by Lisa Thrasher
previewed on PC
Choose your style (cntd)
There are also nine different classes of weapons, from pistols to chaos magic to hammers, to personalize your experience even further. If youíd rather not micromanage your character, there are also some built-in presets to choose from, such as a bodyguard, witch doctor, gunslinger or exorcist. While you can build your own spec, The Secret World is still based on the three common MMO roles: Tank, healer and DPS. However, you can shift powers mid-fight as needed; for instance the tank could quickly switch to ranged DPS for a different phase of a battle.
Unlike many MMOs, The Secret World is not bogged down by hundreds of fetch quests. Instead, you are told the story of this world and its situations through gathering information and putting the pieces together. There is an in-game search engine that will help you find secrets and figure out clues. However, quest givers will actively lead you in the wrong direction whether it is done intentionally or not.
If the main quest isnít holding your attention at the moment, there are also plenty of side quests that will send you to do anything from hunting to sabotage. Or you could try your hand at a dungeon, which have been uniquely created without the presence of trash mobs so every battle is a challenge. When you die you get to experience the fun of being a ghost and running back to your body a la World of Warcraft. Unlike World of Warcraftís graveyard, you can resurrect from your ghostís spawn point, called the Anima Well, at no penalty.
The Secret World takes a much appreciated, though often overlooked, approach to battle: You can move while youíre attacking. Yes, you can run while youíre casting, charging or shooting just like a real person! You know, if magic was a combative power. Your character is also not limited by armor weight or material and therefore can wear whatever you find. No more do you have to feel uncomfortable and squishy in robes just because youíre a healer. You can look like a soldier or wear a three piece suit and still rain down magic just as effectively.
As great as these innovative approaches are, there are still some reservations I have with the game as it is at the moment. The animations seem stiff and unpolished, though I do appreciate the fully voice-acted interactions with the silent character. I also wish there was a way that you could see the entire story without have to make an entirely new character, since every faction has the same skills and abilities available. Perhaps Funcom could have implemented some kind of rebirth where you have a character go through another factionís story while keeping all of the skills and abilities youíve unlocked in place. Also, this is a conspiracy game and playerís are going to want that conspiracy resolved, but Funcom will want to make expansion packs and build off of this foundation before we see a resolution.
Iím sure from all of my World of Warcraft comparisons you can tell that I did play it at one point. And while I enjoyed Blizzardís MMO for about 5 years I have weaned myself off of it for the better part of a year, becoming tired of the repetitive nature and general grind it required to get somewhere of any worth. I will say that The Secret World has peaked my interest into playing an MMO again, perhaps even to the point of purchasing and subscribing. I really enjoy the fresh take on the MMO style and would love to see this game flourish amidst the sea of MMOís already out there. Maybe The Secret World wonít have to be so secret after all.