Starting from beginning the first choice we have to do is which faction to join. The available factions in game are three and each of them reminds well known facts or groups of real history: the Templars, the Illuminati and the Dragons. In our test we could experience two of them and the first feeling (already tasted with the introducing videos of each faction) was a deep realism. In the various interviews released by games developers was said that they wanted to fulfill in the game everything we consider urban legends in reality: its true. If Illuminati (in the game, with a base in New York City) are considered, in the real world, as a powerful group of families able to influence secretively the course of history, the Templars (with their base in London), dont need introductions: obviously the game takes cue from these ideas to develop two totally original groups, but the point is that both can affect the fate of the (game) world without any scruples.
Once faction is chosen we can move on character creation, which appears at same time easy and modern. Its possible to customize, with the menu on the left of the screen, facial traits (head, skin colour, eyes, nose, lips, jaw) and hair & make up (hair style, facial hair colour, eyebrow, make up); with the menu on the right of the screen the outfit (head accessories, chest, back, legs and shoes). Youve got it: to begin this MMORPG doesnt mean to dress rags (as usually happens), but means to dress normally, because you (at least at beginning) are a normal guy. In any case the system let us see that your look will be one of key features of the game, with the possibility to unlock dresses cooler and cooler.
Now its time to begin the gameplay: a great power harbours in you, but youre not the one to know it. Your only choice its to join with some powerful faction that can give you some truth. Once you move first steps, the feeling over again, is realism: the excellent graphic (in both DX9 or DX11 options), the shadows and the city setting make their job and you actually feel to walk around in London or New York streets as a normal citizen; but you are not a normal citizen, you have to look for Illuminati or Templars, to explain just this to you, and the feeling is that you are in a real world, with mature dialogues and ominous musics; the sense of freedom mingles (pleasantly) with anguish one, as if everything can happen in every moment.
Answers will come, but first of all you need to experience (in a sort of tutorial) your basic powers on the field: youll be carried (as in a dream) where the evil has begun, and there youll face first infected, to become familiar with controls. The interface its a classic one, with the minimap in the top-right screen and skills bar in the bottom.Skills can be clicked with mouse or binded to keyboard, while the movement its controlled by WASD. The combat itself isnt so easy; some skills need to click the target while others hit a specific area (without any targeting): e.Every skill can be used while moving. Moving and using skills at the same time seems to be the secret to survive.
After the tutorial is ended you can finally see what in TSW takes over from classes and levels: the weapons choice. The second slogan widespread by media to advertise the game was in fact the complete lack of classes and levels, the possibility to really become who you want to be. Again, its true. There are 9 available weapons (3 guns, 3 short-range, 3 magic techniques) and the choice about one means to use the related skills. Doing quests or tasks, but in general making every relevant action in the game allows you to gain all points (Ability or Anima) youll need to empower the skills you prefer. The system is complex but complete: it is essentially based on the possibility of using 7 active skills, and choosing 7 passive ones as gameplay support. From a GDR point of view the weapons-quest (as every quest in the game) begins with a long introductory dialogue of the NPC assigned to our training. Its interesting that he doesnt consider us at all as the one, but simply as a soldier (one among a lot of others), so that its clear that our success or failure will depend only by our skill and ability in battle.
Once the weapon-tutorial is ended too, youll have immediately to carry out a mission in the small town of Kingsmouth, to reach whom youll be introduced to a bizarre world named Agartha, that works as teleport toward every world location, chaired by a 800 stationmaster and kept by enormous steel-robot. Choosing the right passage youll reach in a while the location you need, to begin finally your true adventure.
Without revealing too much, the only Kingsmouth its a perfect mechanism of action, quests and dialogues that hardly youll be able to interrupt. Setting, identification and story progression are so well made you would discover more and more, satisfying all NPC requests, always anticipated by ever foregone dialogues.
Ultimately TSW is a game with a groundbreaking content, with mature plot and dialogues, with incredible music (always appropriate for the location: unforgettable the Crucible), with an excellent and well representative graphic, with an original progression and classes system all to experience, with quests always anticipated by interesting cut-scenes and dialogues. The bold choice of Funcom of trying (and succeeding in) renewing a genre is certainly well done, above all for every players want to discover a true secret world.