by Mariana Morales
previewed on PC
Legends Do Come True
The world is a scary place, but imagine a world where myths and urban legends were true. A world where you can play as whoever you want. At least that is what you get to do in The Secret World: an upcoming MMORPG by Norwegian developer Funcom (makers of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures). It was previously known as Cabal and has been in development for quite a while. Work on the game originally started in 2002, but during the second year most of the team turned their attention toward the development of Dreamfall instead. It took a while, but the whole team returned to being work on The Secret World and what they have created is looking to be very engaging.
So what is The Secret World all about? As with most MMO's it starts off with a deep character creation process. With your character, you join one of the three secret societies in the game: the Illuminati, the Dragon, or the Templars. Join one, and fight other characters for your side to rule the world. A personality test determines which side is best for you.
The game is set in the modern world, but incorporates mythology and fantasy. Its timeline stretches far into the past to 100 million years ago and goes through history. It’s a setting that Funcom have created but you can visit real locations like New York, but at the same token could can journey to egendary lands such as the lost city El Dorado and Shambala.
Choose Your Side
You start out as a regular human and you have been called out to defeat the evil in the world. A ship called the “Polaris” crashes into the Maine coastline, and it is this catastrophe that your character is initially sent to investigate. We have all heard of the Illuminati, and they are no different in this game. This society wants power and wealth and they will get it any way they can. They want a New World Order, of course. Agents working for the Illuminati will receive wealth and glamour, but they can also have the power to taken away within an instant. They are located in an underground area in New York.
The Dragon Team is a group based in Korea and is seemingly more secretive than the other teams. They hate the idea of having the society controlled, and want to bring back the natural way of life without borders. Only then, will they believe that the world is at peace. Oh, and they have also mastered martial arts. Finally, the Templars rule Europe. They never back down from a fight, and they keep in line with their tradition in order to defeat all kinds of evil. They have been around for a very long time, and have a great knowledge of battles. Their soldiers consist of sorcerers and priests, and they are not afraid of anything.
Play How You Want To
In The Secret World, you are not forced to stick with the storyline; you are able to do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. Instead of doing quests and missions, you can return to your society for alternative tasks which comes with the benefit of unlocking some unique items. As expected, finishing quests will reward players with the most skill points though. With these, players can invest into the game's skill wheel which contains many different paths to unlock a huge number of different powers.
Character progression comes with a lot more freedom than other MMO's as you are not tied to a class, nor do you advance through set levels. There are hundreds of weapons, powers and apparel to unlock and purchase. You really can tailor a unique identity within The Secret World. Since there are no classes in the game, there is no restriction to what powers you can and cannot use. You can specialize in whatever you want, and mix and match to whatever degree you want.
The game has over a hundred actors in its voice cast so you probably will not hear the same voice all too often. They have recorded in various cities such as London and New York. Besides Final Fantasy XI, there are no other MMO’s available for the Xbox 360, and certainly not to this depth. Age of Conan is on its way but that looks to cater more for the PC crowd. The Secret World is designed to be a cross-platform MMO although there are doubts as to whether the game will actually make it on to the consoles. If all goes according to plan, we will see The Secret World invade our PCs in April 2012, with a console version on its way soon afterwards.