Dead Man Gaming: A LitRPG Series

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New LitRPG! Ex-safecracker Jimmy Stanislavsky was just trying to help an old friend stay alive when the FBI framed him. But rather than send Jimmy to prison, the Feds have an interesting offer: play the world's largest virtual reality video game MMORPG as an Undead Rogue. Infiltrate the Russian mafia, who have set up an in-game crime empire while masquerading as orcs. And do it all within three weeks.

Now Jimmy is racing against the clock - and the FBI's threats to put him behind bars for life. With the help of an elf, a druid, and a goblin he befriends in the game, he might just have a shot at completing the quest... or get killed by the Russian mob in real life.

He got framed to play the game.

 

My Opinion: 624 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This story has one of the more silly premises I’ve read. A fresh out of jail safecracker is entrapped by the FBI and recruited to infiltrate the Russian Mafia, inside a fantasy VRMMO. Only this criminal seems like he’s never played a video game his entire life. The beginning of the novel is really quite frustrating and yet, somehow, it won me over and I had a good time reading the story.

The first 7% of the novel is this convoluted backstory about how the main character (MC), Jimmy, got into crime and how we went in and out of prison. A bunch of stuff that isn’t important to the story at all.  All you need to know is that the day he gets released from a 6 year prison stint, the MC is convinced by his best friend to do one last job to save his little brother’s life. Instead, the MC is captured by the FBI and forced to do this virtual infiltration thing.

The next 30% of the story is a noob’s tale. In this game world, basically WOW focusing on the Undead race, the MC constantly asks question after question about every single gaming term, ability, concept, and action. It’s genuinely the most frustrating part of the story. It’s an accurate representation of the noob experience playing an MMO for the first time but there’s a really good reason why not everyone wants to shepard noobs around while playing games.

If you can get through this part, there’s actually a good story here. Once the MC hooks up with a group willing to put up with his questions and whining, then things gets interesting. The quests, combat, and world are well described. There’s loads of good group banter and ‘that’s what she said’ jokes. All the noob stuff gradually peters out until the 50% mark when the story returns to the actual premise and becomes a combination plan to infiltrate the Russian mob and a bank heist. Though don’t expect to see the actual heist stuff till the 80% mark.

The group dynamics, and humor (if it lands) in the story are it’s highlight. There’s really good character development as well. The action is good. Though the fundamental premise of the story doesn’t really make sense, somehow it works out. Though I’ll warn you there’s a huge cliffhanger that doesn’t make sense logically at the end of the story.

Overall, if you can get past all the noob question frustration, this is a good story. If you can’t ignore that stuff, then don’t pick up this novel, you might end up throwing your kindle across the room.

Score: 7 out of 10

Dead Man Gaming: A LitRPG Series

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