Welcome to part two of our preview of the very best MMORPGS to play this summer. Today we will be taking a look at The Secret World, which will be released on June 19, 2012 and is starting its first open beta weekend on May 10, 2012. The Secret World has generated so much advance interest that according the game’s developer, Funcom, “Mainstream publications such as Forbes and The Guardian have both listed ‘The Secret World’ as a game to watch out for in 2012, and the game has also been singled out as one of the most anticipated games of 2012 by gaming sites such as G4TV, VideoGamer, and RockPaperShotgun.”
The Secret World takes place is a dystopian modern world that is suffering from the effects of many centuries of hidden conflict between the forces of good and evil. Powerful monsters including Zombies, Demons and Vampires have once again come out of hiding to openly threaten mankind. It is up to the warrior heroes of three secret societies, The Illuminati, The Templar and The Dragon, to fight these evils for the salvation of all mankind and to acquire power for their own chosen society.
Players will find themselves traveling between the modern cities of New York, London, Seoul and Tokyo and mythical locations that include The Hollow Earth with its legendary city of Agartha that resides at the earth’s core, Stonehenge, El Dorado, and Shambhala. The Secret World offers players a huge range of environments from the back alleys of dingy city streets to undead infested seacoasts, mysterious islands, dark forests, steaming jungles, and the wonders of the high speed transportation system found inside The Hollow Earth.
An air of suspense and danger permeates The Secret World. It is a world full of dark secrets, horror, myths, magic and conspiracies. Players will have so much more to do in this innovative game than just face-roll their keyboards and kill monsters. Quests may include real history, ancient myths or urban legends. They will require players to read the details carefully, assemble clues and stop to think about what they are doing and where they are going. Unlike any game before it, The Secret World will involve players in every aspect of their game-play and takes player immersion to a new and highly stimulating level.
One of the most remarkable features of The Secret World is that the game has eliminated classes and levels completely. Quoting the Game Designers, “Experience a game that has no classes or levels. Truly free-form character customization allows you to create the alter-ego that you want to play. Choose from hundreds of different powers for your character without ever having to re-roll, completely eliminating the need to follow a set path of progression throughout the game. Choose the powers, the weapons and the clothing that you want to use.” Perhaps no other game in existence has ever eliminated cookie cutter characters as effectively as The Secret World.
As players complete quests, kill monsters, solve mysteries and win PVP battles, they will gain Skill points and Anima points that can be spent to buy powers. Over time, a player will actually be able to acquire every one of the more than 500 powers that are available.
This writer has been gaming since 1975 when we played Colossal Cave Adventure on a DEC PDP-10 mainframe at my university. Yesterday I was able to spend 12 hours exploring The Secret World. I will simply say that The Secret World is the most original and complex MMORPG I have ever played. It is the first game that actually challenged me to really think instead of just timing a 3 button rotation to kill monsters over and over.
The Secret World has it all. The game looks great, plays great and offers gamers more powers than those possessed by an entire battalion of necromancers and wizards. The intense, demanding combat will have even skilled gamers fighting to survive. The quests slowly and tantalizingly unveil an original, detailed world that should thrill even the most jaded conspiracy theorist. You will be challenged intellectually in ways you never expected from an online game. As far as I am concerned, I have been waiting for a game like this for a very long time. If you are a gamer, you want to play The Secret World.