Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Secret World First Impression

I played The Secret World for a bit since it went Buy to Play but haven't really experienced too much of it. However I've seen enough and played enough to post about my impressions on the game so far. Of course this is a First Impression and my thoughts about the game could change after I put more hours into the game. We'll see.

First off, I'd like to say that TSW's engine is horrible. It's so unoptimized that even when you put it at the lowest setting (which looks like crap) it still doesn't run well on my old PC. However if you have a better PC this wouldn't really affect you much.

The most interesting thing about TSW in my opinion is the setting which is Lovecraftian. It is also the first MMORPG which successfully adds a horror element into the game. Of course in the beginning it looks pretty standard with the usual "town overrun by zombies and monsters". It gets creepier from there on, especially when you reached the Black House. You'll see for yourself what I meant by successfully adding a horror element into the game.

As for combat, it's better than your usual MMOs but still not quite there. TSW uses a more action combat system but it doesn't really works that well. The animation looks a bit clunky and the combat itself feels a bit strange. However it's not really that bad of a combat system since it is still playable and isn't really boring to look at.

I like how they handled leveling in TSW in which there is no actual "level" to progress, instead you gain AP and SP after a certain number experience gained. The number of AP and SP you can get aren't limited in any way so you can gain as many as you want, which is great. This system lets people experiment with whatever build they want as you can use your AP and SP to take any abilities or skills that you like.

The ability system in TSW resembles that of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 where you have a limited number of ability slots and you must choose which ones to bring. For those who are confused about which ones to bring, the game also helps you out in the form of Starter and Advanced Decks. These decks are like a "recommended" build that you can choose to use. These decks are also specialized to fit certain roles for use in lairs and dungeons. As an added bonus, finishing a deck also nets you new clothes to customize your character with.

Another strength that TSW has is the characters and story. It is pretty interesting to follow, at least it is interesting for me, your mileage may vary though. The quest system are pretty much the same design as in usual MMOs but maybe because of the setting it works quite well and doesn't feel too generic.

One type of quest stands out apart from the rest though, which is the Investigation Quests/Missions. I these types of quest you aren't necessarily told to kill enemies but you have to investigate and research about stuff. In these types of quest you have to do some sleuthing to get the answer and move forward on the quest. This is really interesting for those wanting to use their brain more. This kind of quest are not present in any other MMO and is a very unique feature that TSW has.

Overall, at least from what I've experienced so far, TSW is a pretty solid game with an interesting setting, story and concepts. For those who are bored of the usual fantasy settings in an MMO, TSW might be an interesting alternative. Coupled with the low price of entry (around $30), TSW good choice of MMORPG to play.

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