LitRPG Podcast 074
LitRPG Podcast 074
October 20th, 2017
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 74 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. This week I have 9 new LitRPG reviews for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Delvers LLC: Adventure Capital (09:13)
Loading Screen (16:43)
Eretriah Online: A LitRPG book (18:42)
Trahe Adventures: Book One (26:16)
Monster Hunt: A LitRPG Adventure (46:18)
(Play Music 2)
The cover art for Realm of Arkon book 6 has been released. The English translation of the novel is expected to be released in the early part of November.
There were also some accusations of plagiarism from a new LitRPG story coming out but I’ll be talking about that next week when I actually review the novel.
*Not Reviewing, last I read was 4 or 5. I enjoyed 1-5. The only complaint online about the story is that they aren’t coming out fast enough. *
-Book 3 just came out a couple of weeks ago
**That’s 9 reviewed this week, 4 chosen to skip, and as of now 9 more scheduled for next week.**
New LitRPG Audiobooks
(Oct. 21st, 2017)
The Pantheon Moves (Emerilia Book 10) (Oct. 24th, 2017)
Redeemer of the Dead: A LitRPG Apocalypse (The System Apocalypse Book 2) (Oct. 24th, 2017)
Everybody Loves Large Chests, Vol. 1 (Oct. 27th, 2017)
Awaken Online: Retribution (Awaken Online- Side Story) (Oct. 31st, 2017)
(Oct. 31st, 2017)
Underworld - Level up or Die! (Nov. 6th)
Desert Born (Puatera Online Book 2) (Nov. 8th, 2017)
Shattered Lands 3 Demon Wars: A LitRPG Series (Nov. 16th, 2017)
The Airship: A Futuristic Dungeon Core (The Laboratory Book 2) (Nov. 17th, 2017)
Infinite Assassins: Daggerland Online Novel 2 A LITRPG Adventure (Nov. 30th, 2017)
Emerilia Book 11 (Nov. ??, 2017)
The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) (Dec. 4th, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Delvers LLC: Adventure Capital
By working together, Henry Sato and Jason Booth have managed to survive their unwanted trip to Ludus, an experiment planet. However, Delvers LLC has made some enemies...if monsters, bandits, mages, criminals, bounty hunters, and even dark cults can be called, "some enemies."
After their latest battle, the two have been separated and must adapt or die. Henry in particular faces a trial by fire—perhaps literally—that may be impossible for him to overcome.
The two American men will face their greatest challenges yet while working as conscripted Berber Intelligence agents. But even while outnumbered, and most likely outgunned, the former veteran EMT and resilient IT programmer will be armed with modern Earth know-how.
Unknown horrors are descending on Ludus, but Delvers LLC won’t go down without a fight.
My Opinion: 408 pages, $5.98, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is the third book in the Delvers LLC series and it’s a great action packed story. The first 30% of the story is a must more simple straightforward story featuring only two character thought dead in the last book. This section of the novel allows for some intense character development, especially of Tony, whom I’d thought was a throw away character.
All your favorite characters level up and gain new powers and abilities. Some of which lend to some cool abilities like metal and blood bending, clearly inspired by Avatar the last Air Bender but still cool to see in this universe. There’s also some great crafting, which I’m a personal fan of.
There’s even the introduction of a cute animal companion that’s undoubtedly destined to become a plushy toy on the author’s site. I mean how can you not love the floating puppy badger of Doom?
Overall, the story is actually a narrative of two storylines that merge near the end of the novel but are both great and take the story in some very interesting directions. Great action. Great character development. Great Story.
Score: 8 out of 10
Tundra Heart: Ever-Jail: Episode 2
'Annabelle has been taken!'
These words will change the choices one timid young woman will make for the rest of her virtual eternity.
Thrown into a virtual world Mya is saved/exiled from her world and perverted boss.
Mastering her magic becomes a race against time to save the granddaughter of her mentor.
My Opinion: 71 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a good short story. It’s not worth $2.99 though. It is a good KU read.
This is not a sequel to Ever Jail as much as it is a story in the same universe that ties into that story.
Mya works at her government assigned work place. When her boss tries to sexually assault her and she defends herself, rather than risk a scandal the government tosses her into a virtual prison. There she gets power she never had in real life and can help save a kidnapped girl.
The novel is short but the main character is relatable and she has some nice magic. That it ties into the other story by end is nice. I had a good time reading it.
