Wednesday, June 5, 2013

J3 - The Secret World REVIEW

The Secret World.

I remember seeing the announcement of the creation of this game. The website had this strange count down ticker to the backdrop of a city land scape.
 There was this monster face looking at a girl calmly drinking a soda as a digital wallpaper and advertisign media to tantalize our imaginations. It touted next gen mechanics etc.. Rumors flying around it would be a game changing title. So what was truly different about this? Welcome to The Secret World (TSO) review!

Pay Model: Back when Guild Wars 2 was in closed beta and the rumors that Buy to Play model could be the way of the future. We had a title take the torch and launch this idea into fruitation. The Secret World decided to drop it’s subscription fee it was using at commercial launch and go Buy one box, play for free on the servers. I was on the fence wether to buy this. I had no job, and needed to save money and had my sights on some singe player titles I wanted to spend on first. BUT hey, I am an mmorpg fan and this game had allot of publicity.
  I started my research of game reviews by cross referncing articles and reading forums. This is mixed results. You had rigid fan bois supporting this title claiming how different it is. And others complaining about key points. One website, MMORPG.COM even has it as it’s TOP game in its gamelist. (right under GW2, beating GW2 by .01 voting points). I cracked. I bought in. I purchased the game through the official website. This payment process was a night mare. It took my Credit Card info but never gave me the game despite my account saying I have a legal key to use… After panicing and waiting 2 days for credit card to clear the bank. I learned that it is not my bank but the company. I read aroun the forums and learned that at F2P announcement, FUNCOM / EA had gone bank rupt on the project and fired allot of TSO staff…so I never heard back and the website purchasing is basically dead. I went to STEAM and used their services, and then I was able to play….YUP.
   Once I was in the game and spent time to end game…I learned my money was not well spent and that I am shocked people actually subbed to this horrible game. This leads us to Character Creation:

Character Creation: Basic mmorpg fare. You pick male or female, tweak some features and get in the game. However, this game has probably some of the ugliest character models I have ever seen. All the males and females share the same body structure. I wanted a tall and lean character to reflect my real life body form. I got medium stalky as the standrd size that cannot be changed. The faces look like bad. And the clothing you start out with may end up being the clothing visuals you will see to end game as allot of armor is pretty ugly and mis matched or over the top.
   I chose some cool shoes, jeans, and stripped shirt with nice pull over. I never ran into a better in game armor. The clothing you have to start is costume, and can be retained forever. So you can upgrade armor but leave the costume on. I did this. The vendor clothign list is long but very ugly. IT seriously was like the selection of clothing at WAL MART.
   The quest reward gear is a little better looking and the boss drops…but it is OVER the top. You have pirate gear, steam punk, alienoid, old fashion cult garb, fall out suits….you suddenly go from “Average looking urban dweller surviving nightmares” and go to “Drag queen over theatric movie prop”…IT kiind of kills the ambience and the tone of the game is destroyed in this sense. You will see and feel this as you pass other players or see a group of ugly gorillas huddled around the teleport areas or the bank. So I never changed. I had the gear, but it was ugly.
   The saddest part is that the core of the game is dress up. And that leads us to Gameplay:

