MMORPG's often fail to fully impress me - they either seem to be the same worn-out story over and over again or they lack any new innovations which would set them apart from apart from other MMO's.
The Secret World, however, did impress me. It's very different from other MMORPG's I've played, but still has many of the benefits which come along with playing these games.
The game takes place in in a modern context, so sorry to all those medieval fanatics who love to craft axes and see their wenches in revealing chestplates. But, the game's hook lies into the new world it opens up - the world of conspiracies and secret organisations. The Templars, Illuminati and Dragons are the organisations which the players can join (in the beta this is limited to the Templars only). Something dark has come to the world, and these organisations need to work together to save the world.
If I had to compare it to any games I've played, I'd say it is the most similar to Rift.This is because unlike many other MMO's, it's third person viewpoint gives the feel of offline RPGs such as Mass Effect and Skyrim. This is great for gamers like me who love the up-close feeling without the limited viewpoint of first person.
This is probably because I like the safety of third person - I am a skittish gamer, and I'd rather not crap myself or have a heart attack every time I turn around. I played the first five minutes of Fear. And all I can say is: never again.
This viewpoint also creates a closer feeling with what's going in on the game. I always feel detached when playing games like WoW or Diablo III.
But obviously the view is not the only talking point of this game. It does however aid gamers like me in their bravery against zombies. I do not want a repeat of Alone in the Dark (it's as scary as it sounds).
The game also has dynamic mobs - i.e. those mother fakers will chase you - and far. They also don't just simply wait for you to approach them like in Wow. Unless of course they're eating a body or attacking someone else...
I'm realising as I write that this game sounds really dark. But this is also where some of its beauty lies. The game takes real places - like Kingsmouth - and turns them into a post-apocalyptic work of art. Its basis in the real world means the game actually links to information about real places and real people. Kingsmouth actually has a website - where you can find some clues for certain riddle quests even. This may be an elaborate creation by the game developers - but even if this is the case, they've gone a lot further than many other developers in creating a context.
However, this brings me to the riddles. The mystery of the game draws you in - but in can act as a repellent. Many quests are straightforward with enough novelty to make them seem different to typical collect and/or kill quests.
But riddles are also introduced. This is a nice deviation from the regular structure of most MMORPG quests in that it actually requires you to use your head. However, the riddle I encountered stopped being fun and interesting and quickly turned into a headache and nerd rage. Hopefully other riddles in the game will be less vague. On the bright side, you get a buttload of experience for putting up with the riddle's crap and finishing the quest. High irritation - high reward.
The game's graphics are superb, and with its helpful information and clear mapping it is also user-friendly for MMO noobs. It has a great degree of freedom regarding your characters' skills and weapons of choice. This means if you decide to change your mind about what you want your character's powers to be, you're not limited according to the confines of a character class.
Overall the game is impressive. It also has a relatively affordable price compared to others on the market. I do however, hesitate at the idea of paying for a subscription (which will be required after the first free month). One shortfall of MMO's is that, while $15 is pocket change for Americans and Europeans, it costs a lot for those with weaker currencies. Living on a student budget, this is often a deterrent for me.
I am seriously considering pre-ordering the game, which will allow me to get access to all the beta weekends and will give me special content and a month's gametime.But I have yet to make a decision because of the cost.
For those interested in the game, watch the video below to see TSW's trailer: