Extinction: Phase 01: A LitRPG Military Horror

Isak Kasper has done it all: wingsuit base jumping, crocodile bungee, volcano surfing… The famous daredevil who’s known throughout the Internet world for his insane stunts keeps on pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible. Yet, for some time now, he’s found himself going through the motions. He’s lost the sparkle, and nothing seems to satisfy him anymore—no matter how crazy or dangerous the feat.

So, when the leader in gaming technology contacts him to test their new apocalyptic VRMMORPG that promises to shake even the most daring hotheads, Isak jumps on the occasion to revive his drive. And so, together with a team of military trained personnel, he steps foot in a world filled with menace and monstrosities. Right off the bat, he recovers his sensations and finds that the thrills this game provides him with far exceed his wildest expectations. Could this be the adventure he had so desperately been searching for?

As he progresses through the tutorial of Extinction, however, something happens and he has to be pulled out urgently. Soon, he will discover that this game is not everything it’s been advertised to be and that those lab rats in a white coat are not as innocent and well-meaning as they seem.

Isak will need all the self-control he’s acquired through those years to get out of this ultimate challenge in one piece. But will he lose his nerve and panic when it’s the fate of other human beings that rests between his hands?


My opinion: 300 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Written by LitRPG Freaks and Manny Sims. LitRPG Freaks is also listed as the author of the World of Samar series. Turns out LitRPG Freaks is a publishing company. Though they call themselves a collective but they actively recruit “Want us to publish your story?” on their site.

Such a fractured story. First 10% reminds me alot of the setup of Lion’s Quest. Bored athlete recruited by VR game company to test their amazing new game. Except group testing. This section is really well written and has a great scene in a dinner that makes me empathize with the main character. Nicely done.

From 11-24% there’s some good VR RPG stuff. There’s an excellent detailed description of a cool game system. Lots of info on classes. It’s a military oriented with cool abilities and specializations. Great early exploration of game mechanics. Truly enjoyable.

Unfortunately none of that information matters. Besides using a falcon at some point, no one uses their powers and there are just too many people to keep track of and care about. Even the very specifically described powers given to the MC are never ever used, even though they’d be super useful many times.

From 25-42% the game takes this weird twist. It almost feels like it’s from a different novel. It tries to be a horror novel about an alien that came to earth and turns everyone into a skin balls and uses their muscle fibers to make his spaceship. However, it just falls flat in the attempt. All attempts at RPG mechanics are abandoned except this choose your own adventure aspect where the testing team is given choices like: ‘Go to the beach or go Inland?’ ‘Stay inside or leave building.’ or given instructions that feel like they’re inserted just to say ‘look a game thing’.  Then the MC has some episode where he has a seizure and is pulled out of the game.

The story shifts again, to an attempt by some rich family to develop and spread mind control code through this VR game. Instead, they’re accidentally killing testers. There’s also some internal conspiracy where one company owner knows what’s happening and the other doesn’t.

From 50-71%, there’s some more potentially good game stuff when the group actually gets to test the game Extinction. A post apocalyptic game where aliens have conquered and enslaved humanity but a small group of rebels are fighting back. It has a Fallout vibe, where there’s a series of quests that take you where you need to go but it’s also an open world. The classes from the last test carry over and matter just as little. There a ton of backstory about the invasion and aliens.

Again, none of which matter. Literally.  It feels like the game stuff is getting good again and then everyone is pulled out of the game because someone else had a seizure when they were killed in game.

The rest of the novel is this weird story about wounds in game showing up in real life killing the testers but the wounds aren’t really real but holographic wounds. Then the evil lady who has inserted the brainwashing code tries to cover her tracks by killing all the testers in game and the MC has to save them, in game. Meanwhile, evil lady gets some weird coded ghost powers to stop the good owner from stopping her.

The story is technically LitRPG by the definition I use. But it's a fractured story. It are hints that there were much larger game sections that were super LitRPG with game abilities that were used and XP that means something. However, that's not what ended up in the final draft. I feel like this LitRPG story got sent to editing and was meshed with a horror short story and tech conspiracy thing. It had a good beginning which made the rest that much more disappointing. I had to force myself to finish this and it just kept getting worse the more I read.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Extinction: Phase 01: A LitRPG Military Horror