Saturday, December 15, 2012

Non Eve Afternoon: The Secret World

The Nosy Gamer got me to try The Secret World.  It was on sale for $15 from Amazon after it went Free to Play.  Nosy is an enthusiastic Eve player but also tries a lot of other MMOs.  I'm not prone to trying that many MMOs due to my Eve Obsession.  I haven't logged onto Aion in months.

For $15 I'll give a game a try.  Its a month of Eve's subscription or a cheap meal or however one converts their money into time into entertainment.  I don't drink coffee or go to Starbucks so I can't use that as an evaluation.  He likes it and it seemed interesting so, sure, why not?

I probably should have read the "about".  I haven't even done it as I start to write this.  Because, why not?  I'm prone to just trying things to try them.  I know the game is not Eve and its not space and its not spaceships.  But I like Video games.

Anyone ever played Limbo?  Its a fantastic, fantastic spooky puzzle that is so simple and elegant that it has a surrealism that I can't even begin to explain.

Anyway, I got the game and waited until today to settle down and play it. The download servers were okay. I have a ridiculous connection recently upgraded to 300/70 FiOS by my husband.  It cheerfully tests out what download servers can do.  It still took a bit to download this game.  Not a big deal, but if your connection is slower, set it for over night or while out.

I started the game up.  The graphics are kind of hand drawn and kind of well rendered. I have directx 11 installed and the resolution cranked all the way up.  I can't say I am super impressed with the facial movements and such.  But its far from terrible.

There are different domains to choose.  I asked Nosy where he was and picked the same so that I can stalk him easier in the future.  You then pick one of the three factions.  I chose the Asian (Japanese(?)) one.  The character creator is simple but allows for enough customization to let you feel like a Special Snowflake in a Blizzard.

Once I entered the game it became the land of Endless Cut scenes.

I don't like visual movie/video media much.  I like games because I am controlling them.  Watching things doesn't do it for me.  The Secret World put me through many cut scenes.  Then my character had a lesbian encounter.  When the other chick crawled into her lap I was like, "Unexpected."

After the girl on girl action it gives a mild intro tutorial mode that is a memory.  Okay.  Once done with that the chick kicks you out without even a kiss and off you go to train your power.  This wasn't overly clear as well.  It turns out there are guns, hand(sword/punching/something) and magic powers.  I didn't notice the other two because the guns are right behind the contact.  Thankfully, I run around and quickly discovered magic.  I then learned that the doors leading you out tell you that there are other things to try.  Nice of them to realize that their layout is terrible.

I spent a minute fiddling with my powers.  It looks like you can remap your selections with ease.  I think.  I'm not really sure.  I decided on elemental magic.  I was leaning towards blood magic but the slurping pools of blood you throw got creepy pretty quickly.

So you run off, wind up finding some kind of secret magical portal area, have more cut scenes, and get sent off on your first... mission?  I really have no idea what is going on.  They've told me I'm special and stuff happens and I have to go deal with it cuz they told me to and they are more special.  That's what I understand so far.  I'm ready to gank them all and go explore.  None of them are overly interesting. I keep finding golden honey combs that tell me to press U to access and give some quote that I don't get that then vanish.  Collectibles or achievements or something?

Sliding down the tree was fun.  I ran off to my mission and got, yet another cut scene.  Sigh.  Then I decided to write this and was disconnected for being idle.  I'll keep chewing away at it for a while and see how it goes.

Edit to Add:

  1. I have two Eve windows open on my other screen.  Hahahah, I'm way to addicted to not play and chat at all.
  2. If you play a guy character do you get a homosexual cut scene instead of a lesbian one?

7 comments:

  1. You know, this is exactly the same way I perceived the game in the Open Beta. Too many cutscenes and didn't know what exactly was happening or what I was doing. Glad I'm not the only one with that problem

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  2. I found if I treated The Secret World like your standard 'kill 10 rats' MMO, it wasn't particularly engaging (but then I don't find most 'kill 10 rats' MMOs very interesting in the first place).

    Where TSW really stands out is in the quality of the storytelling, atmosphere and dialogue, an essential part of which are those cut scenes you seem so eager to skip. If you're looking for a standard mission-farming charge from zone to zone, I don't think you'll get along with TSW.

    You need to slow down and savour the quality. You wouldn't rush a good book.

    I wrote more about this in my Game Skinny article, The Secret to Enjoying The Secret World? Take Your Time, which I hope you'll forgive me for cheekily linking.

    I personally feel it's a much more cerebral, engaging experience than your average XP-chasing MMO and I'd hate to see people miss out on the quality of TSW because they've got the wrong expectations.

    Each to their own I suppose, I fully accept it's not for everyone.

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    Replies
    1. If I could read the stories I'd be more engaged. I read every book in Skyrim. The cut scenes rip me out of the game. I instantly desync and grow bored and flip back to Eve. That's how I am. Cut scenes do not improve a game for me.

      A story can be told in many ways. They have chosen to tell the story in movie format. That doesn't reach me and because of it I understand that I very well may not find the value in the game that you do. My view is my own. I do not enjoy this format.

      I also don't rush through games. I never have. I'm not interested in reaching the end. I am interested in playing the game. I can't play the game when all that happens is endless cut scenes. If I could read through the cut scene I'd do better.

      If I wanted to play a kill 10 monsters MMO I'd not be playing Eve.

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    2. Fair point on the desync problem. I can see how it might be distracting. I think I felt that way at first, but I learned to enjoy them when I realised how well acted they were and how sharp the dialogue was. I appreciate that the way Half Life 2 did it was probably better, but I don't mind allowing for the technical limitations of MMOS.

      On that point, don't you think TSW would make a better co-op game? Like a thinking man's Left 4 Dead? It has made some sacrifices to be an MMO when I wonder if it really needed to. Even so, there are some fantastic pop culture and horror genre references later on, as well as some clever little comedy asides. It really is worth persevering with when you're in the mood. I think it's a work of flawed genius.

      Also, try doing an investigation quest with a friend, but don't use walkthroughs. I found it an infuriatingly enjoyable experience. Probably just infuriating solo though.

      Also, an apology: I didn't mean to imply you had attention span problems or anything, especially when I said "You need to slow down and savour the quality". I should have added "...to get the best out of TSW". No offence was intended.

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    3. I'm usually the opposite and when a cut scene shows up I have to turn the radio/tv/podcast down and concentrate on the game. But text is good because you can read it a few times if the description is good or you don't understand something while you usually only get to view the cut scene once.

      That said Sugar, don't play SW:TOR or Guild Wars 2. The cut scenes in those games are worse, although the ones in GW2 don't pop up near as often.

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    4. I have no radio/tv/podcast on ever :P

      Starwars doesn't hold much interest to me and Guild Wars isn't my thing.

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  3. Until reading your post I didn't realize how well Funcom did in setting the perfect mood for the character in the story. Confused, a bit desync'd from reality and going around picking up clues trying to figure out what is going on. Frustrating for the player but perfect for the story. Reminds me of the start of another game I play :)

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