The Secret World – Issue 9: The Black Signal – Impressions

Young gamer playing online video games while streaming on social media

After almost a year of waiting Tokyo is finally here in all its bright neon, filth-infested glory.

Of course, Funcom, the usual teases that they are, didn’t make getting in easy. You have to -literally- climb through the sewers of Venice – complete with laser walls, machine gun turrets and a crack squad of commandos to get there.

Story

The effort is well worth it though. After the first step into the portal, the tightly-woven narrative of The Secret World starts to show, with a very familiar scene from a flashback sequence in the game’s tutorial:

Apart from the old, a slew of new NPCs also make an impression, the most visually striking being Inbeda, an Oni decked out in bling with a rather… extensive collection of anatomically correct mannequins.

And if they’re not colorful in appearance, they can certainly be colorful in expression. Apart from Oni living the high life, there’s also a delusional tank driver, a band of anachronistic demon hunters, a fast-talking Yakuza boss and a certain NeuromancerQueen99. To say the NPC crew is diverse is an understatement.

There are plenty of references to Japanese culture as well, both subtle and overt. For one, there’s cute mascots for everything, especially eerie childcare institutions of dubious legality. It’s like I Walk into Empty, Kawaii Edition.

Without spoiling too much, plenty of Japanese horror movie tropes also make an appearance throughout the Tokyo quest chain, including creepy kids, furniture moving by themselves and mysterious phone calls.

And of course, no Secret World quest chain is complete without boss fights that have plenty of white shapes doing bad things to people standing in them