(Join Syp as he attempts to document a complete playthrough of The Secret World from start to finish. What will The Secret Adventures discover next? Find out in this exciting installment! WARNING: Spoilers and stories ahead!)
Mainframe (story mission)
I’m out of Egypt — but not out of hot water, not yet. In trouble for not delivering on Illuminati ends, I’m given one chance to prove my worth to the organization. And that chance goes through the foul-mouthed Senator Cicero, who is apparently from Michigan. As a current resident, I don’t recall any Cicero, but who knows? Probably Wikipedia.
Anyway, Cicero sends me on a mission to infiltrate the local Orochi office and pull out some data about the Promethius Initiative. If this sounds like one long sabotage mission… well, yup, it’s one long sabotage mission. No combat skills, but plenty of patrolling drones and guards to keep me company.
I wish that something exciting would have happened in this mission or that I would have learned something exciting, but it really is pretty dull from start to end (especially for someone who’s seen the Orochi’s much more superior Tokyo complex).
The good news is that my mission is a success and pleases the Illuminati. Geary says that I’m an “instigator,” which is what the company needs. As the data points to a large Orochi operation in Transylvania, that’s where I’m headed as well. Probably too late to save most of them, but thems the breaks for wearing the white-and-black.
Transylvania: An interlude
I don’t ever think I noticed that the portal to Agartha in Besieged Farmlands was a Soviet bunker. I’m always noticing details that are new to me here.
So I want to take a moment to talk about this transition between Egypt and Transylvania. I know a lot of people way back when were renowned for saying what a relief it was to leave Blue Mountain and get to Egypt — into the sun, out of the near-eternal first zone. For me, the real relief came when I finally left City of the Sun God. A second time playing through that area hasn’t improved my impressions of it and I am just as happy as I was a few years back when I finally set foot in eastern Europe.
I really love the Transylvania zones in The Secret World. They’re beautiful in a way that Solomon Island wasn’t, more mythical and “old world” than Egypt (even though Egypt boasts a longer heritage), and frankly, more interesting to me all around. It’s a return to civilization of sorts, with lots of cool NPCs, breathtaking sights, and a welcome creepy take on vampires. It’s like a dark fairy tale, through and through, and that draws me in.
As with the previous areas of the game, Besieged Farmlands is cut off from the rest of the world (heck, it’s in its name). The Secret World does have to bend over backwards to keep coming up with reasons why these areas are isolated from the rest of civilization in a modern era, and that’s kind of hard to do. I think Transylvania cheats a bit by going back to Solomon Island’s well, what with blocking off tunnels with crashed vehicles fleeing an apparent apocalypse of sorts.
A Ghoulish Feast (action mission)
On hand to greet me right out of Agartha is Carmen and her horse, whom I’m going to call Jeeves. Carmen’s a member of the Draculesti, the local good guys group that’s been fighting evil since time immemorial. Mostly fighting vampires, but other evil too. She’s a one-eyed, no-nonsense lady who informs me that the local village, Harbabureşti, has come under a relentless siege by the local ghoul population. The outskirts have been taken over and it’s starting to look grim. Thank goodness I wore my leotards today, because I’m going to get a workout!
Props to The Secret World for not merely recycling the ghoul models from Solomon Island but coming up with new ones, by the way.
These ghouls attack with sign posts! That cracks me up.
Anyway, what I respect about this quest is that it isn’t a mindless action romp against waves of ghouls. Instead, it shows you (not tells you) how the village has been holding up with some special defenses. First in line are the trees themselves, which apparently hold some sort of power. Then there are the Greenwardens themselves, these hulking satyrs that are patrolling the streets. Finally, the locals and Draculesti are doing their part as well. And you see this all as you go through the mission to the final holdout against waves of ghouls, throwing you in league with your new villager buddies.