|Game:||The Secret World|
This is a Funcom game, folks. It's rated M for mature audiences. There will be "colorful" language, blood, gore and, of course, bare-chested females. None of it is particularly gratuitous or in-your-face--in fact, it's all quite realistic--but it's there. If games like Silent Hill make you squeamish, The Secret World may not be for you.
Overall, The Secret World offers fantastic, state-of-the-art graphics, particularly if you're running a high end box and a DX11 enabled video card. Textures are incredibly realistic, sometimes disturbingly so (those moldering dead corpses are none too pretty.) The settings you find yourself in provide vivid atmosphere and texture. Kingsmouth really does feel like a sleepy New England island hamlet...that just happens to be beset by zombies. Lighting is superb, but unfortunately native support for TXAA (a super-efficient anti-aliasing algorithm that offers quality comparable to 16x AA at a fraction of the hardware and performance cost) didn't make it into the game for launch - the Nvidia drivers simply weren't ready.
The Secret World serves up realistic and pleasant-looking character models. Although you'll be offered a few different facial and hairstyle options there are none of the sliders or fine tweaking elements that gamers have gotten used to. Funcom did add more options just before the pre-launch early access event kicked off, but they're still rather limited by modern standards.
The one thing that has dogged The Secret World from the moment people saw their first glimpse of actual in-game combat is character animations; they looked stiff, stilted and, in a word, retro. Although they have improved, they're still not on par with modern games and aren't even as fluid is I remember them being in the carefully mo-capped Age of Conan. In an otherwise fantastically rendered game world, stiff, unnatural animations stand out as a serious detractor. Can you get used to them? Sure. Overlook them? Probably. But you shouldn't have to. Fluid animations are the one thing that keep The Secret World's great graphics from being truly outstanding.
From the moment you load up The
Secret World and begin to play you're treated to music and
sounds that fit the game and its mood and setting to a tee. From the
chilling and mysterious opening refrain to the icily semi-randomized slow piano arpeggios on loading screens to the combat
music, everything just rings true and adds to the game experience.
Not only that, but atmospheric sounds are crisp and realistic. From the
sound of crows taking flight to the death rattle of a dying zombie, it
all makes sense. The only thing that doesn't quite seem on the same
quality level as everything else is the combat sounds, which aren't
bad, necessarily, just...unimpressive.
And finally, the game contains a number of voiceovers. I liked how the
voice actors delivered their lines, and I generally loved their
scripts. When the town sheriff says, in her New England deadpan, "I'm
not saying that Kingsmouth was a little slice of heaven in a snow
globe, but it was ours...and now it ain't," I feel her bitterness and
resolve. And overall, the voiceovers are on par with that.
Occasionally, if you pay attention, it's obvious that the same actor
covered different NPCs (which isn't unusual in the industry), but it's
far less obvious than in, say, Star Wars: The Old Republic.