I’ve been trying to get to day 3 of my 10/10 challenge but horrid GI problems have been keeping me from gaming as of late. Hopefully tonight! Instead, let’s talk The Secret World, because I just finished up Issue #6 and have a few glowing words to say about it.
For a $10 DLC, Funcom really has to provide the goods, and I feel like I get a good bang for my buck here (especially since I’m not subscribing). So far, Issue #5 and #6 have been meaty affairs — not to mention completely replayable. While Issue #5 focused on the big secret around Solomon Island, Issue #6 is a purely Egyptian affair.
The gist of the story is that the nasty Atenist cult has somehow gotten a hold of the same terrible device that decimated the Tokyo subway and is looking to bomb the crud out of Cairo. Over the course of four or five missions, players have to thwart the plot. BUT… it’s not that straight-forward. There’s some serious time travel involved, as you have to go to the past twice to retrieve special devices, and some serious Indiana Jones vibes going on. The whole mission chain throws references to Indiana Jones at you, from music to rolling boulders, without it being too obnoxious or overt. Maybe that’s annoying to you, but I like it — and it makes a lot more sense to do this in a contemporary MMO than a fantasy one disconnected from our world. Plus, how can you have an Egyptian zone with ancient ruins and relics and NOT do Indy?
Anyway, it’s a challenging chain. There’s a couple sabotage missions that require a lot of stealth and guile, or, if you have a large group like we did, a blunt-force approach to all the nasties. The group did enjoy one point where we got locked up and had our weapons taken away, which forced us to approach the game from a different angle.
The final quest, Last Train to Cairo, is a rather impressive set piece on a train barreling toward civilization. It’s a long, long mission that has you going on top of, inside of, and along side of train cars, fighting your way forward and finding key cards to unlock the next sections. There’s a few surprises and a devilish boss fight at the end (which took me 10 tries and a couple skill re-juggling sessions), but it felt worth it.
By far, I enjoyed the focus on two of TSW’s breakout characters, Nassir the pop culture-obsessed freedom fighter and Said the laconic business mummy. The two of them finally meet and it’s an absolute hoot. I really would watch a TV show or movie featuring them as an odd buddy pairing. My favorite quote came at the beginning of Last Train to Cairo:
All in all, hats off to Funcom. The Secret World remains one of the absolute best storytelling experiences in MMOs, both in cutscenes and in the missions themselves.