(You can follow my complete playthrough of The Secret World on Bio Break’s projects page! WARNING: Spoilers and stories ahead!)
- I normally have nothing but good things to say about TSW’s voice acting and direction, but Sarge is a really big misstep for the game. Whoever is doing his voice is putting in so little effort and is so very mismatched with his looks that I am not surprised I forgot him from my first runthrough.
- Anyway, Sarge wants to go fight the bad guys, Karen wants to hang back and observe, and me? Well, I’m all for kicking butt and chewing bubblegum. And I’m all out of buttgum.
- I like how I actually meet up with alive (!) soldiers to help them defend a spot against the draug. Man, it’s been a few weeks since I last played TSW, I am *rusty*.
- I always forget how much I love Ash Forest in Blue Mountain. Extremely well-done for a spooky semi-wooded area. It’s just foggy and ashy enough to be atmospheric.
- At the second defend point, I’m able to repair and activate a sentry gun to help out with the ghosts. I have just enough time to wonder what kind of computer recognition software can distinguish between people and spirits. Maybe it fires at anyone not touching the ground?
- With the recent nerf to monster damage/health, I get the added benefit of feeling humiliated when I die. More so now. No, I didn’t die. Why do you ask?
- I sincerely dislike anytime a mission makes me use binoculars/telescope. That mechanic is always so finnicky.
- The mission ends with some good old-fashioned revenge — killing a draug witch who is resurrecting delta team members to throw at me.
They died so that others may live (side mission)
Some of the loose ammo and weapons near the remains of delta team is best appropriated to the Wakinabi, since at least they seem to have a fighting chance out here. The new port system makes this quest a cinch to finish.
Last will and testament (side mission)
- TSW is all about sunshine, positive feelings, and happy endings. Case in point, this bloody note on a truck informing me that a guy’s family has been turned into zombies and he needs someone to kill them all! Truly, I was born for this task.
- It’s not too bad, although the five-member family are all stronger-than-normal zombies, especially if you get three of them in one pull as I did.
- Man, it has not been a good session for gripping NPC performances. Over at the Wabanaki trailer park, Old Joseph starts babbling on and on about dreamcatchers, bad dreams caused by the quarry, ancient traditions, and… it’s just a monologue loop that lost me after the first minute or so. Grampa, just point me at what needs to die. Apparently that’s all I’m good for.
- Fortunately, this quest is a godsend for players who have been begging developers to make more missions where they are tasked with frantically clicking on fast-whirling targets in the vain hope of making them attackable targets. Oh, the sheer bliss of doing this. Reminds me why I got up this morning.
- Anyway, I kill a lot of bad dreams after flagging them down with a dreamcatcher. And YES, I know how that sounds, but this is Solomon Island and I’ve already well passed the point of my weirdness threshold.
- Bringing the dreamcatcher back to Old Joseph, I’m treated to one of TSW’s rare mid-mission cutscenes. The geezer says that the filth is also infesting the spirit world and/or the past, because why not, and I should undergo a ritual to jump over there and ferret that junk out.
- Now I’m off to do the MMO Scavenger Hunt. You know the drill: Run around a dangerous area where everything wants to kill you while you try to find ridiculous items like feathers and menus and tea cozys. And you must do so while trying very hard not to realize that you could just walk away from all of this and no one would be the wiser.
- I love how I have this giant, hulking dog at my side who refuses to lift so much as a paw to help me out in these life-or-death struggles. “You got this,” his posture seems to say. “Let me know if they drop any bones.”
- Another cutscene. Old Joseph tells me to inhale the smoke from the fire of all of the weird stuff I gathered. TSW is a public service nightmare, let me tell you.
- The smoke helps me to see a portal to the afterlife, which is definitely where I want to be vacationing after this trip to Maine. Inside is a rather long slog through a filth-infested area (which is itself on top of a rather long mission — 8 tiers in all!). The goal is to track down a Beast of Corruption and kill it. Three times.
- That’s as much of a hoot as you might expect. Hope that killing it brought some dream relief to the dead people.
Hide-and-Seek (side mission)
- The Wabinaki are holding out in their village-slash-tourist center, but they’re running low on supplies. Up to me to raid the now-infested casino for more.
- The name of this mission is quite apt. The casino is a lair area, which means that every mob there can practically one-shot me. So I had to duck and weave between mobs, staying out of aggro range, all while trying to find the supplies. Didn’t help that some mobs path around — and that it’s deadly silent except for their footsteps.
- So this here’s Frank and Joe, drunk, cantakerous brothers who talk a big talk… and then go back to sitting around while I clean up the real threat.
- They’re agitated about the wendigos, which they say used to be part of their tribe until they started eating skin (and other organs) and changed somehow.
- I’m not to kill all of the wendigos, just four specific ones, each with their own lair and method of calling out. For one of them, I have to cut myself and use my blood as bait. This game is so charming.
- Near the last wendigo is a sign that one of the Franklin Mansion cats got lost in the bog. If it wasn’t part of my quest to do all of the missions, I’d skip this one — I do not care for cats, especially dumb ones that got themselves trapped in the midst of a filth pool.
- Once I find the cat, I am given three minutes to run back to the mansion to deliver it. No sweat.
- Unfortunately, getting near the mansion triggers the next tier of the story mission, which I was hoping to hold off on doing until the rest of the zone was clear. Oh well, it’s just a cutscene.
- I meet Eleanor Franklin, a tough broad who is quite matter-of-fact about living in this haunted house with ghosts and the restless spirit of her dead husband Ed.
- Eleanor lays out the tragic backstory of the area (although not all of the specifics). About Ed and the incident at the mine with the Indians that resulted in a death. About his subsequent descent into madness. About his writings and suicide. She could never find those writings, though…
- I didn’t catch Eleanor’s reference to the Dreaming Ones in my previous run. It’s kind of spooky in retrospect.