Score: 7 out of 10
In this, the mid-season finale of Fragged, Zoey's Fighters grows in size, the Metois are closing in, and more than a few personal issues get in the way of the clan performing to the best of their abilities.
Allies have been shot, new friendships have been made, and a feeling of genuine happiness has settled on Zoey who just barely escaped the events of Fragged 4. However, even in her moment of joy, Zoey knows that there's always going to be something that ruins her emotional high.
Things seem to be business as usual at Home Base though, Miles and Paul even seem to be getting along in their own, wary way, but after a suspicious crate drop draws Zoey away the bigger, more worrying picture starts to take form.
Prepare for sassiness, drama, and, as always, good ol' fashion violence as heads butt, old feelings are brought up, and Zoey's Fighters struggle to put out the fires of chaos and disarray that are spreading across Thren.
My Opinion: 53 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The MC grabs a golden crate, the other players she’s met join up with her group, and there’s some crafting. The story seriously seems to have stalled. Not bad, just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Even the teased retribution from the Metois clan isn’t something that pans out in this one.
Score: 5 out of 10
A player starts a new life and has to choose their starting characteristics. This short story explores the idea that people chose where and how they were born.
My Opinion: 10 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
It really is just the character creation section of a game. The character options are interesting and choices include things like gender, sex, upgrading to upper class start with enough science points, and choosing penalties based on whether your character will believe in religion or respect authority. Then just as the character is created/born. The story ends.
It’s not so much a story as an interesting but very brief speculative thought. I’d only recommend you read this if you have Kindle Unlimited. 10 pages isn’t worth $0.99.
Score: 6 out of 10
Eretriah Online: A LitRPG book
Anya has never played a video game before and now, on her first day in Eretriah Online, she is losing a fight against some slimes. Thaezos, a dwarf and experienced player, helps her.
In the year 2057, many countries have gone bankrupt. Powerful multinational corporations control governments from their megalopolises and in the remaining territories, living conditions are hard and almost unbearable.
When Black Scythe releases the first VR-MMORPG, Eretriah Online, many citizens think that it can be their opportunity to thrive. Thaezos, the leader of a gang, has some suspicions about the new technology and resolves to play. Anya is the hope of her family because she is one of the few fortunate girls that can attend high school. Her parents decide that she has to play the game.
When Thaezos saves her, what he cannot imagine is that the red-haired girl who owns the so-called ‘useless magic’ has the potential to become one of the most overpowered sorceresses of Eretriah.
My Opinion: 344 pages, $3.96, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the very first sentences of the story, you can tell there are some technical issues with the writing. The story seems to have been written by an author that normally writes fantasy and sci-fi in Spanish. So, download a sample and if you can’t get past the many many little errors in just the first paragraph, then you should not read this novel. Here’s a small example from the novel.
“Where is Sam?” asked the girl.
She was in a white room more luxury than her house or any place she has been ever inside, including the High School.
Because of the language issue, the dialogue feels very stilted.
If you can get beyond these language and technical writing issues, there’s a good story here. The story is set in a poor country where the main character, Anya, uses a two month game pass to try to gain enough levels to find good loot in game that she can sell for real world money and help bring her family out of poverty.
The game mechanics in the story are solid and detailed. There are quest notifications, character sheets, item descriptions. Lots of stuff that should be familiar to anyone that’s played an RPG or MMO.
The only original game mechanic in the story is a magic system that is based on colored mana. There are 11 colors of magic in the story, each corresponds to a different kind of magic. The main character chooses violet mana, a rare choice. Only after choosing it, is she told that violet mana is for curse or bad luck magic. The mana color chosen is supposed to not only be a reflection of the player's soul but also impacts what kind of character they become.
She’s helped by a nice guy, Logan/Thaezos, in game that helps her with her first quest. Out of game this same guy is the intelligent leader of a local gang that is trying to take over more territory. He’s already absorbed several other gangs and now controls ⅕ of the cities gang territory. He has food and medicine, things is short supply in this poor community.
The author does a good job of subtly describing the quiet desperation of poverty without reducing the characters to stereotypes or beggars.
Overall, a decent read if you can get past the abundance of technical writing errors. It is easier if you happen to use a text to speech program to listen to books.
Score: 6 out of 10
Come along as Marc and Joey's LITRPG adventure inserts them into a computer gaming world with dangers, secrets, loves and terrible enemies. Friends are lost and must be found if they are ever to escape and like in any good computer game, the heroes of the story must grow strong to accomplish their goals. Can Marc and Joey survive? Can they thrive? Can they find their friends? Come along and find out.
