Rank Zero: A Sci-Fi LitRPG (Cyberlinks Book 1) (Cyberlinks Trilogy)


It’s only a game until your life depends on it.

Beaten into debt by failure, Alec takes up an offer to reset his VR game character in hopes of restoring his bank account. When those past failures catch up with him, he has to choose between protecting his new friends, or becoming trapped on a poverty-stricken world.

If you’re looking for an action packed LitRPG, but need a break from high fantasy, then you’ve found the right book. Buy Rank Zero today and enjoy the grit only cyberpunk can bring.

My Opinion: 200 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

The long and short of the review is that while this isn’t a bad cyberpunk novel it’s not good LitRPG. While there are regular skill increases and XP given in the story as the MC plays a VR game, fundamentally, the game mechanics in the story don’t matter and don’t even follow their own rules. Additionally, the very premise of the story has a whole big enough to ruin the entire story.

After the MC restarts his character, it’s shown that skills must be purchased with Cert Points which are bought with XP. He purchases some skills and then only a few paragraphs later uses weapons that he does not have the skills to use and not only uses it, but seems to be an expert almost one shotting a powerful enemy. Additionally, he instantly levels up skills he doesn’t even have. Further on in the story the MC constantly does things that he shouldn’t according to the shown game skill set he has, which tells me that the game mechanics in the story don’t really matter.

The big reason the MC plays the game is that he has this goal to take a ship in real life, off mars and start over on earth. He needs $100K. It’s revealed about the 17% mark, that he already has $83K but wants an extra $50K for seed money to start over. Fine. But it was revealed earlier in the story, that game money can be converted into real money at a ratio of 10:1, and that the MC started the story with $500,000 in game and that before he started the first mission had an additional $500,000. So, all along he’d always had enough to accomplish his goal and had no reason to continue playing this game.

Overall, this isn’t a bad cyberpunk story. The action is good. But the real world and VR world bleed into each other so much that it sometimes feels like this is cyberpunk story that was modified to be LitRPG. As LitRPG, the game mechanics were bad and this story didn’t work for me.

Score: 6 out of 10

Rank Zero: A Sci-Fi LitRPG (Cyberlinks Book 1) (Cyberlinks Trilogy)