Gameplay: In this game, you are an urban dweller that ends up chosing a secret sociecity to join. Since you are all thrown in the same world and your faction has NO EFFECT on your skills or identity other than you a cute backstory and a title change on your character…it is useless and not even worth talking about. It is just fluff, like a “Killer of rats” title floating above your character, that is all it is for. Or a social identity. All factions can group together, and do quests together and all build the same kind of skills together. The SECRET SOCIETIES HAVE NO IMPACT on this game whatsoever. Perhaps in the pvp…but that is so bad I will not be covering PvP. It is broken.
   Back to the story, you join a secret society, in the starting urban city area where all players hub together. You shop and bank here…No quests are carried out here and nothing of interest happens here other than this is the commerce hub. YOU have to go to the story missions by  entering a magical lala land of teleports. To do this you have to find the portals to get there. There are 3 portals to get tthere and they are hidden on useless stretches of running. For example, after I chose my faction and settle my bank affairs, I have to run to the metro each time and descend 3 levels, turn right, turn left, and then enter the portal to start the game…This is so bad. This walk to the portal between my bank feels so bleak and bland. Why not have bank access in the mission maps? Or in the teleport area? IT just adds frustrating load screens.
   So any ways, you go in the portals to an INSTANCES staging zone. It is on this strange other dimension tree. There are 2 giant robots and a humanoid guy like steam punk theme, he talls you to take a branch on the tree to travel to different places on earth (I geuess this is earth)… So you take a branch, and it zapps you to yet another portal to enter for each “story” or “content”. I started on an island somewhere I forgot as it is forgetable. All that is in the memmory is wow…this is instanced…So to go from character selection to the actual GAME I have to pass 2 instanced magical zones…this huge distraction and detraction of the world take out a HUGE sense of “disaster in your neighboorhood”. It is like YOU are the alien being zapped into this world. I could care less if the people die in it. The emotional strings it tries to pull just fail. WHY do I care what disaster is happening in this instanced zone when I have immunity to just instane out and hope away to safety…It is so dumb. So I go into this non motivated land to “discover” its mysteries.
   Long story short, you are in a VERY LINEAR  game. Literally, you have to follow a small path in all maps. Nothing is open wold, and if it is, you are dead the moment you break the trail as you need to progress.
    This game toats NO LEVEL progression. This is a lie, there is a rank level that exists and your characters progression is reliant on the linear path. So you cannot skip one zone and go to another. You cannot advance farther along the path in a zone unless you “level” up. IT is so linear that it KILLS THE USE OF LEVELLESS PROGRESSION. So not having traditional levels, yet using all the mechanics of having levels = the game has levels. It is just a GIMIC TO GET YOU TO PAY and join this crap fest of lies.
  The game advertised they do not have skill trees and it is “open and free” and the idea was you can have hybrid builds and wow FREEDOM! YA! NEW! YAY!   NOPE! It does not exist. Here is what they did…they took the tree in mmorpgs that is in a square menu box., that we are all familiar with, and they made it round…That is it. SQUARE MENU – ROUND MENU. THAT IS IT. There is nothing new. They did this to attract players with false promises. The round wheel, yes, you can build what you want in the wheel…you will be useless! You HAVE TO BUILD A SPECIFIC way or you will be useless. This is well known in game. You will not pass dunjons and certain PVE elements if you do not build strictly to a class model. This is like in WoW, PWI, etc, where you have skill points and skill builds, and you can plop them anywhere, but if you do it wrong…you will end up useless and people will drop you from groups if you do not perform. Simple as that. So before you go in and think “YAY I am gonna be a blood wielding, gun dealing, healing machine!” NOPE! Chose Damage output, healer output, or shielding output and chose the appropriate weapon do fulfill your roll or GTFO!
   THAT Is the secret of secret world.

   The questing is so boring. Typical quest hubs, and 3 different kinds of quests. It does not matter what order you do it, or what relation, it is all about (SUPER DOUBLE PUNCH TO THE BALLS) YOUR LEVEL! DERP!
  Unlike games like Mass Effect, or Star Wars Old Republic where your NPC relationships are dependant on the outcome of your conversations…that will effect story as well…TSO fails. It has the ability! Why have INSTANCED, no DOUBLE INSTANCED PvE worlds, yet have no dynamic story? It just has a choice of regular mission, research mission, and boss missions. It is all the same no matter what order you do them and sometimes some quests work non logical with others. Example, you take one quest that has you clear a house of zombies “for good” and then the next guy you talk to tells you to go back, where you will be attacked by zombies since you did the talking out of order…so I guess “for good” was just fancy text to plug ina  box and has no meaning on the game.
  Even games like TERA have dynamic questing with use of instanced sotry telling moments, and npcs that appear and dissapear depending on what quest oyu are doing. This helps flesh out the story…and TERA has been falsly accused of having no story…so if STO is WORSE than TERA and TERA is “BAD”…IMAGINE THAT! Yup, STO is that bad. So, get this…in addition to 3 quest types, ALLOT of quest givers have shaded out quests you cannot take because you are not HIGH ENOUGH LEVEL. The characer leveling is masked as a “cult rank” or the rank of your faction…That grows when you get EXP from quests. So if your HP and MP and armor and quests are all dependent on this…that makes it the official leveling system in this game. In fact, most people will not take you in a group if you are not a certain rank. SIGH. This game is so bad.

