(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!)
Red Handed (investigation mission)
Poor Dr. Varias is tasked with being pretty much the sole medical support staff of this besieged village, and to make matters worse, he’s working in a tent outside of a barn. Why they couldn’t bring the injured into that huge tavern/inn across the road, I do not know. Maybe it’s a bravado thing. Why be comfortable when you can lie exposed to the elements, 10 feet away from rampaging ghouls?
Turns out that Varias is equally interested in the genetic research that his dad did as he is with his current patients. After doing a bit of field medicine, I go off on a scavenger hunt, decoding clues from a scientific nerdy bent (hey, when you have to use the periodic table to decrypt a code, then yes, you’ve crossed some sort of line). In the end, I find the laptop with Varias Senior’s research — he was part of the Soviet Red Hand project that features strongly in this zone. Supersoldiers, why not?
Red Hands Aren’t Idle Hands and The Briefcase (side missions)
There’s a sort of mini-story arc in this zone about Dr. Varias, so let’s keep chugging with that, shall we? Varias Sr. has left behind a couple of briefcases of information that can be found in the zone (which is an easy task, since they’re both side mission icons on the map). Inside, brief journal entries about the old supersoldier program and Varias’ involvement with them.
It’s not exactly the creepiest that I’ve read in this game, but it’s interesting enough to press forward. Geary said that Varias was the “Rasputin” of the old Soviet R&D regime, but he disappeared decades ago.
Bringing both of these documents to Varias Jr. is rewarded with a final mission unlock to get to the heart of these daddy issues.
Sins of the Father (sabotage mission)
Want to know why Dr. Varias came to this tiny little burg? Now we find out. He spills his entire backstory: how his father collaborated with the Soviets after the occupation on the Red Hand project, how the family name became disgraced, and how Varias Jr. eventually came seeking information on what experiments Varias Sr. did. It all leads to the observatory, where documents and a sealed door await. He needs the answers for redemption, and I need the answers for my curiosity.
Good news everybody! For today’s field trip, we’re going to be going into a long-abandoned (yet still inexplicably occupied) Red Hand bunker. It’s one of those missions where everything is dark and there are things lurking in the dark that can practically one-shot you if you make a misstep. Lots of dainty tip-toeing around hulked-out siegebreakers, flipping switches to turn on reactors, and — my favorite — leaping over laser grids and avoiding security cameras attached to sentry guns.
I think this mission (and the whole storyline, to be honest) is one of the weaker ones in The Secret World. For all it nails with atmosphere, it doesn’t deliver much at all narratively. The whole secret? Varias was helping the Reds build a super-soldier. That’s not even a revelation — we already know that this sort of thing was going on. But now we know it MORE.
As an aside, I like the chummy group photo of the scientists and Bane behind them there. It’s the world’s weirdest selfie.
At least it was a refreshing change to stop sneaking around at the end and take out this guy. He looks imposing but he went down like a sack of bananas. I really do wish we had an epilogue with Varias Jr. about all of this, but I’ll assume that knowing his dad created these monstrosities is not going to give him much peace for his future.