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Generally favorable reviews- based on 1264 Ratings

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  1. Jul 3, 2012
    This game is by far one of the very best MMORPG I've ever played! The combat is dynamic and responsive, the world is incredible huge and offers a wide doze of variety. The zombies are always fun to kill, and there is a ton of missions that never gets boring! I would recommend this game to people who likes almost every game genre there is, I came from Demon's Souls, Battlefield 3, Diablo 3, etc., and instantly fell in love with this game during the beta. In my opinion, this game is a must have! Expand
  2. Jul 3, 2012
    Wonderful world, interesting story and many, various side quests. Technical issues also very well done. This is MMo what I've been waiting for the long time!
  3. Jul 3, 2012
    Ok, i can take funcom off my hate list. this game is simply stunning. I cannot explain how fun it is to have an MMO set in modern times. Kingsmouth is the single best MMO zone i have every experienced. How funcom pulled this one out of the hat i have no idea. Better voiceover quests that that starwars game, the best writing in any MMO by far. Interesting quests, no more collect x of y and bring to z. HIGHLY recommend this game. This is how all MMO's should be from now on. Expand
  4. Jul 3, 2012
    This game has had an amazing launch. Gameplay has been very smooth, and most of the bugs have been ironed out. I've played a lot of mmo's, and for me, what sets The Secret World apart is the skill system and the ability wheel. Best. Thing. Ever. One character. Do just about anything. Progression has never been this much fun. A score of 10 is a bit premature (I have no idea what the end game is going to be like), but I just wanted to recognize how much fun I'm having right now. Expand
  5. Jul 3, 2012
    I was amazed how well the launch went. Experienced no lag even in playfields packed with people.
    The ability wheel is a challenge, but gives so many options to make a build that suit you.
  6. Jul 4, 2012
    Probably the best MMO I've played to date. Here's a few points:

    - Amazing class-less and level-less system. You can play whatever you want, by choosing from an amazing collection of skills.
    - Very interesting, well-designed and challenging puzzle-quests. This game made questing fun again. - Truely amazing atmosphere! I got shivers at several points throughout the game.
    - Great
    storyline and dialogues. Most games' dialogues and cut-scenes are just cheesy and expected. In the Secret World they're unexpected, have depth, and define characters who seem unique and realistic.

    A lot of my enthusiasm is related to my personal admiration for the types of stories that this game tells. So it is clearly not for everyone. Those with OCD can keep playing and enjoying WoW-type of games with max-levels to reach and crafting skills with recipes to collect. This one is different. Also, it's quite hard. Puzzle quests are difficult, they make you think. It's certainly not for everyone.
  7. Jul 3, 2012
    This is the MMORPG we were waiting for. Smooth release. Fantastic world. So fun to play. You can play what ever you want. Tons of spells and weapons to test your builds. Just perfect MMORPG.

    And the story and Voice over are just amazing. You need to experience this game yourselfs.
  8. Jul 3, 2012
    After being disappointed by a number of MMOs that failed to live up to the hype that surrounded them, that were released early, and that all-around disappointed, The Secret World actually delivers so much more than I had dared hope.

    It is the best MMO, and among the better games in general I've ever played. The story and narrative is incredible. But the best part is the game design,
    it's completely new. There is no grinding to get to the end game, or to good content; the good content starts straight off the bat, and there's little to no reward for rushing through it.

    The missions typically require you to actually use your brain, eyes and ears, and can some times be difficult in a very satisfying manner. Same goes for combat. It's not ridiculously hard, but it does give you a serious challenge. The game doesn't hold your hand.

    The world design is amazing. People in it feel real, have character, and have their own agenda (that may or may not align with yours). And it's all jam packed with lore, and more mood than I know what to do with.

    The combat controls are fairly standard for an MMO, but attacks can channel while you move around, and a lot of emphasis is put on moving around. There is the occasional buggy quest (so far seems to mainly stem from too many people trying to do a quest all at once), but overall the game is very polished.