  Intelligence of quests:  So, allot of fan bois like to say: “Oh, I know the game is bad but I Do it because it is a thinking game. I like puzzles”. This is horrible. This game masks stupidity in quests and markets it as “intelligent”. Here is an example: You are on a mission to find a dissapearance. You walk into mayor solomons house. In the house there are portraits and a clock in the first room. In the next rool is a locked door and you need to do something to open it. Apparently, you need to to see the hour of the clock, 08:30, and because the mayors name is solomon, you need to somehow RELATE THAT TO THE BIBLE…so you go to the bible 08:30 (you know, because that makes sense…) and find a passage that says “the lion sits on the throne”….and then you know to click on the portrait that has a throne (but no lion)…And the door unlocks…Ok… ALL THAT is not puzzle making. That is just thinking like a retard…like trying to shove a square block in a circle hole…IT FEELS STUPID. IT is also forgetable. Other games know how to this. Silent Hill had great creepy puzzles…Secret World has marketing marketing marketing. It was just to sound bigger and smarter…”We built secret websites to find the answers!” yeah…the answer is there…buy it is not logival responses. It is illogical randomness. It feels stupid. IT is forgetable. I remember just being annoyed by it as I just googled the anwsers and moved on. None of it made me think huh…and IMPORTANTLY NONE OF IT IS INTERESTINGMY ENOUGH TO TRY. I mean, Silent hill, Indiana Jones, there are hemes and ambience to add to make it feel alive and interesting despite how silly it is…but STO does not deliever.
 People say “Oh the game is ambient, it is so alive”. No. It has music that picks up in the fog…to intensify the action of running. That is all. It is stale and boring.

Since the point of the game is to level up and progress, this will be reliant of armor. Yes, this is an armor based game. You need to suit up to progress. Your armor and weapons are very related to your skills and class choice, like all mmorpgs. This means repetitive boss grinding. It is bad., as socializing is horrible and groups barely run anyhting except end game bosses. Because your gaming progression and end game is based on armor and crafting we should talk about crafting:

Crafting: This is the worst slap in the face. If you want to summarize the intelligence of this game…it is here…in the crafting…Here is an example: You gather coke cans and necklaces. You dissasseemble them (anywhere on the go). The dissasembling turns into STEEL, and FIRE, and WATER….from coke cans and litter folks…. Then you buy bue prints that need X amount of steel and fire etc…and you build a gun! YUP! A nice AK-47 with missle launcher built out of coke can resources…
   This is so stupid. And the defending fan bois are even stupider. Let me qoute a defense: “Funcom told us that crafting would not be a focus on the game, so you just have to accept it and enjoy the story”….ok but I can’t enjoy the story if I Cannot progress if I do not have my armor and weapon, which is crafted from the….Oh I give up. You people are brain dead.

Social: Bad. People hang out to show off the outlandish costumes they found and do the gungam style dance by the teleporters. Other than that, most people are unresponsive. Donjons left empty. And lots of people not building the right skills so they are useless in groups. I felt so alone, and the groups usually all wiped. Since most content is just grind solo content, people run around you aimlessly and unhelpfull. So many times I could have used a nice tank to get my healer through a narrow crowded areas (90% of the game) and they just run around pulling mobs, which run back after the agro is dropped and attack you. Thanks bun holes. Strangely, 80% of the guilds and groups that used VOIP programs, were stay at home moms with babies crying in the background...and most just there to play dress up, as the ugly costumes for women were all hoochie mama suits...

Graphics: It eats ressources like crazy. I can run aion and TERA smooth. But this game hiccupped on some boss fights. And it is not like the bosses are highly detailed. It is a resource dump. The sad server pumps of EA FUNCOM abandon ware products.

Music: It is not bad. Ok.

Combat: I will end the review here. The combat is horrid. It is the first mmorpg, and video game, to ever make my hands hurt. I had cramps after doing 111111 22222222 333333 5 222222 1   3333333 5 222222 1

FOR EVERY FIGHT! The way the monsters scale, you can be end game high level, but you can not one hit a mob. YOU have to take a few whakcs…so as a regular leveld dude doing your leveld content, you will fight each encounter like a boss fight and get those spams out or you will be taken out. So you have to spam sam spam in finger acrobats.UGHHH I would have take 3 day breaks just to let my hands not get arthritis.

After all this, there may be points I am not including…but really, after the glaring core elements broke or crap, and not to mention they sell their expantions…It is all irelevant. This game is bad and gets a score of 0/5

Please, stop being a consumer sheep and saying: “Oh well its F2P so don’t complain”. No, I will complain, because complaining makes games update and get fixed. Mindlessly playing and throwing cash at titles is what allows them to contiinue to do nothing. I have spent on mindless titles before like Runes of Magic, and I do not regret it, it was fun while it lasted, but this game is the first video game I ever regret buying. It gives a bad name to B2P.


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Anonymous said...
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Cacalips said...

removed the spammers comment ^^