LitRPG Podcast 175 - Ankh, Somerset, Disgardium 2, Home Siege Home
LitRPG Podcast 176 - The Scared But Willing, Steel Orc: Player Reborn, Villainess Life, Eight-Bit Bastards: Level One
June 21st, 2019
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 176 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have a shorter show this week because I’m recording earlier than normal. I have 4 new reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
The Scared But Willing (08:43)
From the author of the Dream trilogy. Less military, more RPG fantasy, still has good action and group fighting.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Beginning is hard to get through, but has good crafting focus mid story, and action ending.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
Boring super villain stuff, boring RPG stuff
Score: 5 out of 10
Eight-Bit Bastards: Level One (25:37)
Funny, nostalgia based, 8 bit fun. Minimal RPG stuff.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Luke Chmilenko, author of Ascend Online, has released some more commissioned artwork this week including some nice stuff for his characters Molly and Lazarus.
The GameLit Society fan page did a written interview with the author of the Wandering Inn, PirateAba. So, go check that out.
*A side quest story for Frank*
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Shyft - Book 2 - Stealthcaster: (A LitRPG Adventure) (June 25th, 2019)
The Crafter's Dungeon: A Dungeon Core Novel (Dungeon Crafting Book 1) (June 27th, 2019)
Eight-Bit Bastards: Level Two (June 28th, 2019)
Ball of Light - Evolution (June 2019)
The Time Master (Interworld Network Book I): LitRPG Series (July 18th, 2019)
Cannibal. Demon of the Mind. A Post-Apocalyptic Survival LitRPG Series (July 23rd, 2019)
Imprisoned Online: Gaming the System (A LitRPG Adventure Book 1) (July 31st, 2109)
Nora Hazard Book 3 - Accounts Payable (July 2019)
Hero GO! (Champion is Playing Book #3) LitRPG Series (Aug. 5th, 2019)
Invasion, book 1: A Second Chance (Aug. 8th, 2019)
Scamps & Scoundrels: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Bad Guys Book 1) (Aug. 15th, 2019)
First Song 2 (Aug 2019)
A Game of Villains (World of Karik Book #1) Dystopian LitRPG Series (Sept. 2nd, 2019)
Blood of Fate (World 99 Book #1): LitRPG Wuxia Series (Sept. 9th, 2019)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
The Scared But Willing
A new LitRPG novel from the author of the Dream trilogy, The Scared But Willing tells the tale of gamers drafted into a deadly electronic war.
As he slogged through the boredom of a career as a cubical drone Thomas Paine Cooper believed his life sucked, but it was not until the E11 Corporation entered his life that he discovered what life-scale suckage really meant.
The E11 Corporation’s meteoric rise to become a multi-billion-dollar technology giant was secretly based upon an alien AI reverse-engineering advanced technology.
Until the Human computer and data networks reached a point where the AI could hope to escape its bonds, and E11 found itself in desperate straits: Human-produced software could not contain the AI’s efforts to break free without real-time Human controls, but the Human psyche can not handle a purely electronic environment. In desperation, E11 built an interface that allowed Humans (their bodies ensconced in nutrient tanks) to experience a virtual reality environment similar to a fantasy world MMO.Except that the ‘players’ only have a two per cent chance of physically surviving the shock of dying ‘in game’.
Under the guise of employment opportunities E11 is press-ganging gamers into a virtual war designed to contain the homicidal AI. The interface feels real to the players, and death is certainly a fact, and the players’ only hope to return to their bodies and the real world is to play to win.The Scared But Willing are gamers who band together to hunt their ticket home: a thoughtful ranger, a Monty Python-loving wizard, a brooding barbarian, a lovely healer, a vulgar monk, and a rogue who lives for food and women. Bound together by the challenge of fighting their way back to the real world, they embark on the journey of their lives, learning a great deal about themselves as they struggle to escape.