    In summary, it dares to break from WoW and defines a new generation of MMOs, and sets an example that will very difficult for others to follow.
  9. Jul 3, 2012
    By far one of the most unique MMOs I've played in years, if not the most. It's questing system is designed to make players flesh out the storyline of the place calmly, instead of going through the rush of plundering hub after hub to reach the max level. The skill system allows for an almost infinite number of unique combinations(although min-maxers will possibly find the best for each role), and designers have incredible freedom with bosses thanks to that. In TSW, we might as well see bosses that requires, in a raid of 10 players(NYI), 8 healers, or, say, 5 tanks, and players will be able to roll with that just by swapping their skills and armor. The combat is your tried-and-true hotbar tab-target, but with a bit more action with the active dodge(just a bit though). This is a game that will make players think as they quest. So far, I've had to decipher morse code messages, decode enigmas, hack computers and even overload a giant capacitor. Where in other games can you do that? All in all, TSW has the potential to break the shell MMOs have been stuck in for a long time. Expand
  10. Jul 4, 2012
    TSW is a brilliantly conceived MMO. The horror story elements are excellent and really draw the player into Its virtual world. A big positive is the new skill system which removes the need for leveling. The AP system also allows the player to experiment with different skill sets depending on the situation. A far different MMO from the usual and justly so. Recommended!
  11. Jul 3, 2012
    This is not your father's MMO. I had some trouble initially adapting to the game as it's really quite different from anything else. The UI is sparse and it's got a very single-player game type of feel, so you can focus on playing instead of action bar layouts. The graphics are excellent and the overall atmosphere in this game is like none other.

    The quests are phenomenal. Instead of
    being lead from zone to zone you are often given quests by random things that you may find; an arm in the middle of the road or a cell phone you find, for example. You are limited in the number of active quests you can have, which I like, because it keeps you focused on the immediate area and its story.

    There is also a huge range of quest types. They aren't just your typical gather and kill type of MMO quests either--you're solving puzzles and using items in the environment. Instead of grind you get great diversity, fun and excitement as you look forward to what's coming up next. I expect many, many hours of enjoyment from TSW.
  12. Jul 3, 2012
    A classless, level-less, dark fantasy MMO rooted in the works of the likes of Lovecraft, King, Barker and Miéville. The Secret World seeks to break several MMO moulds, and does so for the most part competently and elegantly. Whilst not without its bugs, and in places a little rough around the edges, The Secret World delivers an engrossing storyline, an interesting and innovative combat system and a darkly atmospheric world permeated with secret societies, mystery and the occult. Strongly recommended to any MMO fans - or fans of dark fantasy - looking for something new and different. Expand
  13. Jul 4, 2012
    In an over saturated MMO world. an mmo has to do something different to set itself apart from the masses of games birthed from the loins of WOW. This game has what you need to make it different. the fact that there are no levels and thousands of possibilities to create teh character you want. the fact that the QUEST have finally broken the mold from go kill X number of X and come back here. then go collect Y number of Y and come back here. That is finally DEAD. Granted this game still has those quest. BUT they are FAR and FEW between. As for grouping with others or selecting a server. IT DOESN'T MATTER. because all servers are tied in globally. general chat in each zone is across all servers. you want to group up with somebody from another server. DO IT. you want to make friends with other people on other servers DO IT you are no longer tied down and chained to the server you started on. character custimization at the start is pretty limited. i'll give those who are rating 1's and 3's that. but later on you can literally custimize your character to you hearts content with outfits of all kinds all segmented to cover each part of your characters body. so no one combination will be alike really. Also the Cash shop if anybody says anything otherwise about it having more than just outfits and pets in it. they're wrong. i spent 10 bucks in the store got 1200 points. haven't even used all them yet. the only thing in the cash shop is OUTFITS and PETS. That's it! its not pay 2 win. and if you don't want to buy cool outfits. cooler than what you would find out in the game world. THEN DON'T!

    The only gripe with the cash shop i have is things are not account wide. so if you buy a cool shirt for one character. ONLY THAT character can wear it. Not any other ones. However this game does highly discourage alt play. and they do that on purpose also by the way. so really its not that bad of a hit. however some will be rolling alts like crazy which is beyond me unless they totally jack up their skill wheel. because there are no RESPECS. Overall this game is pretty good. its finally breaks the mold of that damned and boring tired system of kill this and do that. and it really is a breath of fresh air. the graphics are amazing and according to NVIDIA they are the first to use beta software to allow for more realistic lighting through obscured lines of sight. in fact NIVIDA because of what the secret world has done has released beta drivers for newer level cards (4-6 series). End game is a bit questionable however at this point. But i believe funcom has a good roadmap in front of them. and if they stay on this path. then any new content updates will be amazing. But don't come in expecting a huge end game because they are trying to break the mold on that as well. doing what GW2 is attempting with horizontal progression instead of vertical so "nobody gets left out" as the GW2 devs say.

    this game is a SOLID. and i mean SOLID 8/10
  14. Jul 3, 2012
    is just the game I was looking for the challenge with the phrase "no brain no play" although its built-in browser provides a lot of things and their variation of scripts and missions make you ask for more
  15. Jul 3, 2012
    A brilliant and Epic game, a amazing MMO full of possibilities, a great world with numerous quest, a good sound quality and Perfect graphics , and overall 10!
  16. Jul 3, 2012
    This is just fantastic, never thought Funcom could make a game that i absolutely L.O.V.E.
    It's not a WOW killer, but i think this can take SWTOR further down.