My Opinion: 378 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first 22% of this novel is a complete and utter waste of time. It’s just a fantasy scene where some spiteful lady uses a magic ritual to summon a monstrous warrior to kill her political enemies. He goes on a rampage and eventually rips the ladies head off and wears it on his belt. A group of friends happen to be in a museum he’s attacking. Instead of running away after the warrior brutally murders the police they decide to attack him with some medieval weapons they’re hiding behind. When a rare staff breaks the friends are sucked into a portal.
Besides the being sucked into a portal, there’s nothing in this section that has any bearing on the rest of the story or is ever mentioned again.
At the 23% mark, two members of the group, Marc and Joey, wake up and find themselves trapped in a computer game never mentioned before. Only they’re not in the game game, they’re in the lobby for the game. They’re told by the GM that their friends are trapped in the actual game and that they’ve lost their memories. Marc and Joey then go on to train and prepare to rescue their friends in the actual game.
That’s mostly what the novel is. The two learning about the world, training, killing, and really just getting into a series of fights.
The novel is action oriented and once Marc and Joey are in the actual game world the story isn’t half bad. There’s lots of action and adventure. The world building could use some fleshing out but it’s consistent.
However, what the novel lacks are game mechanics of any kind. In the scenes where the two main characters are in the lobby for the game there are a number of interesting mechanics described including build points that can be used for crafting. Unfortunately, no actual game mechanics are used in the rest of the novel, including the build points. There are plenty of reminders that they’re supposed to be in a game world by players saying their players. But everything else about the story is presented like straight portal fiction.
Combat relies on strength of arm but there’s nothing like a skill for combat or strength points. Combat is visceral, fierce, and we'll written. But it’s still described as it would be in a fantasy novel. Magic described not as game mechanic but as connecting to the cosmos and storing its power to be shaped by the will of the mage. That’s what Marc, does. He makes up his own spells.
Overall, it’s not bad once you get past the horrible opening section. As portal fiction it would get a 6 out of 10. However, just because the story is supposed to be set in a game world doesn’t make it LitRPG. Especially when that game world doesn’t have any game mechanics.
Score: 4 out of 10.
Quest into Hidden Realms (Hidden Realms LitRPG Series Book 1)
The game just got serious.
Bricklayer by day, Level 35 Battle-mage by night, Eddie Kilroy lives to play Realm of Battle as Killum, escaping the tedium of his job. Learning of a secret dungeon hidden in a vast swamp, Killum and his friends charge off to challenge it. After a grueling running battle with goblins, orcs, barbarians, and other fell creatures, they win through to the end. Only no treasure awaits the victors. Instead, they find an ordinary altar, but one which asks if they want to enter the Hidden Realms. Duh. Of course they do! Who doesn’t want to level up in the Game?
Big mistake. They can see no way back, no way to log out. Now, trapped in the Game, they face higher and more dreadful consequences – and all that with no certainty that they might ever return.
My Opinion: 434 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The novel starts with a group of players in a game and stays there the entire novel. No real life story line here.
This is basically a trapped in the game dungeon crawl story with some good group banter thrown in.
The first 12% is character development for the five main characters and a dungeon dive that gets them all trapped in another level of the game permanently.
From 12 - 32%, the group is split up and have little small adventurers that inform them about the kind of hard knock world they’re stuck in. Then they eventually meet up again by 33% mark and then they all go look for a way back home while killing monsters, getting levels, and collecting loot.
The game mechanics in the story are there from the very first page. Levels, Player Killer count, alignment, item descriptions, etc. While these mechanics exists, they don’t always make sense and aren’t always consistent.
Sometimes game logic is even thrown out entirely. The most egregious examples revolve around combat. The group gets trapped and their levels are set back to level 10. Yet, each character seem to have the miraculous ability to one shot kill opponents 10-15 levels higher than themselves. There are other smaller inconsistencies like no explained XP system and instances where characters level up after each fight or even just from buying and selling goods. But the game mechanics are there throughout the story so it is LitRPG.
There are a couple of reviews that claim the story has a unique magic system but I found it to be the exact opposite. Magic is learned from bought or found spell scrolls. The exact same as it is in most RPG games.
Overall, it’s not a bad story. The inconsistencies in the story and the simplistic and unrealistic combat were drawbacks. Still, not a bad story, it just doesn’t have anything that wows me either.
