Sam Nagai thought testing video games would be a dream job until he got saddled with a ton of barely playable mobile games that used very wonky holographic gimmicks. The lack of fun in these games and small pay makes Sam typically reluctant whenever he gets a call for a new gig, but customers for his art commissions have been scarce and Sam needs all the money he can get. He finally gets a call for a new gig with potential bonus pay, but not much else is known about the game itself. From what he does know, it sounds sort of interesting. Virtual reality, dark gothic fantasy world, role playing game mechanics, and uber hard difficulty? Sam's all in for that. After all, even if he gets in over his head, the simulation isn't truly real so there's not really any danger.
My Opinion: Without specifically referencing it, the VR game in the story is based on the Dark Souls video game. I’m a huge fan of the game franchise and that love is part of the reason I liked this novel. I’ve always thought that Dark Souls would make a great VR game.
In the novel, the main character is a video game tester that loves dark and difficult games. Boy does he get what he’s looking for. The combat in the VR game is brutal, difficult, and more dependent on skill and tactics than stats. The game mechanics are very familiar replacing XP with souls.
If you like the Dark Souls video games you’ll probably like this novel. Also, turns out there is a series of comics based on the Dark Souls franchise you can read after you’re done with this.
Score: 6 out of 10