Much has been said about The Secret World’s excellent investigation quests, as well should be. They’re (almost) always a pleasure to encounter and unravel, requiring more brainpower than brawn. But I haven’t seen a lot of folks talk about the game’s stealth missions.
Maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe stealth missions are of the devil and should be shunned. That’s how I feel sometimes when I run them, but then I acknowledge that they’re giving my brain a workout in a different way too.
Stealth missions are the exact opposite of action missions; they downplay combat immensely by either (a) giving you no enemies at all, (b) placing groups of enemies who will overrun you, or (c) placing super-mobs who will one-shot you. Instead, you have to be careful in planning your approach to objectives, dodge security cameras, find ways around laser wiring, set off diversions, and so on. They can be exceedingly tricky and sometimes frustrating, usually because a single mistake means almost certain death. However, the game does take pity on us by providing checkpoints through the mission so we don’t have to start all over again.
Last night I was running a stealth mission in Transylvania, Sins of the Father. Story-wise, it’s a good chapter in the story of a disgraced doctor whose dad was some sort of mad scientist/super-scientist. The goal was to head into a spooky Soviet bunker and find a prototype vampire or somesuch.
It was an exhausting mission, taking place over numerous stages. You first had to skirt around giant mobs while repairing a door to open to the next section. Then you had to jumpstart four reactors in a certain order within a time limit — all while dodging more giant mobs. Then a hide-and-go-seek session with a patroling mob in a corridor (plus security cameras attached to turrets that will shred you). Then not one, but two separate rooms full of crazy laser wiring and hard-to-reach switches. Finally, there was a fight with the prototype itself.
I think I died about three times, all in all, which isn’t too bad for a stealth mission. I had to tamp down on my impatience, because there’s just no way to rush through these missions. It’s a lot of waiting, timing, and careful jumps. I guess for some people that’s a refreshing change, but I was so dang antsy by the end that I welcomed a final boss fight instead of all of this sneaking around stuff.
Then again, I certainly won’t forget the mission or the gloomy bunker with its cold war sensibilities. Maybe the game making me take my time to notice everything is a blessing in a cruel disguise.