The Secret World Review
The Secret World Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Funcom
Pub: EA
Release: July 3, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence

Those who prefer to play in groups have options as well. Thus far, I've spent most of my time exploring The Secret World as a lone wolf, but I found PvP matches easy to join. There are "fight clubs"—areas of the map where everything is allowed—as well as several locations that host three-way battles between the factions. There is also a "Warzone," a factional battle that continues 24/7. Because the goal is to control various facilities, the Warzone offers a variety of tasks for individual players to accomplish (such as capturing the respawn points and killing enemies). There are also, of course, well-designed dungeons to raid with companions.

The Secret World makes a few other tweaks to the MMO formula as well, with mixed success. One feature I initially loved is that you can complete a quest by "sending a report"—a single click of a button—instead of hoofing it back to the quest giver to get your reward. The problem is that you still need to return to the quest giver if you want another quest, so I'm not sure this saves too much time. In fact, quest management in general is kind of a pain here—rather than letting you take tons of quests and finish them as you see fit, the game limits you to a small number and never displays more than one on the minimap at a time.

The Secret World Screenshot

Another questionable feature is that instead of giving players a single huge world to explore, The Secret World is divided into several sections that you can access through portals. This is unavoidable in this case—there's no way for a single game to cover the entire real world, obviously—but it takes away from the sense of scale a little. Further, the developers tried to mix it up in terms of quests, handing players all sorts of bizarre tasks like finding hidden insignias, solving elaborate puzzles that involve searching the Internet, and even infiltrating locations by stealth—but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what you're supposed to do.

Also, there's still no good way to die in an MMO; in The Secret World, just like most of the others, you simply respawn at a nearby point without losing any progress.

The graphics are a high point here. This is easily one of the best-looking MMOs on the market, complete with DirectX 11 features and an advanced anti-aliasing technology that will be added by patch soon. Unfortunately, however, the facial animations come straight out of the Uncanny Valley, so that's something the developers might want to improve with future updates—especially considering that it brings down the voice acting, which is top-notch.

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I also noticed plenty of bugs, both visual and otherwise. Most annoyingly, I experienced a couple of crashes, as well as one glitch that made it impossible to equip items from my inventory. (Every time I right-clicked an item, the game placed the name of the item in my chat box. The solution: Press Control-B to bring up the bug-reporting menu, then close it. And then wait for it to happen again, because it will.)

Every MMO has a rocky launch in some way or another, though. On the whole, The Secret World is an amazing experience that's easily worth your $50, especially if you're willing to spend a lot of time on it during your free one-month subscription. Whether it will be worth its subscription fee after that remains to be seen. Only time will tell whether a large community will develop around this eerie and fascinating universe.

By
Robert VerBruggen
Contributing Writer
Date: July 5, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
The facial animations are stiff, but otherwise this boasts some of the best graphics seen in an MMO.
3.5
Control
The default mapping is questionable, but you can set up the keyboard however you'd like.
4.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound really shines, with intense music and great voice acting.
4.0
Play Value
A month with this game is easily worth the sticker price, but it's not yet clear whether players will commit for the long haul.
4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Conspiracies, myths, and legends. Everything is true. A real-world, modern-day MMO reaching into legends and myths that unravels as the player progresses.
  • No classes, no levels. Be who you want to be, and play how you want to play. Hundreds of abilities and powers are available as you evolve your character without traditional level or class restraints.
  • Join a Secret Society and fight in the Secret War with thousands of other players. As a member of the Illuminati, the Dragon, or the Templars, fight against the rising tide of darkness or battle against other players in massive PvP warzones.
  • Epic storyline and missions. Unravel mysteries and conspiracies in one of the most engrossing stories ever told in an MMO, told through groundbreaking mission gameplay and overarching storyline.
  • Incredible graphics. Enjoy ground-breaking graphics as The Secret World sets new standards for MMO visuals.

  • Screenshots / Images
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