The Secret World reveals Hell

Welcome to Hell
Last month, Massively sent freelancer François Blondin to Funcom's studio in Montreal to check out the latest and greatest from The Secret World. His original write-up from the latest Montreal event was his second look at the game, but one part was still under NDA: Hell. In this article, Frank will discuss his impressions of Hell in the game.

Remember the movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves? Remember what Hell looked like there, when he stared into the cat eyes and moved to that realm? Well, this version of Hell is just like that -- with you in the middle.

In The Secret World, Funcom brings us a stunning Hell, with burning winds that scorch the landscape, making things hard to see, silencing you completely when you're in the winds, and burning your precious skin to a crisp if you stand in it too long. You have to run from cover to cover to stop the damage you're taking and allow to use your abilities. But the cover is never safe; enemies are waiting for you.

When you finally emerge from the wind-swept areas, you'll find yourself target practice for Hell's artillery. This is where I loved having my "get out of the way fast" assault rifle ability, which allowed me to jump back 20 feet and dodge that fiery rain. During the demo, some participants didn't seem to get that standing in the fire is bad, and we lost a player or two during that time.

From there, you'll move past the artillery and go up the towers. Be careful; you can fall down, and although TSW doesn't have any fall damage, after a certain height, you do die! On the tower-tops, you'll meet the final boss of that part of the instance. I don't want to spoil it for you, but always be careful not to go over the side, even though that's not always easy to do here.

I must also confess that the Hell we played was tweaked to easy-mode so we could play through with our very limited experience in TSW, but I was told that at launch, it will be one of the harder instances in the game, possibly even the hardest. And you will revisit it more than once as the story continues to unfold.

The instance looks and feels real, like my own vision of what Hell should be, and I wouldn't want to be stuck there. Monster design is spot on, especially for this setting. Towering demons and swarming lesser evils dot the incandescent landscape. This is what I was looking for when going for a second look at TSW: consistency in the quality of design. I've now seen three instances, and they were all brilliant and will have your team adjusting to each different encounters. Players will definitely be switching up skills after wipes to allow for off-healing or off-tanking, depending on what's needed or lacking, making for a grouping style that will freshen up any MMO player's day. So when TSW tells you to go to Hell, enjoy the ride!

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

This article was originally published on Massively.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.