Score: 6 out of 10
Avarice Online: The Seven Realms Series: A Litrpg Novel
Gaming is more than a way of life, it’s my job.
Josh Dailey has spent the last two years on the dark side of the gaming world, as a gold farmer. He doesn’t do it to cheat; he does it to survive. And with the launch of a mysterious new game, Avarice Online, his hopes for a better life finally seem within reach. Living in a Slab City trailer with his foster family is not the end of the line for him; he will see to it, if it’s the last thing he does.
The day the game launches, his life turns to shambles, leaving him desperate and at a new low. He must now put everything he has into dominating this new RPG. Too bad the makers of Avarice Online have other plans for their players—blurring the line between virtual and reality.
Join Josh and his new in-game friends, Gor and KILLian, as they immerse themselves in this new world, filled with NPCs who are almost too real, and where the challenges and rewards are greater than any of them could have imagined.
My Opinion: 280 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first 8% of the story is completely about the real world ‘woe is me’ life of the main character (MC), Josh/Magoton. He’s poor and has a crap home life but makes a living players online. He levels characters, farms gold, and will even spawn camp. The author clearly defines these activities as ‘cheating’ and those who pay for them as cheaters.
When the best, most realistic game ever comes out, Avarice Online, the MC is in a bad place. He’s saved from living on the streets by a mysterious benefactor that’s willing to give the kid a place to live in a fancy hotel and top of the line equipment to play the game in exchange for help with his mysterious plan.
Once in game Josh meets his benefactor and is told that all the money in the game is real money and that in a month, the players will be able to transfer their in game dollars to real banks making them rich potentially. For a poor kid like Josh this is a dream come true. The benefactor tells the MC he wants to rob the place the millions of dollars are held in game but needs specific boss monster parts to turn into keys to get to vault. He warns the MC that there are other people and game AI that are looking for cheaters and will do everything they can to stop him. MC agrees to help.
The game mechanics in story are solid and consistent throughout the story. There’s even a reputation system that is kind of cool. The MCs backstory is thorough and I understood who he was and where he was coming from. But the rest of the story is kind of a mess.
One, the real life ‘woe is me’ section goes on way too long and it gets a little repetitive emphasising how crappy the MCs real life is.
Second, the game world itself is ambiguously described at best. It has fantasy elements. Farmers have wooden spears and town guards have swords. But at the same time, players can buy flashlights and hoodies at the local store. The world itself is not well described and it’s difficult to form a picture of the world in the reader's mind.
Third, the premise of the story doesn’t make sense. A game company has sunk millions of real world dollars in their in game economy and has that money just sitting there for a full month? Money not going to game development or earning interest in a bank or used as investment capital. And the game company has put it all in a place in game and coded the ability for someone to steal it all?
Overall, it just wasn’t an entertaining story.
Score: 4 out of 10.
Monster Hunt: A LitRPG Adventure
In a totally immersive world where players hunt monsters for money and glory, Walt leads one of the best teams around. Something has gone wrong with the game though. The safeties are off, there is no way out, and the monsters are hunting them. Death inside the game has suddenly become very real. The hunters are now the hunted in this monster packed, thrill ride of all out horror and action.
My Opinion: 150 pages?, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the author of Mecha and Last Days of Myth-Real. Both novels that were originally advertised as LitRPG stories but they lacked game mechanics.
Unfortunately, the game mechanics in this story are completely frontloaded. The 1st pages of the story have character sheets for everyone and there is early mention of XP and Cash Points, but them the mechanics disappear. Even when the characters are said to level, any upgrades or class trees are completely hidden from the reader. We’re told ‘they upgrade’ and that’s it.
The action is top notch and the story is an almost continuous stream of fights even when it doesn’t make sense for it to be. I mean seriously, your team members start to die in real life when they die in game and you still decide to continue to play? The novel devolves into this action horror survival thing where the game forces them to continue to play while it kills them off one member at a time.
There’s nothing resembling game mechanics once the fighting starts. It’s all very sci-fi action. Lack of any plot and lack of any game mechanics after the beginning of the story made this meh for me. The plot twist at the 75% mark that identifies the person responsible for it all on a person never mentioned before and assigning a motive never mentioned just made it unenjoyable.
The authors is a prolific writer that has a huge catalog of action oriented monster hunting stories (over 100). He writes the action stuff well but seriously doesn’t seem to care about the RPG part of LitRPG when he writes in the genre.
Score: 4 out of 10
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