Warley’s days as a bounty hunter are numbered. Ever since the government put those darn police robots on the streets, criminality has seen a huge drop and he’s now struggling to even find a shoplifter to apprehend.
With rent to pay, no money in the bank and a serious drinking problem to fund, the situation is getting desperate for him. But where is a man of his particular skills supposed to turn to? Chasing criminals is all he knows; it’s all he’s ever done.
That’s when Warley will learn about Dark Infinity Online, a game where criminality still runs rampant and money, real money can be made for those with enough guts to join in.
With nothing to lose, Warley will spend his last credits buying the game. But in a world without laws and rules, the line blurs between good and evil, and there’s no more telling which side is which.
Torn between two rival factions fighting for control over the server, will Warley make the right choice?
My Opinion: 244 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a story set in the far flung future where robots have take over many jobs and cities have become multileveled behemoths.
The author does a good job of describing this world and giving a nice description of the space faring civilization of the VR game the main character (MC), Warley/Exxu, plays.
The SciFi elements of the story are definitely it’s strong suit. Where it lacks is in the game mechanics and a logical storyline that connects the game and real world.
The first 8% of this novel is good. The author describes a real world that is bursting with SciFi character. The MC has flaws galore to work on and empathy for his situation is quickly established. Once in the game world (4%) there’s a good, if dated, attempt to describe the newb experience at playing an MMO. The issues with learning a control scheme, how to control the game camera, what to do in the world, and how not to die so much.
However, after the 12% mark, when the MC gains his first level and it doesn’t seem to mean anything, the game stuff switches to something that more and more feels like normal SciFi. As the story continues, the charm of playing the game disappears as the in game story is described the same as the real life one.
This is technically a LitRPG novel. Throughout the story the main character (MC), Warley/Exxu, completes missions for experience which gain him levels. However, none of the experience is ever shown and the levels don’t seem to mean anything. The story almost doesn’t care about the RPG side of the game world. More text is spent in the novel describing to the main character how to pilot a special spaceship he gets than giving details about the game mechanics of the VRMMO world.
The way the MC interacts with the game world is also rather unusual and often contradictory. The game world is described as a ‘Space survival VRMMO’. Yet, if the game world is in virtual reality, why is it then that the MC plays it while staring at a normal computer screen and using a mouse and keyboard? It’s emphasised throughout the beginning part of the story that the MC is using a keyboard and mouse. Even going so far as to describe WASD movement controls. Yet, the contradictory experience occurs when the MC starts to feel and emote unrealistically. He gets scared, even terrified on several occasions from intimidating spaceships that pass him by. The MC has to learn how to pilot each ship he uses, each button, toggle and switch. The text describes him as grasping, and flipping these controls with his hands. Which would make sense if he were in a VR pod or something but he’s using normal mouse and keyboard.
“His heart thumped in his chest. His palms grew sweaty. And his hands pushed forward on the wheel, hard. ...his eyes remained fixed on threat giant ship, almost like a monster from the dreams of a child...his mind frozen in its flight of terror. This is what it felt like to be prey. He had never felt small and powerless before.” -(34% mark of story)
This is a very emotive scene. However, it has a lot less impact because in the back of my mind I know the MC is just staring at a computer screen and not really feeling those emotions as their described.
It may just be me, but I’m guessing that the author wrote this story as straight SciFi, but then adapted it as LitRPG. It sort of shows when the MC is described as being cold in his spaceship, despite the fact that he’s playing the game in front of a monitor and not in VR.
That this may be an adapted story isn’t bad. But it does also explain why there’s more emphasis on all the SciFi space stuff and not on the game parts. They were likely added in later.
Additionally, story wise there is just an oddity that just didn’t make sense. The stories tension in the real world relies on the fact that players can cash out game credits for real world money. That’s cool, that’s done now. But the oddity occurs when people get arrested IRL for doing bad things in-game, like stealing, just because the credits could be turned into real money. That leap of logic just never made sense and the rest of the story that is built on that didn’t either.
Overall, as a SciFi story this would be a decent read. Yeah, there are some pretty big plot holes but the action and intrigue sort of makes up for it. But as LitRPG, I just didn’t get any depth in the game stuff. Which is disappointing, but not unexpected if the novel is a adapted SciFi story as I suspect.
There are better SciFi LitRPG stories: The Gam3, World Seed, Futuristic Dungeon Core, Continue Online, Phantom Server, Office Wars and more
Score: 5 out of 10