100 tons of walking steel. One human heart.
Sgt. Reggie King wakes up from a battlefield injury to find himself physically intact. But the hospital staff insist he’s not fit to return to duty. As part of his psychological recovery, they introduce him to a game.
Armored Souls is a tank game on steroids. Giant, walking mechs called juggernauts engage in interplanetary wars as noble houses and mercenary factions wage endless battles for supremacy. For the pilots of these juggernauts, the rewards are glory, cash, and XP.
As a tanker in real life, Reggie has a leg up on tactics and leadership, but he’s got a lot to learn in the game world. Saddled with trigger-happy commanding officers, slacker teammates, and bafflingly incompetent NPC underlings, Reggie will have to struggle to make headway.
Meanwhile, a sinister player decides to make Reggie’s life hell after their two factions clash. Reggie is forced to find a solution to his griefer problems while battling the real life demons that chased him into the game in the first place.
…and they won’t let him quit.
My Opinion: 417 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Reggie is seriously injured after a battle. Because of the trauma he’s faced in combat his psychologist wants him to play Mech based VR combat game, Armored Souls. In this full immersion game, player pilot giant mechs and go on missions for XP and credits.
The team Reggie finds there reminds him of piloting and commanding his tank squad. Which forces him to deal with the demons of his past or possibly never get released from the hospital.
I was genuinely surprised by this novel. I went in expecting something sci-fi but the author did a really good job incorporating the mechanics of a mech game.
Game mechanics: mission objectives, XP and money for completing missions. Money as reward that can be used to purchase upgrades and new mechs.
Good sci fi mech combat. Action scenes remind me of Mechwarrior or Haken. Each mech type has their own strengths and weaknesses. Scouts are fast but light on weapons. Juggernauts can take a shot and give them back but don’t expect them to win any races. Damage is shown by a change in colors of the parts of the mech going from green to red, then that part being destroyed.
The majority of the story is on military action. The main character (MC) and a group of normal players team up and go on mission after mission to get XP and credits. There’s lots of mission types that keep things from getting stale.
Outside of combat, the team goofs around but their relationships rarely go beyond surface level camaraderie. But that’s ok since you get enough depth with the MC to empathize with him.
Between the game breaks when the MC is back in the hospital and the introspection that he eventually does, the reader comes to understand that he’s dealing with trauma. Not just his physical injuries but the mental trauma of losing friends and soldiers under his command. Reggie dealing with this trauma is the subplot of the story and add a little flavor to an action filled novel.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. I was pleasantly surprised how much the novel felt like a good mech game. Also, I was glad to see more than just *pew pew* *boom* action.
Score: 7 out of 10