Preview:-The-Secret-World Preview: The Secret World

   26/10/2011 at 16:43       Stuart       2 COMMENTS. - Score 1/5
 - The Secret World, Funcom, MMORPG, Conspiracy

Everything Is True.

Quite what this means for the milkman making his suspiciously jaunty way down my street at this very moment remains to be seen. For everyone else, however – it means The Secret World is almost here.

Promising to be an MMO quite unlike any other, The Secret World is the story of the conflict between three warring secret societies: the Templars, the Illuminati and the Dragon, as they struggle against each other and the many denizens of the Secret World. And there are many denizens – remember, everything is true – so the monster under the bed, the things that go clunk in the night are all real here.

I got to see an opening segment of gameplay from the Templar side of things at the recent EA Winter Showcase, and was impressed with what I saw. The story opened with our character busily tearing her apartment apart, after her latent magical power surfaced. This ‘gift from Gaia’ soon sees her in the ruins of her apartment, head in hands, when a knock at the door announces the arrival of her mentor: a member of the Templars. She calmy informs our young heroine that all this is quite normal, and that the only way for her to survive this transformation is to join her ancient society.

This forms part of a personal ‘story mission’ that will follow your character throughout the game, providing a backbone to the smaller stories that you’ll tell yourself. Soon we’re whisked back in time via flashback to the moment it all began – an occult bomb in a Tokyo metro; something evil seeping into the world, and I’m shown combat for the first time.

Combat in The Secret World is fully real time, with our heroine wielding a shotgun with some nasty cone-damage against unearthly creatures. Unlike many MMOs, The Secret World has no class or level system, instead giving you five-hundred unique skills which may be chosen in any order. You’ll select seven active powers and seven passive before setting out on a mission, meaning the potential for multi-classing and varying styles of gameplay on any one character is pleasingly high.

These stories will play out across large, incredibly detailed ‘real world’ locations, including London, Egypt and Maine (with, presumably, more locations to come over time). The London level I saw was wonderfully realistic, with an attention to detail not often seen in MMO world design, giving it a living, breathing flavour all of its own that will surely add to the immersion factor.

PVP has not been forgotten, and there is talk of persistent battlefields with over a hundred players duking it out for their respective factions. These battlefields can be captured, giving benefits to your entire faction – creating a pvp metagame where control of these battlefields will influence the game at large.

Packed with interesting concepts and some excellent attention to detail, The Secret World is definitely going to be unique among MMOs. The game is slated for an April 2012 release and is undergoing closed Beta at the time of writing – but we here at AATG will be keeping a very close eye on this one.

Just remember to check under the bed before you go to sleep.


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