After the Christmas Conspiracy mission last month, I took some time off of The Secret World, although I anticipated coming back to really tear into Issue 10. I had a bit of a setback one day when a few side missions kept kicking my butt — mostly due to impossible-to-kill mobs and repeated deaths.
But here we are, deep in the Orochi projects (one of the new Kaidan areas) going through the main story mission.
I came across a playground for the Happy Smiles day care (one of Orochi’s things) and my character found something… quite puzzling. A kid with gigantism (an oversized head) on the seasaw by himself. While my character never speaks, I have to say that Funcom does an excellent job letting my body language talk for me. There are a few excellent bits in this cutscene that show hesitation, morbid curiosity, fear, and… well, one last one that I’ll talk about in a bit.
This is Jung, and even though he’s only four years old, he talks like a professor and has mental powers. He’s also got poor emotional control, because he’s only four years old. You feel bad for him and a little wary at the same time.
I like Jung, if for the fact that he actually does a good job spilling some key exposition and tying together plot points that may or may not have gone past the player. The whole Morninglight/Fear Nothing/Atun/Orochi connection has been pretty apparent in the game, and all of it is absolutely nasty.
You know how I make fun of how much Orochi gets killed? This is Syp-in-game talking here, but good. I’m glad they do. Because this is an organization that, among its many other sins, has conducted extensive experiments, torture, and kidnapping on kids. And they so need to pay for that.
I want to add that this bit here bowled me over. This is why TSW excels at storytelling in ways that other games… man, they can’t even imagine it, otherwise they’d try to do it. But at the end of Jung’s speech, he crows about how he’s finally top dog in the playground… now that everyone else is dead and he has powers to keep the filth dudes away. You hear his power, but then you see his extreme loneliness and sadness.
Who will play with Jung? Who will love him?
My character raises her hand to push the seesaw down, but Jung uses his mental abilities to do it instead. And my character walks away, leaving this little boy going up… and down in a tomb-quiet playground in the middle of a city of corpses. Argh, I wanted the option to take him along with me.
And that’s just the opening cutscene for this main story mission. The actual mission skews to an investigation format, where you have to solve clues to find the next clue, and so on. It’s cleverly done — not too easy, not too hard — and encourages exploration of the projects. My only complaint is that the mob density here is way, way too high. In fact, I would be totally find with no mobs whatsoever here.
The scavenger hunt led to this, a secret door that goes into another Orochi place, The Clubhouse. Flashbacks to The Nursery and Virgula Divina made me pause and then log out for the night. I don’t know if I’m ready to go into another lab of horrors.