The Secret World introduces players to a world where monsters and magic are plentiful. Creatures such as vampires, zombies and other deadly spirits are well known and actually tie in to the rich history of the world. This world also contains three secret societies known as the Templar, the Illuminati and the Dragon who fight these monsters and each other in an endless struggle to gain the most power over one another. Each secret society have their own histories and own reasons for fighting, and you're about to learn about all three, the deadly monsters that roam the world and the rest of the game's deep and enthralling narrative when you signup for one of the three groups and join in the ongoing war.
One of the really interesting features in The Secret World is the ability to create your own character in the way that you want. Classes and specific level-based progression methods have been taken out of this game, and you can choose to customize your character with any skills you desire. This clever customization mechanic allows for so many unique character combinations that you'll find yourself constantly changing the layout and skills of your character to ensure you have your favorite skill set possible or just to simply try something different. Of course, monsters in the game are fairly unique as well. Combating these fearsome foes will call for the right tactics, and each enemy is different in regards to how they should be approached in battle. Mixing and matching different moves and skills is the key to victory and one of the best features in The Secret World.
You'll still find more traditional features in the game as well. Exploring caves or dungeons are required in most missions, and there are plenty of tough boss battles to encounter. In most fights, you'll want to use a variety of short and ranged attacks to defeat your foes, and you'll continue in this method until your mission has been completed or you've found a specific treasure or item you were searching for. You can also find and team up with fellow society members to take down the game's more dangerous foes or join them in their adventure for even more fun. Player vs. player matches are a nice change of pace from your usual questing and can be very time consuming on their own.
The Secret World is a great looking game with a huge world to explore. Many areas are inspired by real life locations such as the player vs. player Stonehenge, El Dorado and Shambala maps where you can compete in 10 vs. 10 vs. 10 matches, and there's also massively multiplayer matches where the three secret societies attempt to capture important territories scattered around the game's map. The game's soundtrack goes a long way in setting the tone for each area in the game. Some areas give off a more chilly and frightening vibe while others are more action-packed, but you'll always hear appropriate music and sound effects no matter where you are or what's going on. The game's simplistic in-game menus look great and ensure you can easily outfit your character as you'd like and get back to the action quickly and efficiently.
The Secret World is a unique game unlike any other. The addictive gameplay combined with the freedom to do what you want, how you want, whenever you want makes the game fantastic, and the game's attention to detail and rich mythology is just icing on the cake. By allowing players to create their own character from the game's start with over 500 abilities to equip, The Secret World has created a revolutionary new character creation system that very well could become the foundation for many games in the future. The Secret World has been in development for nearly ten years and the high quality gameplay is indicative of that hard work. This Fourth of July, celebrate your independence by playing one of the best PC games to come around a long time in The Secret World.
For more information on the game, check out the official The Secret World website.
Rating: M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs & Violence
Available exclusively for PC
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Score: 10 out of 10