Thursday, December 5, 2013

Waking the Nightmare I

The Secret World is a frightening place. I say that with a smile on my lips, but its true. There isn’t a single MMO I’ve ever played that gives off the sense of danger as well as Funcoms' third MMO does. You are never safe, and that feeling of danger permeates every facet of the game. From word ‘Go’ you are going to get killed in The Secret World. Maybe you aggroed too many monsters, or a big named monster snuck up behind you, maybe you just got a little cocky after grabbing that shiny new piece of gear; the moment you think you’re safe, that’s when you’re not.

I started playing TSW when it launched in the middle of last year and recently began playing once again. It was a game that had big intentions but was already being eclipsed by the juggernaut that was Guild Wars 2. It didn’t help that TSW was never very flashy. Its combat wasn’t going to win a popularity contest, and it’s achingly steep difficultly curve, meant that most gamers left before getting out of Solomon Island. In the solo-friendly environment that has become the norm, The Secret World is clearly easier with a friend. It’s punishing difficulty and deep combat system meant that it was difficult for new gamers to get their ship righted if they made ‘mistakes’ in carving out the skills for their builds. Even the premade builds that Funcom laid out didn’t stop the hemorrhaging. 

Patiently crafted characters with small little soliloquies, remarking about and living their lives all while Hell stalks their doors, is what makes TSW great. Everything about TSW maximizes what it does well. In an era of bigger is better, The Secret World is proof positive of the taking advantage of the smaller more intimate moments. In the end I would probably compare The Secret World most to pre-NGE Star Wars Galaxies. Both games suffered from great ideas and systems hidden behind somewhat buggy launches with hard to understand game systems. It will never be a Juggernaut in Ravage or a Monk in Hundred Fists, but The Secret World is a beautiful nightmare and that is enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment