Everything has a price. Pangea Online is no different.
After winning the Developer’s Tournament, Esil has a new life filled with opportunity. He’s the first person to test out their most innovative technology, full-immersion gameplay, in a brand new, unexplored gameworld. Magic and mayhem collide in ways he never thought possible and soon, he finds himself caught in a quest that may alter the course of the game for years to come.
As Esil experiences the grandeur of full-immersion and the line blurs between reality and the gameworld, the NPCs he meets feel more like friends than data. Tasked with defending a small town from dark forces, he must learn to protect its citizens from impending doom or risk losing them forever.
My Opinion: 340 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Although this is the 2nd book in the series, in many ways it feels like a 1st book in a new one. While there are a few scenes where the MC still plays the games from book 1, they feel awkward and basic compared to the new game world.
The main game that the main character (MC), Esil, beta tests has full sensory immersion, an advance AI running it that creates a world populated by NPCs that are indistinguishable from real people. They have their own histories, phobias, personalities, and prejudices. The world even has a long history that has impacted the culture of the NPCs there. Because of this and the initially light RPG mechanics, the new game world almost feels like portal fiction. This isn’t bad. I actually like it. But it’s just very different from the book 1. Don’t worry, the RPG mechanics become more and more prevalent in the story as it goes on.
There are a couple of scenes in the novel where the MC goes back and plays the old game from book 1 but it felt really awkward. The scene’s aren’t badly written and they’re entertaining, but after that immersive game why would anyone go back to normal VR? It almost felt like the scenes only existed to create a connection to book 1 and remind the reader of the existence of the other characters and friends of the MC. This awkwardness extends to how the MCs friends are eventually used in the story. It felt like they were just dropped in towards the end so that they had larger roles and again connected the story in some way back to book 1.
Now, I don’t want you to think i didn’t like this novel. It’s very entertaining and I personally liked the shift to a ‘transported to a game world’ vibe. I like it when a game world feels fully fleshed out and has a bit of history and backstory. Additionally, the action is more visceral, the quests feel more like a story, and I liked the NPC personalities more.
I have to admit the magic system felt a little wand wavy, especially the MCs powers. His abilities, though cool, didn’t have any defined boundaries and he really seemed to be able to do whatever he wanted if the story needed it or if it seemed fun.
The story in the new game is a little basic. It’s an introduction to a new world where the MC is figuring out the rules and what to do. Another reason for the 1st book vibe. But it’s interesting enough to keep me turning pages. I liked the real world storyline and thought it added an interesting look at the world and helped develop the MC’s character.
Overall, even though a few places were awkward (like that abrupt ending) I liked the story and I want to read another novel in the series to see how the world in the new game develops.
Score: 7.3 out of 10