It took me a few days to fully go through Issue #7′s new storyline, mostly due to a sick child cutting my playtime short (which was fine — important things first, after all). I started out with my normal TSW Monday night group, did a large portion of it by myself on Tuesday evening, and the finished up on Wednesday with the help of Rowan and Dex-y (I bumped into them doing the same chain).
I’m truly glad I had company for the Nursery mission, because playing at night in the dark does not help when you’re facing pure nightmare fuel. And if you thought Virgula Divinia was scary, well, welcome to the big brother of that mission. Or big sister.
So I’m absolutely knocked back on my heels as to how fantastic this new storyline is. Funcom’s been producing stellar Issue mini-story arcs as of late, from Tyler Freeborn to the Last Train to Cairo, but this takes the cake. My only complaint is that the wait between these issues is far too long compared to how quickly we go through them, but the actual content itself is top-notch.
Issue #7 was portrayed as a James Bond homage, which is both true and a little misleading. There are certainly elements that those familiar with the James Bond franchise will recognize (being strapped to a table as a laser cuts into you is one), but the overall tone isn’t high spy thriller fantasy. Instead, it’s actually a very dark tale concerning the Orochi and their Virgula Divinia experiments on children. And because the Orochi are the red shirts of TSW, a vast majority of the ones you encounter in this issue are carved up like Thanksgiving turkeys.
I’m always surprised how The Secret World is able to evoke strong emotions in me. As a parent and, well, a human being with a soul, I was genuinely angry at the thought of kids being kidnapped, experimented upon, and used as weapons. My motivation for completing the quest arc wasn’t material rewards but justice and salvation. If I ever had sympathy for the Orochi before, and I don’t think I did, it’s completely gone now.
Looking back at the four or five missions that make up this chain, I have to give high praise to Funcom for a good sense of balance. There are solo missions and group-friendly missions. It makes good use of the entire landscape of Transylvania. There are several side quests incorporated with the main one, and sabotage, action, and investigation mission types are all represented. It’s also not as frustratingly difficult at all; I don’t think I struggled on any part of it. It’s no “last boss of the Cairo train” difficult, that’s for sure.
And the snowmobile quest was just perfect. We haven’t had any controllable mounts in TSW to date, and even though this was a temporary one, it felt so natural in the context of the game. Handled great and the weapons were pretty enjoyable to use. And turning the Carpathian Fangs into a race course? Genius. I even had to laugh as I was run over by snowmobiles while on foot at one point.
The mission through the Nursery was just… wow. Creepy and intriguing at the same time. The Nanny Bots gave me a chuckle, especially when their happy emoticon faces turned into angry emoticons when they attacked. But that song… that song. There’s a lullaby that plays for a while, and doing some homework this morning, I found that it’s called Sleepless Lullaby by Bright September. It gets in your head and is so very unnerving, especially when you’re in a room with a corpse surrounded by a small army of dolls.
I was also overjoyed to finish up my Magus deck (and get a new outfit from it) and power up my flamethrower. I don’t know if I’ll be using this as my main aux weapon — my cabal mates know that I’m particularly attached to my chainsaw — but it is pretty cool to have.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Issue 7. I thought the ending was pretty surprising and definitely made me salivate for the future of the game.