So this week I thought I’d just signal boost a public service message for any of you that might be interested, on account of being fans of stories involving the supernatural and perhaps also not having a lot of cash to throw around, and that message is The Secret World has finally gone free-to-play.

What’s The Secret World? Well I more or less summed up my first impressions five years ago in a blog I wrote for The Satellite Show. It is (or was) a modern-day MMORPG set in a shadowy world where conspiracies are truths and monsters lurk just out of sight. I was middling in my first reactions, but about two years ago it had a steeply discounted Steam sale that had Dawn buying us both copies, and despite still having some of the shortcomings I mentioned it’s a great, well-acted storyline full of maturely-oriented mystery.

As of this past weekend Funcom has relaunched the title under the name Secret World: Legends, providing approximately the same storyline experience but streamlining and simplifying it, and while that does mean some of its unique elements have been lost and we’re back to classes and levels, the most important thing here is that all the content now has an entry barrier of free, and that may be the most important consideration of all for a lot of us. You can download it, have a look, maybe while away some of these Summer nights. Maybe you get hooked, maybe you don’t.

Now the new version isn’t integrated into Steam just yet, so you might want to wait for that (supposedly sometime in the next month) if you don’t want to run it independently, but I do highly recommend giving it a whirl. It’s probably about as close as an MMORPG has ever gotten to effectively presenting a horror/suspense game, and supposedly some features of the relaunch are geared towards making that more prominent, such as helping out solo play and limiting the amount of other players in your particular area at any given time so things feel a little more isolated. That said, don’t go in expecting the level of scripted atmospherics you get in games like Dead Space, Silent Hill or the better Resident Evils. But it definitely has its moments, and remains a unique entry in a genre mostly still chock full of fantasy.

Website: Secret World Legends