  17. Jul 3, 2012
    I really amazing modern day horror MMO that completely breaks the mold of MMOs. MMOs have always been focused on the combat, but no matter how different you make it, you're still going to be fighting things thousands of times and get bored of it. TSW changes this and instead of focuses on immersing you into an incredible setting and story. The stories are incredible, every single character I've met has been memorable, the environments are just spectacular, and the monsters will scare you. Plus, there are no levels and the skill system is completely freeform, pick and choose what you like and run with it.

    This is really a game that needs to be experienced.

    Side note though: This game received a Mature rating for good reason. Don't expect fantasy cuteness here, there is constant cursing, drug use, sexual innuendos, and lots of blood and gore.
  18. Jul 3, 2012
    This is a work of art, I have never played MMORPG, and I am sure more people will get their eyes open for these kind of games. Fantastic...WOW! I´m out of words...
  19. Jul 3, 2012
    If you can answer yes to 3 of these questions: Do you love MMO's and want to try some thing different? Are you tried of the same old fantasy theme? Were you rely disappointed by Star Wars The Old Republic because it is just a wow clone? Looking for a game with a good story? Like the concept of EVE online but failing asleep every time you play the game? Or are you just a sucker for just love killing zombies?

    Then this is the game for you!
  20. Jul 3, 2012
    I'm a huge video game and horror novel/movie fan as I'm sure many of you are and when this game was announced it seemed like the perfect blend of my two favorite genres. The concept of the game was great, filling a niche of MMO that had never been tapped into with a modern setting and horror basis, but to be honest I was a bit concerned about the execution of such a novel idea. I became more concerned and more than a little disappointed once the first beta weekend had hit. The setting and concepts were great but gameplay and interfacing was very rough around the edges. I was out of town for the second beta weekend, but gave the third another try. Wow. I have never seen such dramatic changes made to a game, especially of one of this size, in such a short time. Gameplay was polished, bugs were dramatically reduced, and more importantly, it became very clear that the developers had listened to the players' feedback and responded immediately. Now that the game has launched, I'm happy to say it has exceeded my expectations in every way. The setting and story are top notch, the visuals are great and combat is very well executed. Launch day, by the way, was pulled off flawlessly. Very few bugs were noted and by the second day of early access they were gone. Given a recent notable launch that did not go smoothly, this was a very pleasant surprise (what a concept, I could actually log into a game that I had bought and paid for). I unfortunately can't speak as to the endgame/high-level content yet, but given the amazing atmosphere of the Kingsmouth territories I can't wait to see Egypt and Transylvania. Questing is almost always more than just "kill 15 boars," and actually has context within the greater story arc. Judging by user reviews here so far and in-game chat, the community of this game has become very passionate about it in a very short period of time. They don't need to hear how great this game is and how "different" it is in so many cool ways, but those people still on the fence do. If you have any level of interest in the genre, give this game a try, odds are you'll be hooked very quickly. Expand
  21. Jul 3, 2012
    I'm solving mysteries in my sleep! Can't get enough of this game!
    Love the story, the mysteries/quests, the action and the humor. Don't miss the opportunity to play this amazing game!
  22. Dec 13, 2012
    Everything you would expect from an MMO in this genre, which is saying A LOT because I'm not aware of another MMO that uses the supernatural/X-files/Grimm genre, dark humor included. The UI is ridiculously well designed and intuitive. The Graphics are top notch, while Funcom's Game Engine is the most advanced, and has been for a long time. The questing system flows so that you are rarely without something to do, either solo or with friends or pick-up group. dungeons are boss only, no trash mobs, or very little. Crafting is intuitive. landscape is incredibly well done, and attention to environment detail is ridiculous. PVP is great for all levels, and you can theoretically do all your leveling and buy all your gear from pvp'ing. Armor is replaced with Talismans, that are fully customizable and upgradable repeatedly, where a new upgrade just pushes out the old one. players are rewarded for being versatile and experimenting with their setup, and punished for being lazy and trying to be a one-trick-pony. you can save dozens of different setups and switch to them on the fly. Weapons can be skinned, modified, upgraded or even built from scratch and then broken down again when you are done with it. playfields are huge in scope, while the compass system and maps are well done and easy to follow. teaming is easy. dimensions are broken into shards, where anyone from any server can team up with anyone from another server, great if you want to farm an area and its already full. transportation in tsw is fast and convenient. there is little penalty for dying, except that you can either run back and find corpse or Resurrect elsewhere at a well of your choice, or when in a dungeon fighting boss. if you die fighting a boss in a dungeon, you are locked to an anima well, but you can click the camera option and get a birds eye view of the fight from any teammate still in the fight, which helps to learn the tactics if you die and are new to that boss. ----- In conclusion; this is the best MMO in history for those that love the genre, and just hate grinding. you will meet some of the most fleshed out characters in this MMO, characters that remind you of real people. All voice acted. You will constantly be rewarded everywhere you go, and experimenting with weird and uncanny builds will only serve to benefit you in the long run. If you haven't bought this game yet, do it. just be warned: you will not be able to stop playing. Expand
