Like you, I've been dying to get in and check out this new zone, the first new area introduced to the horror game since launch. Thanks to a special tour with Game Director Joel Bylos and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen, I was able to preview the first of the three Tokyo zones so I could share that experience with you. We not only explored the city itself, but we completed one of the new -- and might I add, really spooky -- missions and utilized the new AEGIS system.
So, how is it? Let me just say, it's worth the wait! And not just for the creepy homages to the Illuminati handler, Kirsten Geary.
Let me start by saying that there is no way to adequately convey all that I experienced in Tokyo in the confines of this one little article. I played TSW's expansion for nearly two and a half hours and I barely scratched the surface, even though Andersen and Bylos were actively trying to show as much as they could. During that time, however, I developed a real appreciation for the beauty of the zone (Bylos noted that the longest hold up was due to the art, and you can really see the care and detail put into it.), a better practical understanding of the AEGIS system, and some serious empathy for poor Sarah. Remember her? We walked in her shoes for a brief time in the Tokyo subway during the tutorial. I also found an entirely new line of lore to collect! If you don't want any spoilers, I suggest you skip ahead to the AEGIS section below.
Speaking of cutscenes, if you like 'em, Tokyo's got 'em! According to Bylos, this particular slice of the city has has more cinematics than any other zone in the game, partly because when combining all three Tokyo issues and their sidestories there are more missions than any other zone -- 30 to 40 compared to the 28 in Kingsmouth. And if the story and atmosphere of the quests are all on par with the one I experienced, we are all in for a Japan-sized treat! In just that one I got to experience exiled demon factions mixed with blow-up dolls, a creepy shrine to KG, freaky little girls you should never take your eyes off of, and a Harvey-esque twist.
Earlier I mentioned a new type of lore. The first time you see one, you almost have to do a double-take: It looks like a photo negative of a regular lore piece. These black collectibles with a slight purple hue are actually where the issue gets its name. You see, the golden lore is all about the Buzzing. Players have been hearing the Buzzing since the beginning. Now, there is another side to the story, that of the Black Signal. Using a drop-down menu on the lore page, players can select which voice they listen to. And trust me, the two have very different perspectives on the events happening in game.
Once you get topside after your little subway jaunt, you step into the neon glow of Kaiden and hear how this particular city was made a quarantine area. As you traipse about, you also come to the realization that the Filth has evolved here! Filth has infected not just the population (which is catapulted over massive walls into your quarantine area), but machines and electronics as well. From the nursery's nanny bots of Issue #7 fame to the radio and the television, Filth is taking over. Players can't even believe what they see and hear electronically now.
I won't spoil the quests other than to say that yes, you get to play in dark parking garages again. And yes, expect to be creeped out! Bylos also offered a hint about what players can expect when he explained that "we stole a few ideas from Portal -- some puzzle ideas."
Some mobs in Tokyo then have special shields that correspond to these colors (you can tell which color by the targeting ring or its health bar) and the matching AEGIS damage must be used to dispel the shield in order to beat the mobs. Some shields can even be recast, so damage must be exacted before that happens.
One thing that Bylos pointed out: Although the AEGIS system is the free part of Issue #9, no other mobs in the game use the shields other than in Tokyo -- at least for now. So in order to utilize the system, you have to access Tokyo, which cannot be done unless you buy the issue.
I also learned that the mall right there in Tokyo is the setting of the next scenario that will join with the three others already available. There is no estimated arrival date for that new map, however.
As noted previously, Tokyo will be spit into three zones, each one introduced with a new issue. In Issue #10 players will get to traverse the subway system under Tokyo, while the entirety of Issue #11 will take place in the Orochi Headquarters that players can see rising above the city. Issue #11 will also introduce a new lair, at which time a revamp for all lairs is planned. The third piece of Tokyo will also include a new dungeon as well as a raid. With Tokyo and its features, Bylos explained that players have more ways to progress both vertically and horizontally, and the systems allow for that to be built upon for quite a while.
Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ on Thursdays as she infiltrates The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to email@example.com and she'll jump on the case!