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*warning - kind of free flowing ramblings as I have them*
*TLDR scroll to end*
Signed up for, downloaded, installed, and patched the 3-day free trial of The Secret World.
I've put in maybe 3-4 hours and I just can't go on, I'm sorry.
Character customization felt extremely lacking - I could not make a character I really liked and had to settle for one I could tolerate.
The voice acting is phenominal, the characters and camera/animations during the cutscenes is the best I've seen in an MMO - period.
(P.S. is Boon at the beginning of Kingsmouth Steve Blum? I think it is!)
The graphics are very crisp and clean, with my rig I was able to run with everything at the "High" preset without any framerate issues, could have probably pushed gfx higher but meh, was more focused on game play.
Kingsmouth itself had a fair bit of atmosphere, but it looked TOO clean and TOO crisp. The visuals lacked any kind of soul - nothing I saw really gave me that "Oh wow..." effect.
Animations were not as bad as people made them out to be on forums, but they were a bit repetitive.
The combat itself... I really couldn't see any difference between standing still during combat and moving unless I was using some kind of cripple, in which case kiting was elementary. The dodge seemed useless as I had ample time to avoid the big ground-targeted moves larger monsters would make.
I primarily used an Elemental skill set as none of the weapon sets really wowed me very much - when I see guns in a game I expect them to work like guns would work in a FPS game, I HATE RPG implementation of guns.
Like, really? I can't pull the trigger on this Glock with a 11 round magazine more than twice without waiting a few seconds? Really?
In that way I think the modern setting really hurt TSW, but anyways.
Some nice touches in the setting, cell phones, kind of a HUD like UI, reference to pop culture stuff (Oprah, classic hip hop etc.)
Everything was just... so.. slow....
I felt like I watched about an HOUR of cutscenes and got to walk around NY for 2 minutes... then my little out of body experience to showcase combat was slightly more interesting, but totally a single player experience.
I had no clue who these people I was with were and why there was a star/space scene outside the subway? Then I passed out again?
Is this a Secret? Do you have to read a blog to understand the story? Not very immersive...
OK finally in training, using different weapons, nothing I really liked - settle on Elemental magic.
Leave training room, game crashes. Have to reboot PC. Really? A month after launch? Everything on my computer is up to date and flawless - I work in IT so I kind of know a little about keeping my baby running smoothly.
Whatever fine - finally got to Kingsmouth to see the "real" game - these great stories / quests people are talking about.
Where are they?
Besides the absolutely phenominal voice acting, nothing at all original or interesting. Setting / mood was OK but not nearly atmospheric enough.
Found a computer in some Dr's office, had to use in-game browser to Google who the composer of the song was to crack a password - I suppose that is cool in a way, but generally I thought games wanted to keep you IN the game for immersion not on websites looking up cheats and walk throughs?
I suppose for TSW this is immersive as my character would have a smartphone and access to Google, but come on this is a game and is obviously fantasy (magic, demons, etc.) it was a total immersion breaker for me.
Slow/tedius combat, lack of real immersion.
Ability wheel thing is cool, not very intuitive lay out though - figured out how to select a prebuilt deck for some guidance, quickly went off the reservation.
I never ever figured out how to equip a second weapon?
I've been MMO gaming for 12+ years and gaming for 20+ and I can say that this game is pretty unintuitive - not a good thing.
So to sum up, nice graphics with no style, uninteresting character creation (I was a Gordon Freeman looking dude in a wife beater, jeans, and converse... yay?) same old game play from 2004 I have seen a half dozen other games, totally unintuitive, and I feel the setting - what should have been TSW's strongest point - actually hinders the game in terms of immersion and takes away a lot of the fun factor that comes from the unrealistic nature of over-the-top fantasy/sci-fi that makes escapism and gaming FUN.
To each their own I guess, TSW is NOT for me. Only MMO I think I have ever spent less time in before uninstalling was Darkfall. Yikes.