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The Secret World Issue #8: The Venetian Agenda has been released

Thursday, 7th November 2013 19:41 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The Secret World Issue #8: The Venetian Agenda has been released, and it introduces an all new type of content through Scenarios, where players fight in virtual challenges, and make use of powerful Augments.

A preview video of the latest content update, narrated by game director Joel Bylos, is below.

It shows off some of the Seek and Preserve Scenarios and the new tactical choices the Augment System offers as players continue the main storyline where it left off in Transylvania.

Players can enter the headquarters of The Council of Venice and take part in virtual training programs called Scenarios. By proving to The Council that they are capable, the players can earn certification to enter Tokyo, which is coming in Issue #9.

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3 Comments

  1. KineticCalvaria

    Keep meaning to buy this, is it any good?

    #1 10 months ago
  2. DSB

    Depends, have you ever played Champions Online? It plays a lot like Champions Online.

    You have to google your way to solving some of the quests, and some make you follow breadcrumbs to the objective and gimmicky little scripted stuff like that, but it’s kinda old hat. Been there, done that.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    The only time you actually need to use Google is for research quests, and there are lots of puzzles which aren’t that. The way that’s phrased makes it sound like the puzzles are so hard that you can’t solve them otherwise. I’ve actually never took to Google for anything but the research quests. (And a couple of them I already knew.)

    But then, I didn’t take to Google for any of the Myst games, either. Those kinds of games are my bread and butter.

    The combat, on the other hand? Well, it’s got its good and its bad. It isn’t as fast and spectacular as Champions Online, which is disappointing. It’s closer to Guild Wars, which is perfectly okay, but I definitely prefer CO. Why Guild Wars? Guild Wars (yes, 1) had a very similar kind of deck and card system.

    However! The Secret World does it better by removing levels. Yeah, it has no levels. It’s amazing to see it in action.

    However, it’s not as good as Guild Wars because the enemy AI just isn’t there at all. In Guild Wars you’d have enemy AI performing tactical manoeuvres, which were absolutely stunning to watch. You’d have healers hang back, you’d have melee guys pulling pincer attacks and coming up from behind. Brilliant stuff. None of that in The Secret World.

    Also, the writing… it goes from Guild Wars 2 levels of cringe-inducingly special to actually quite good. It’s at its worst with the Illuminati, which is just bad from the beginning. The cliche Hollywood shyster (complete with a glaringly fake orange tan), the Emmett Brown clone, the passive obsession with drugs, the corporate slave culture, the drug culture as a whole, and so on. Maybe it’s just a cultural thing, but I found myself sighing and shaking my head when the game obviously wanted me to laugh it up.

    Either that or he’s trying to make some kind of statement about America to me, and I’m just not buying it. Maybe he’s trying to be meaningful. That never works for him.

    And then there’s the whole secretive thing at the beginning which you must undergo the quest to find the Illuminati, by following giant signs on the walls. Maybe it’s all too deep for me.

    On the other hand, the Templars have a few genuinely genius moments. The Welsh mage being one of them. I could sit and talk to that character all day.

    So it has its ups and downs.

    Unfortunately, my first encounter with the game was the terribad marketing and one friend dragging me along on his Illuminati festival. I left the game with a bitter taste in my mouth, thinking it must be awful. It’s just the way that part of it is written. It’s… World of Warcraft humour? Preteen? I don’t know.

    Then I was pestered to try it by another friend. I finally caved and I ended up with the Templars. For the first time, I was kind of enjoying it. Though it still turns awful whenever I have to deal with the Illuminati.

    As for the Dragons…

    WELP. Asian racism through and through, there, which I did not like. Not cool, at least not to me. It was nauseating, especially how your initial contact seemed to be kind of… how to put this diplomatically? Working woman? It was very, very racist. Painfully so.

    I think that the Illuminati and the Dragon were just thrown in there for balance. But considering that the biggest faction hub is London, and London is the only faction hub to have a bank (which means that all other faction players end up there)… that kind of corroborates my feelings about it. The Templars are a good time, the rest of it is phoned in.

    So… take my advice as this:

    - Play the Templars, you’ll see some good writing.
    - Don’t play it for the combat. The combat is just bad, the AI makes it worse.
    - Don’t go in expecting a level grind, it doesn’t really have one, that’s not quite how it works.
    - Focus mostly on the puzzles, which are the game’s strong points.

    There’s as much good as bad that I could say about The Secret World, really. I feel that if the combat and the other factions were removed, then it could possibly be one of my favourite games. But they’re there, and they drag the game down.

    Edit: Another thing to warn you about…

    After The Longest Journey, Ragnar kind of went into a phase of what I can only think to call teenage angst. He wants to be a special snowflake, now; the world is filled with endless torment; the badass are emotionally tortured; the light will never come; et cetera.

    So it can be a cloyingly emo game, at times. And not in a depressing way, really, because Ragnar’s not really good enough with emotional impact (he’s not a very good character writer). It’s more embarrassing than anything.

    It’s got kind of a … teenage vampire vibe thing to it. You know? And it can get irritating, sometimes.

    So that’s the only other complaint I can think of.

    Thankfully the pragmatic and humorous nature of the Templars tends to offset that, since they won’t have any of that, they won’t stand for it. The other factions seem to revel in it, though. The Dragons especially.

    The Templars really made that part of it tolerable for me. I’ll tell you this: If they weren’t there, I would absolutely loathe The Secret World.

    It’s just this… thing.

    It’s Ragnar’s writing. It can be good when he’s doing humour or even pragmatic/serious stuff. But when he tries to do meaning, or emotional depth, or ‘change the world’ stuff (basically when he tries to be Grant Morrison), it fails. He’s just not that kind of writer. It doesn’t work for him. And it ends up being just plain bad.

    So, yeah. The Secret World has its ups and downs. There’s always this part of me though that just wants to love it.

    Edit: I’ll just come out and say it. I’m worried to because I feel it’ll turn you off despite the game’s good moments, but I have to be honest.

    Ragnar’s writing is like Twilight when he tries to do meaningful.

    Let that sink in and percolate for a moment and you’ll understand how that could mess up a setting like The Secret World. It’s not always like that, though, and when he’s writing other things it’s actually good.

    This is what drove me insane with Dreamfall, though. It felt like he’d gone from being a mostly capable fantasy writer (in The Longest Journey) to a Twilight-level writer in Dreamfall. Dreamfall’s writing was just bad.

    And The Secret World has some of that. Though I will admit that if you’re playing the Templars, it’s not as bad as Dreamfall. Not quite. It’s tolerable. At least for the funny bits and the puzzly bits.

    Am I being too forgiving because this game has puzzly bits?

    …I dunno. Really.

    Well, try it. See what you think.

    #3 10 months ago

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