It’s a common refrain in the voice chat on The Secret World nights for several of us to just spontaneously gush with praise for the game — and wonder, with frustration, why more people aren’t playing it. I mean, I can understand why it’s not for everyone, it’s just the general sentiment that this is something special, something that hasn’t gotten the least bit old since it launched.
Our regular group formed up on a special night to tackle the new Issue #5 DLC, The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn. The four-quest chain was given out to everyone who had the game in December, so buying it wasn’t an issue. I had heard it was pretty special, and I’ve been quite curious about Funcom’s statement that it would be focusing on creating story arcs with these new missions. Plus, I’ve been just so darn curious about that mist and fog that’s everywhere in Kingsmouth, along with my oft-repeated question of why the survivors don’t just, y’know, leave.
Now I know. Now I don’t blame them for staying.
The quest chain concerns a new character, the titular Tyler Freeborn, a guy who’s been investigating the weird goings-on around Solomon Island from before the mist. He’s vanished, but has left behind quite a few video recordings that set us off on a merry chase around the Blue Mountain region before finally giving us the opportunity to enter the mist ourselves.
I’m not huge into spoilers, so as much as I’d love to talk about the final awesome quest, I’ll just be a bit broad about it. Before this point, we as a group were having a lot of fun working on the quests together, which involved dodging helicopter attacks on a road (most of us died) and a stealth mission through the Orochi camp. Oh, the Orochi: the Red Shirts of The Secret World. You just don’t feel bad for whatever happens to them.
But the final quest did something quite devious: It split us up. We entered the fog together (you have to be wearing either respirator masks or full-on CDC hazmat suits), but the last part was a solo instance. This was probably to keep the scare factor high — it’s a lot less terrifying when you see your friends running around you — but it proved detrimental to one of our teammates who was only at QL3-level gear and couldn’t finish some of the fights.
Anyway, this instance is one of the most unnerving bits of gameplay I’ve yet to come across. There were lots of yelps and muffled swears as we navigated it, yelling at each other clues and directions and generally keeping each other company. It helped.
It took us about two hours, give or take, to do the whole chain — and it was definitely worth it. Great story, great set pieces, and some much-needed pieces of the overall puzzle. Plus, I got a whole slew of screenshots: