience which unlocks ability points and skill points which you use to increase your rank and skill set, but you don’t level up as you do in normal MMO and RPG games.
The modern times really adds a unique aspect, you feel a sense of connection to the present when exploring cities and towns that are all too familiar, and being able to walk in multi-floored hotels is a fun experience, though the camera does sometimes have an occasional issue with cramped staircases, it isn’t a major distraction and the game does a good job of adjusting to make sure your camera isn’t blocked for more than a second in closed quarters.
The horror aspect is original and among the creepiest I have seen since Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines with undead and other creatures looking disturbingly original and yet familiar at the same time. The game has enough action and story to keep you engaged, for those who truly have time to dedicate you can explore the lore elements and quests that take an enormous amount of research and discovery to unlock truly epic experience points. You also can accept or discard quests at any time, I found myself getting more than a few quests I could not complete and wound up taking smaller side quests in my limited amount of time playing the beta.
The one thing I found most disorienting about The Secret World from my initial play time was how different it was from other MMO’s in the interface. This can be good, but for someone who is used to playing Knights of the Old Republic, Runes of Magic and Wizard101 this meant it was a slightly longer learning curve for me than most.
Overall, I have only seen a small fraction of what the game has to offer and this game takes advantage of the audio like no other MMO I have played. Simply turn and the audio shifts from your left side to right side, move away and hear your NPC’s story fade quickly. Some monsters are deceptively fast and what you assume will be a ranged fight with the ability to deal a fair amount of damage before they close in to melee become something you can never rely upon. I have never seen zombies swarm so quickly and being in a subway system while surrounded by zombies while blasting away with a shotgun almost feels like a shooter as much as an MMO in some instances.
If you are looking for a unique RPG/MMO game experience that does away with fantasy or science fiction and sets the tone in modern times where demons, monsters, undead and factions, cults and more are all real then you are in for quite a treat with The Secret World.