  23. Jul 3, 2012
    Beautiful world design. Rich story content with highly interesting non-player characters and excellent voice acting. Fun combat that keeps you on your toes. There is a learning curve for character development because there are no levels or classes like in a typical MMO. There is a learning curve for doing some of the in-game quests since they are not typical MMO questing. It is not a WoW clone. Rewarding game for folks who put in the time to understand what Funcom has built for them. I definitely recommend this game. Expand
  24. Jul 5, 2012
    An excellent, just-different-enough MMORPG that does so much right and has room to grow. It isn't quite as gung-ho as WoW or even LOTRO, and this is no bad thing. It's a thinking person's game and caters to its target audience so well. The theme and storyline are extremely evocative and well-executed. The voice acting and musical score are a new benchmark for MMO's and challenge even the big-budget single-player RPG's in terms of quality. the difference in the first few hours, getting to know the world of TSW and being sucked in by it compared to getting bored to death of the opening to TOR was palpable. The ability system is deep and customisable, a lot like the original Guild wars system but less cumbersome and easier to map. Combat is satisfying and group play has synergy and depth. The built-in web browser needn't break immersion if you use it to research rather than to just google quest spoilers! Expand
  25. Jul 3, 2012
    Consider it the irony of all ironies. On its surface, there's nothing special about The Secret World. Classic MMO with a change of setting. But the deeper you go, the deeper it feels. The character (ability) customization is second to none. The varied playstyle between the multiple "decks" (classes) is very wide. And Investigation and Sabatoge quests bring incredibly unique elements to the MMO genre. The problem is this: If you don't give TSW a long enough chance to really sink your teeth into it, it's very easy to just pass over and I don't feel like Funcom really gives you a good enough idea of what the game is about until a few hours in. Granted, this isn't FFXIII where you need 40 hours of patience. Just a couple. Try out a few of the investigation (Green) quests and the Sabatoge (Yellow) quest in the starting zone. Look across all the decks of all the classes. You will see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. I didn't plan on playing this game past GW2- but I might end up playing both. I am very pleased with how TSW is turning out. Expand
  26. Jul 3, 2012
    The Rise of FunCom! This is how we can define The Secret World. A new truly MMO, with a history, unique setting and full of personality. A fun, absorbing, with depth and more than decent content for a couple months. Ragnar knows how make an unique story and move to a MMO!
  27. Jul 3, 2012
    The Secret World turned out to be a fantastic and mysterious surprise that have really grown on me these past few days! I burned out on WoW and SWTOR earlier, and after a buddy recommended TSW I jumped on the pre-order as Early Access was about to start. It's the first time in MANY years that I've utterly fallen in love with an MMO, and this game keeps on surprising me!

    There certainly
    are some niggles and some issues, but IMHO they are all outweighed by a true gamers game, a game that takes both story and gameplay systems seriously and which seems to have a depth and a SOUL all of it's own! If you love being treated like an adult in your games, and you're fond of well-crafted story, humour and gameplay I can definitely recommend that you take this baby out for a spin!

    Illuminati for the win!
  28. cvn
    Jul 3, 2012
    Just an absolute amazing game and the best MMORPG I've played for a VERY long time!

    Scenery and atmosphere are just amazing. - Great graphics and proper sound effects pull the player right into a very exciting , entertaining and well elaborated story line.

    Based on the great PvE and PvP content so far, I'm full of expectations for the future progression of this title.
  29. Jul 3, 2012
    A brilliant game with great depth in every aspect. It is story based, but challenges your mind and emotions instead of trying to be "in your face" and "epic" all the time. The pacing is masterfully scripted. Hands down the best story written for an MMORPG, and probably even for a game, that I have seen.

    Progression wise you never feel like you've hit a wall that is due to anything but
    the build you've chosen and skill. In The Secret World, though it's a theme park, you can play it like a sandbox most of the time. You will mostly focus on a mission at a time and immerse yourself in it rather than gathering up dozens of quest and doing them robotically like in other MMOs.

