We tested the game using our X58 chipset set up (our Sandy, and Ivy Bridge set rigs were unavailable at the time) which consists of an Intel Xeon W3520 CPU running at 3.8ghz, Asus P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard, Nvidia GTX 480 video card overclocked to 700 core, and 1848 mhz, 8GBs (4 x 2) of G-Skill Sniper Memory, and Creative Titanium X-Fi Sound card running on an Asus VG278H display at 120hz.We played the game in Dx11 using 304.79 Nvidia drivers with all settings on ultra.
We averaged about 40fps with minimum frames being about 30. Not the greatest frames you want to run, but not too bad. Overall even at 40fps avg game play was relatively smooth.
Visually the game looked pretty good for a MMO. The colors for the most part were as they should. No real over emphasis on one color over another. Ok well maybe brown but to us it made sense brown would be more or less the dominate color so to speak as the season the game wanted to simulate during some of our playtime was Autumn.
Speaking of Autumn, the trees in the game did a good job of reflecting the season. You had a good mix of brown, yellow, and green leaves on the trees. It wasn’t overdone in our eyes. Tessellation gave the stones in the ground that extra added pop. It wasn’t extreme but we are certain if we had our rigs that run GTX 600, and AMD 7000 video card we would have seen a good difference then what we seen using out GTX 480. (sigh. we miss our rigs).
Lighting to us was pretty good, at times beautiful, and shadows came through very well.
When playing in 3D, the environments just popped. You really got the sense you were in a place where dark things were happening. Especially when we played at 3am with the lights off and sound turned way up.
Combat maybe the Achilles heal of the game. The system itself is similar to past MMO games, which is not always a good thing especially with today’s games. The system seems a bit too much like an homage to older MMO combat systems. Point, click / target has been a staple of MMO’s for many many years, but with the advent of such games as Tera, and Vindictus (yea we know that’s more a dungeon crawler, but it still relates so shut it) showing that MMO’s can have a more action oriented combat system shows that the need for you to click and target enemies you want to attack is not necessary. Granted Guild Wars 2 utilizes the same basic point, and click mechanic, but even it seems a bit more current then the fighting mechanics of the Secret World. Its a shame because we feel very strongly that the game would of been a perfect candidate for the more action oriented combat mechanic. Now of course this is just our opinion, and others may feel this is not an issue so don’t just go by what we say, and take it as truth etched in stone. Try it out for yourself and then decide if you agree with us, or should we just shut the hell up.
Another thing that bothered us a bit was the stiffness the characters seem to move. It was a bit robotic whether running, or fighting. You didn’t really get the sense that these are humans who’s movements could flow a bit while running, swinging a sword, dodging attacks, etc. It just seemed like the characters were just going through the motion. This is made a bit clearer when playing some stealth portions of the game’s missions. You really don’t get the sense that you are actually evading detection they way your character moves. Again this is just our opinion.
Below are some gameplay videos we took showing off the combat as well as the environment. This may help you decide whether, or not we are dead wrong in our assessment with the character movement animations, and fighting mechanics.
The game has its own fully functional web browser which you need to use to solve a number of the puzzles found within the world. These puzzles really shows off how much Funcom has put into the game. They can be at times very challenging, and can really give your noodle a workout to solve them. As we are gamers that appreciate a good mental work out when we play some games, we appreciate what Funcom has done here. However not all of the game’s puzzle challenges are within reason in our eyes. Some just make you go…”Are you serious?! You want us to do what?!?!”
One clear example of this is a mission we ran into where you need to decipher an audio message in Morse code. Sounds straight forward right? It is until you realize you ACTUALLY have to decipher the message on your own. There are no tools within the game to aid you. In all honesty if you tried to decipher the message the old fashioned way by listening to, and trying to write down all the dots, and dashes, find a Morse code decoder, and decipher the message it could take you an hour or so. A simpler way is to download a Morse code decoder from a mobile app store, play back the message with your phone listening, and hope the decoder knows what the message is. Either way in our book it is a bit much just to advance in what is basically a video game. Luckily before we went and did any of this we found a walk through that had the code decrypted already.
Although we appreciate the level of challenge again this is WAY too much, in our opinion, to do just to complete one mission.