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The Secret World: An MMO for the Spooky Mulder In You
An MMO for a Different Kind of Nerd
As an MMO, The Secret World offers fans of the genre plenty to keep them happy and busy, and it’s a strong contender for the best buy-to-play MMO on the market for my money. As a virtual actualization of the coolest dreams and waking fantasies of scores of Spooky Mulder, Winchester Brothers wannabe’s out there, it’s the uncontested supreme champion. It is for this reason that I am writing; to reach out, not necessarily to current MMO addicts in search of a new fix, but to fellow conspiracy junkies and mythology aficionados with the invitation to come and finally play the game for which our inner paranormal-investigating, super-powered, secret agents yearn.
The Secret World gives fans of the conspiracy-laden, monster-infested, science fiction genre the long-awaited opportunity to take on the role of a recently super-powered secret agent who is recruited by one of three venerable and clandestine organizations: The Illuminati, the Dragon, and the Templars. I chose the latter, primarily because of the cool cross logo on their uniforms.
My Secret World: The Making of a Templar
At this point I will spare you the play-by-play of the opening cinematic scenes since the internet is already replete with nearly identical write-ups recounting the wee hours of the game, but I will, in hopes of rousing your appetite for the revoltingly entertaining realm of zombie-slaying, share briefly about my earliest moments in the lurid Lovecraftian landmass called Solomon Island.
Let’s just say a man with my powers can’t stay under the radar of a near-omniscient organization like the Templars for too many in-game cut-scene minutes. Not long after magically torching my sweater, levitating like those wacky kids from Chronicle, and inadvertently losing the security deposit on my very small apartment in the process, I found myself on the streets of London in search of the Templars headquarters (Spoiler alert: It’s not very secret), where I would be given my first mission and choose my favorite weapon, which would soon be slicing and dicing its way through scores of the undead in a once-sleepy-now-not-so-much New England coastal town, but I’m getting ahead of my bad self.
My first moments practicing with a sword and experimenting on those poor, shackled demons, with the very aptly named “blood magic,” were exhilarating, to say the least, but the best was just around the corner. Well, around a few corners and past a giant robot-thing, and through the center of the earth. No biggie.
Surprisingly, after mere minutes of training, the muckety-mucks at Templars HQ were sending me into the fray by way of Argatha – the gigantic city in the core of the earth which allows for Barry-Allen-fast travel between all points on the planet. This particular fray goes by the name of Kingsmouth; a wondrous and macabre place where zombies, tentacled mutations, and entertaining side quests abound.
After hacking and slashing and spewing blood magic all over Kingsmouth for 34 hours (according to Raptr), which has to be a record for a starting zone in an MMO, I have not yet tired of violently dropping zombies and draug while chatting up the mostly pleasant, if not deeply scarred locals, and investigating the intentions and closely held secrets of the ominous and well-funded Orochi Group as well as the Scientology-inspired and equally creepy Morninglight.
As far as the combat goes, each slice really feels like I am making contact with the undead and mutated – enchanted steel brutally cleaving through rotten flesh and bone. This feeling is due to the combat system’s solid-form enemies, which was a smart choice in my opinion since most MMOs have gone the route of baddies which appear corporeal, but which are actually somehow able to be walked right through as if they were holographic.
A Personal Invitation: The Secret World Beckons
The Secret World has much to offer the MMO crowd, many of whom are quickly tiring of the nigh-infinite list, scrawled with crow-quill pen onto aged parchment of course, of Tolkien-inspired, digital D&D successors, but all of that has already been addressed in detail elsewhere. My motive here is to appeal to those of you who watched the X-Files – even the seasons with Doggett and Reyes – each week, with no lights on, enjoying every creepy moment. I’m speaking directly to Stephen King-reading, Fringe-watching, and even Alex Jones-listening conspiracy theorists out there. I’m sending out the call to my fellow geeks who will enjoy The Secret World far more than any MMO purist is even able to. This game speaks to people like us in the same way that a game like DC Universe Online might speak to those grown-ups who have collected Batman since before they could read. It satisfies something we have wanted, even without knowing we wanted it, since our young minds first experienced the genre.
The Secret World beckons. Heed its call, for it is an immersive, beautiful, disturbing, vicarious walk in the shoes of the likes of Fox Mulder and Peter Bishop, minus the little gray men. It is as a conspiracy theory junkie, not an MMO veteran, that I implore you to take me at my word. Track down a buddy key if you must (they grant you 3 days in The Secret World so you can try before you buy), or just invest the $30, but either way give The Secret World an honest try. My prediction is that you will thank me for it.