    The best part about The Secret World is that it puts "RPG" back into MMORPG. There will be choices. There won't be any disconnecting lines of dialogue blurted out by your own character that you would never say in a certain situation. And most of all, you can tailor your character to your own liking no matter what.

    There is honestly nothing here to complain about except the chat system, that can be annoying from time to time. So if I could, I would give it a 9.9 - but if there was ever an MMO that deserved top marks, it's this one.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we've finally seen MMORPGs evolve!
  30. Jul 30, 2012
    Equal parts enjoyable and frustrating, but at the end of the day the questing and combat system made me move on.

    The first few hours of the Secret World are so distinct from anything else I've played in the MMORPG world that it kept my attention for a while. Unfortunately, the punishing combat system, frustrating questing and limited gear options lost my interest over time.

    The game
    itself is not as open ended or "level-less" as advertised. You will follow quest chains that send you across zones, and while you do have a diverse amount of options for what weapons you invest in, the abilities are still broken down into the traditional MMO categories (tanking, damage, healing, CC and hybrid). I created three characters and did not feel I developed a competent character until my third. While you are "free" to invest in anything, if you choose not to focus on a particular skill set early on you will find it difficult to push past your current zone. So really, at least initially, you need to pick a skill set and stay with it, or you will be forced to redo quests gaining back experience to compensate for your lack of focus. This is made easier by having "decks" which you can choose from, which provide general (although not necessarily the best for early leveling) guidelines.

    The quests are intriguing, especially initially. The voice acting is fine, the writing is fine, no real complaints there. The quests can be tricky and the puzzles will often force you to use Google, unless you want to punish yourself for hours attempting to figure it out. They provide an in game browser for such purposes.

    The instances are very linear, involve little trash, and can be cleared relatively quickly. I had a few wipes here and there, but usually could clear the instances in under half an hour. They were enjoyable the first time through, but became increasingly repetitive with each subsequent run through. There was nothing really fun or dynamic about them, but nothing fundamentally flawed either.

    As for PvP, I did not try it, which is odd since I almost always play games for PvP over anything else. This is a testament to the interesting world created in TSW.

    All that said, I did not continue my subscription and I don't see myself playing TSW any longer, and here is why:

    The combat is not very fun to me. As you progress through zones, even if you chose to focus on a deck, you're likely to find yourself having to intently focus on every battle or risk death. I don't mind a challenge, but TSW makes it frustrating, not challenging. This is coupled with the frustration of the questing system, which while narrated well, has mechanics that require mundane and repetitious tasks. So, you have mobs that can take a good thirty seconds or more to kill and involve either significant kiting or downtime between fights, and quests that will send you across half the map, with hundreds of said enemies, all so you can grab something. You're basically faced with running and hoping nothing catches you, or investing a tremendous amount of time into fighting everything. Once you get there, even if you turn in the quest via the mobile turn-in, you will have to make the run back to get the rest of the quest givers' tasks.

    Also, several quests are broken. I will say that Funcom GM's have been terrific about responding and fixing problems, but they are broken nonetheless. It ruins the immersion and frankly I don't like having to petition a GM multiple times to complete a zones quests, especially since there are so few of them in a zone. While there is an open ended style to the investment of skill points, the skills themselves are starkly similar to one another and share much of the same mechanics. This makes the variety of abilities feel less diverse. Granted there are differences between each tree, but they are not distinct ability sets so much as part of a mold that is reused across all the skills. The voice acting is done well, but I do feel they used the same three actors to voice each character. That does not diminish their acting ability, but when the Templar quest giver voices are the same as the Dragon quest giver voices, it once again ruins the immersion. Also, while the story aspect is well done, I can see it becoming repetitive, especially if you plan on playing the game for months or years. Overall, TSW is a fun diversion for a couple weeks, but the ultimate failure by Funcom is that while they made an interesting world paired with intriguing game mechanics, the game does not remain fun past the first few zones. Unnecessarily tedious combat scaling and poorly designed quests sucked the fun out of it for me, and I eventually lost interest.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 55
  2. Negative: 1 out of 55
  1. Oct 22, 2013
    The Secret World delivers an MMO experience that's distinctly different from its competitors, and it's likely going to remain the standard for future games in the horror/supernatural genre.
  2. Dec 17, 2012
    I am really looking forward to the next mission, the next dialog, the next puzzle. As in a solo role-playing game flat. And this is not an error but a boon.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    I like the open character development where I don't have to wear a class straitjacket as well as the quiet discovery of mysterious dangers. But more often that it wants to, The Secret World is "just" an ordinary MMO.