(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!)
The Sound of Children (action mission)
Welcome to the Nursery. This mission does NOT. Mess. Around. There are a handful of missions in this game that put you through the ringer, and this is definitely one of them. We ready? No? Well, it’s too late now.
“This place has bad memories,” the Council woman says as we step inside the secret Orochi faculty. Let me just say that if you ever had any sympathy for all of the dead Orochi all over the place, the Nursery will harden your heart against them for good.
Initially, the Nursery is a quiet but undeniably creepy place. Little playrooms full of Matron Bots, an unnerving lullaby, and plenty of scribbled “Hello I walk into empty” graffiti. Then we come to this:
Which has to be one of the most-photographed rooms in all of The Secret World. I’ve seen it plenty of other places to know that it had an impact on players. It’s hokey, sure, but also quite unsettling. A dismembered Orochi employee is surrounded by dolls and scribbles. It’s all clearly staged — but by who? I was never clear on this. The popular theory is that one of the experiments resulted in an incorporeal entity (angry spirit?) who went nuts both here and in Hatchet Falls. Could be the same spirit we actually saw in the Orochi cave prior to Hatchet Falls.
The lead doctor’s computer delivers some of the backstory of this place. As we’ve seen before, bright guy sells his soul to do unspeakable experiments on children, then starts messing with the Filth, then gets infected and it all goes downhill. What else did you think would happen?
And just when you thought it was bad enough, these doors open and you step into Hell(o). It’s an Orochi slaughterhouse… and not everything back here is dead. There’s a side mission, Where the Little Ones Go, to go into each of these side rooms that feature a different experiment type. It’s pretty easy and you’re probably going to do it anyway, so easy AP.
On the plus side of this place, I use an anima infuser to turn my flamethrower into a new auxiliary weapon. Flame on, baby!
Lots of use of shadow and light here. Also some things moving behind the lights. It’s only marginally less scary because Council girl is there with you.
I never, ever want to know what is in this room.
I kill the director and read the suicide note that his assistant left behind. Yes, plenty of kids have been abducted and experimented upon, but the big prize is Emma… and she’s here somewhere. We find a secret room holding her, and Council woman betrays me (curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!). Turns out that she’s a Big Bad, Lilith, and she’s absolutely batpoop crazy.
This little girl-thing shuffles down into the room, and Lilith snaps its neck. Looks like a Japanese girl.
For a lovely denouement, Lilith straps me to a table and then uses a laser to cut off my legs (!). Seriously. It’s really surreal how my character doesn’t scream, but TSW is nothing if not committed to keeping my character completely mute. Lilith picks up Emma and leaves with her, humming the lullaby.
I Walk Into Empty (investigation mission)
Tell me if you’ve ever been here: Legs lasered off by a primeval madwoman and thrust into the dreamscape of a very troubled little girl while gods older then the universe plot your downfall. That’s like, every Tuesday in The Secret World.
As my legs regenerate (I assume), I take a holiday in Emma’s mind. Don’t know how I’m doing that, since Lilith took her away, but here we are. There are lots of flashes of Emma’s past, including scientists (?) in a cabin abusing her, Orochi conducting some sort of large-scale experiment with her blasting holes in reality, and a glimpse of the Virgula Divina project. That means “divining rod,” by the way.
It’s not a terribly difficult investigation mission, all things considered. There’s some trial-and-error maneuvering through rooms in an Orochi facility and a hippity-hoppity jumping part, but the real tough angle of this quest is if you’re going for the teddy bear, which requires getting extra magnetic letters scattered all over the place.
A burning house: What I can only assume is Emma’s home, or the birthplace of the creature we know as Emma. There are no survivors except for her. A fireman asks her name:
He mis-hears, thinks she said “Emma.” But no, this child is actually the living and breathing embodiment of anima itself — the power that flows through all us bee people. Not much else is explained about her backstory here, if she was a real kid at some point, what created the anima form of Emma, what burned down the house (her?), and why half the game’s factions are out to get her and use her.
The super-long stretchy hallway. An old classic but still effective for dream weirdness. The music gets downright gorgeous here.
When I jump out of the dream, I’m able (somehow?) to port into Agartha right behind Lilith and Emma. The girl shakes off her captor, who has a mild matronly freakout. Emma knocks her (and me) away, at which point the Filth starts crawling toward her, chanting her name.
She’s small. She’s powerful. And she knows so very little about what’s going on. Emma blasts the Filth back, but not entirely — the Filth has invaded Agartha for the first time. I can see this from the main hub as I look across the way. Emma appears and talks about needing the lullaby to play all the time, to keep the Dreaming Ones asleep. Otherwise it’s bye-bye for reality as we know it.
Happy ending: I get a 10.1 necklace as a reward for this whole chain, and I’m able to head back to Besieged Farmlands for normal questing!