The game really delivers on immersion, setting and most of the quests. Needs some bugfixing and a few other things.

User Rating: 7.5 | The Secret World PC
Let me start by saying that if you played the beta and thought "these controls are among the worst I have tried for a very long time, screw this" and never thought about giving it another chance, do consider it. I played the beta for maybe 30 minutes and didn't really like it. I wasn't going to get the game until I read all the positive feedback a couple of days after launch. So I got it anyways and it was a pleasant surprise.

I'm going to do this in a plus and minus list style and explain along the way. Starting with good things

+ Setting, very refreshing for a MMO to have this modern age chaotic zombie outbreak spiced with lots of conspiracy and other secrets.

+ Atmosphere, damn this game is dripping of it. The visuals, the music, an even the lore objects etc are all contributing to very unique and cool atmosphere while exploring the world.

+ Dialogue (cutscenes), every main mission has a cutscene, and there are quite many of them. It was made clear long before release that the game would have cutscenes. What I didn't expect was that they'd actually be good. Not visually really, the character models are nothing special and so on, but the dialogue is excellent, at some parts brilliant, and the voice acting isn't bad at all (in most cases at least). As an example, in SWTOR which also had lots of cutscenes, I would skip them quite often because frankly they didn't interest me one bit. In TSW they're definitely interesting, and the NPCs dialogue is very well written and not cheesy nor cliche.

+ Quests, especially the investigation missions are good. It's great to have quests that take real life problem solving skills. The main missions are good as well though, and usually quite interesting to do and follow. Some quests even try with some horror elements, and they aren't bad. Not exactly scary but they do deliver some creepiness especially if you bother with reading the lore associated with it.

+ The skill system

And then for the not so good

- Combat & movement, yes it has improved since the beta. No, it's still not good. Controlling your character in Guild Wars 2 is like driving around in your new VW Golf, the steering is responsive and the car is generally easy to handle. The Secret World is like driving an old Escort without servo and a bad suspension. Slightly exaggerated for sure but you get the idea. Combat is simply not good, and it's a damn shame because it drags the game down, it really does. Even if your main goal is to explore and enjoy the quests you can't escape the fact that you have to kill stuff frequently, and that just isn't fun.
It's hard to really describe what the problem is but inaccurate is one good word I think. The movement doesn't feel accurate at all and the same goes for hitting & dodging mobs.

- Bugs, bugs bugs and bugs. There are quite a lot of them sadly. Quests that don't trigger like they should, or sometimes not spawning an item or mob at all. There are lots of graphical glitches as well, and I guess I can mention here that the games performance is rather bad too. Mobs are sometimes teleporting through walls and stuff, though that could be a latency issue as well. Funcom is patching the game frequently but I do hope the sort the quest breaking bugs out rather fast.

- Clothing & appearance. This needs to be explained a little. I don't think the idea of having clothes as purely cosmetic items is a bad idea.
However, there are too little clothes to use unless you use the real money shop, which I think is ridiculous since the game already costs like any full game upon purchase + the monthly fee. If you look at the vendors in London that sell clothes, they do have lots of items, however, if you don't count the recolored version of the same item there aren't that many unique ones.
I also think there should be some other way to get clothes than buying them, make them drop or something, it's not absurd considering lots of mobs you kill are zombies that were regular people a few days ago.
In general I feel like I can't make my character look cool in any way.

- The sense of progression. This could be just me, but for some reason I do not feel like I'm progressing at all. Maybe this is meant to be, maybe you're just supposed to enjoy the story and side quests without worrying about progressing like in other MMOs. It is a problem for me though, because a large appeal in MMOs for me is the sense of achievement when you get to a higher level zone or can enter a higher level dungeon or simply get a higher level cool looking piece of armor. I get none of those feeling in TSW. I find the skills to be rather unexciting as well, and lots of them are copies of each other but with different states (you can have 3 pretty much identical AoE attacks, but one stuns, one afflicts and one just deals a large amount of damage, but they even got the same animation).

- Crafting, I just don't like it. I never seem to have the materials to make stuff I actually need. My inventory is full of runes I never use, and the pattern based crafting is a pain in the ass. The actual placing and stacking and unstacking of items is so darn clunky.


This is certainly a great MMO that dares to be different. It will not appeal everyone and sometimes it shouldn't even be taken as a MMO. I think I pointed out the biggest positives and negatives for me personally at least. I'm unsure if I'm going to subscribe after the free month, as it looks now I won't.

I really do hope that Funcom keeps patching the game as fast as they can, and also that they bring out more content that they have promised earlier, like more clothes, an option to change your characters appearance after creation, adding an auction house etc. I think it's quite important for the game to survive.

I'm also rather unsure about how the game will do when people start capping out their characters, because there isn't much replay value, this might become a big problem in the future. So many quests rely on investigating and puzzle solving, there is nothing fun about them if you've done them once already. I'm sure I'd never play through the areas again just for the different faction story line.