(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!)
Blood and Fire (action mission)
We are starting to make good headway on this zone, although there’s still the massive Black Pyramid expedition to go (and boy do I *not* want to do that again). Hemitneter, the loudest dissenting voice among the statues, is sick of waiting around and wants to enlist my help in taking the fight to the Atenists. Glad to help, lady!
I love the fact that she wants to actually fight instead of play by some arcane rules and stand around and talk. She gives me an amulet that allows Hemineter to manifest herself as an black-clad desert knight with one of the scariest swords ever. And while she has a top land speed that is topped by all turtle species, when she reaches the bad guys, they are sliced and diced in seconds.
We storm into yet another cult encampment (it’s a cult jamboree around these here parts) and make short work of all of the bad guys. Whether or not she’s breaking the rules, I feel good about the decision considering that we pull out several villagers that are being tortured. If nothing else, we have that going for us when we face judgment in the end.
The mission ends with a neat capstone, as you get to destroy an entire temple/statue with a few well-placed blows. I love that it comes crashing down right in front of you. All missions should feel this satisfying.
Postcard Collector (side mission)
This is another one of those incredibly short missions that feels like a missed opportunity. You’re sent out to collect a postcard for Mouty’s collection, but that’s all it is: one. And it takes about ten seconds to get before you’re done. Not that I always want games to add on a lot of pointless backtracking, but this concept seems perfect for sending the player across the world to the different major locales to find postcards — Korea, New England, London, and so on. But no, just one and done.
Halls of Lost Records (sabotage mission)
Nefertari, the statue who can talk to animals, is pretty concerned that the enemy is breaking into the Hall of Lost Records to steal secrets. Secrets? Bet I’ll never find out what those are, but it’s all-important to keep them safe. The animals are wussing out on the help, so I’ll be substituting in as an animal for the time being.
Pleasantly, for a sabotage mission this was pretty straight-forward and lacked any frustration. I had to go back into the Hall of Lost Records, which I kind of assumed to be a lot darker in years past (particularly from screenshots that I saw, which showed it to be pitch black). Now I don’t even think I needed a head lamp. There’s some optional additional challenge to avoid being spotted by and fighting the infected Orochi personnel about, but I’m not one for side achievements.
The entirety of this mission concerned itself with going into separate chambers and reactivating the defensive barriers. As expected, it went from simple to… slightly less simple. As expected, no secrets were shared, but at least I can sleep tonight knowing that I put the keys to these rooms back in the hands of the ancient priest who imprisoned his children in statues for a few thousand years. He’s the trustworthy type.
Black Sun, Red Sand (story mission)
I’m going to do something a little different for this playthrough, which is to tackle the main zone story before I’m fully finished with all of the other missions. Why not? No harm kicking a little Pharoah tushie (spoiler!).
So after I met with each of the statues and learned more about them, one of them — Hemineter — is missing the song through which she exerts her power. I like Hemy, to be honest, so I’m willing to get it back. Who stole it? The Orochi, of course. They’re like all of the bad guys from Indiana Jones movies who keep trying to steal the Ark instead of allowing it to go into a museum.
At the Orochi camp, Samael tells me that it’s up to me to fix the gigantic mess that some betrayal and order-not-following that the people here did — including messing with the statue. Aten, the dark god, rises, and I don’t have much time.
After recovering Hemy’s song, all of the statues and I activate our song — and Stairway to Heaven erupts from my speakers. Cue end credits, best game ever.
Nah, actually the song cracks open the front door to the Black Pyramid. Put on our game face, it’s time to go unseat an ancient god.
Surprise! Mr. Beardy isn’t nearly as dead as we assumed, what with kicking him off a train and all. That’s kind of a bummer… can’t recall if I ever saw him again in this game after this mission. And unfortunately, I don’t get a chance to kill him again.
However, I do get to take a shot at the Egyptian heavyweight contender, the Black Pharoah. His is not a terribly hard fight, as long as you stay out of his big blast radius. At three points in the fight, you enter anima form and get to summon a statue for a particular buff or debuff.
At the end, all of the statues have their Captain Planet moment and take out the Black Pharoah, so I guess they finally pull their weight around here.
On the down side, a couple of Orochi jerks come up behind me and knock me out before I can take the Black Pharoah’s trident. What’s so important about that weapon, I wonder? Is it like Excalibur?
Also, I call foul on this move. We know without a shadow of a doubt that all Orochi within a hundred miles have been messily murdered. Suddenly having a band of them pop up, alive, just to take me out with a cheap move feels… deus ex machina for the enemy side.
I have another one of my Dreaming Prison side stories. It’s nothing too exciting, just the evil voices yammering on about how weak I am and how they are totally tubular. There are a handful of confusing setpieces with various people and memories that are actually just quotes from various poems and philosophers.
At the end, I’m given another choice to join the dreamers or stand up to them. It’s not much of a choice, really. I give Flappy a backhanded slap and then wake out of the dream to an angry call from Geary. Her office. Now.
Apparently everyone in the Illuminati is incredibly mad that I messed things up, although I think I did a good job preventing the apocalypse. I suppose it’s that Orochi took me out at the end and got the weapon and answers after all.
Geary says that the higher-ups want me terminated — and this is not an idle threat, as I turn around and there’s this scary lady pointing a gun at my chest. However, Geary sort of goes to bat for me and gives me enough breathing room to prove myself to the Illuminati. I got to say, this organization is a little too hard on its people.
Anyway, we’ll put a bookmark in this overarching story to get back to the City of the Sun God and wrap up the final bits and pieces. Big bits. Big pieces.