My Opinion: 259 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the author of the Dream Trilogy, one of the best received LitRPG group military transported to a game world series. I really enjoyed that series and couldn’t help but compare this new one to that. In some ways the author is going more blatantly LitRPG with The Scared But Willing, which I thought was good. Unfortunately, the story mixes several conflicting themes early on that may put off some readers. Honestly, I had to push past the first 15% of the novel because of this.
First the good. The Dream trilogy is filled with great military action and banter between the friends and squadmates of that series. Some of that exists here. Good action and once past the 15% mark, some really good group fights with nifty strategies to get through some tough fights. But the banter comes off as more superficial and forced since the group in the story is essentially a pick up group and not friends that have had years to get comfortable together. Also, there are open RPG mechanics in the story with references to stats, XP, levels, HP, and class skills.
The meh: Early in the story there are a couple themes that feel like they’re forced together and it just didn’t work for me. The premise of the novel is that the main character (MC) is basically kidnapped by a tech company and his mind is uploaded to a MMO style game to help fight against the companies A.I., which is slowly becoming sentient. The MC isn’t alone and a lot of others are in the same situation. The ‘game’ is supposed to be this cyberpunk interface that only interprets the real cyberwar happening and just happens to present it to the players or Bravos as a fantasy game in which they fight monsters, and accomplish other objectives that in reality protect vital cyber systems. I’m really not a fan of this cyberpunk premise and never thought it added anything to the story, but it is consistently presented and provides some goals for the group. However, this cyberpunk thing conflicts directly with the fantasy game setting and in the early part of the story the reader is constantly reminded of that everything is really just representing computer systems and attacks. It sort of ruins the immersion in the fantasy stuff. Thankfully those constant reminders become much less frequent after the 15% mark and the group goes on a larger adventure.
Game mechanic-wise things are a mixed bag. Compared to the Dream Trilogy, there are a lot more RPG mechanics. But things are intentionally light. Even though this is supposed to be a game, things like health and XP are not presented with a UI HUD. Instead, Bravos have a stone they look at to see that info. It’s a small thing but it conflicts with ‘game’ aspect and makes the story lean more towards transported to a game world than trapped in a game. Beyond that there are classes and RPG powers increase as characters level, but there’s a distinct choice not to delve into the gamer mentality of choosing powers and weighing options. There are no notifications or details on what each level brings or powers available. Instead, there are just summaries of what the MC chose and no reasonings of why he chose specific powers.
Overall, I like this story. I did have to push through the first 15% but once I did the story was good. It has really good fights, good combat strategies, and ok group banter. I don’t like it quiet as much as the Dream Trilogy though. The military stuff isn’t here and the group relationships just aren’t as fun. Still, if you like your LitRPG with lighter game mechanics and good combat, you’ll like this.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Steel Orc: Player Reborn (A LitRPG Adventure)
When Tripp Keaton wakes up, he discovers that he is an orc. An orc in a strange world, with the skeletons of humongous beasts scattered around him.
This isn’t a normal morning.
Deep in the world of an online game, Tripp finds himself alone, weaponless, and with nobody to call a friend. Worse, the game’s god-like controller has taken an interest in him, and that interest manifests itself in cruel ways.
If he is to survive, he has to learn how to craft legendary weapons and find allies to fight with him. He must battle his way through a labyrinth of monsters and traps, while surviving wave upon wave of creatures unleashed into the land of Godden’s Reach.
It isn’t enough to make a sword. When the metal cools, he must learn how to weave magic into it.
My Opinion: 564 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The start of this story is just confusing and it bounces around until about the 15% mark when the varying story threads merge together and make more sense. Still, a hard start to the story.
At its core, this is a slice of life adventure story with an Orc MC and some good crafting. There are some minor cyberpunk themes with the ruling A.I. becoming too broken and the game makers making a deal with it that impact the MC, but that comes into play more late story. The big draw is going to be the crafting focus in the middle with a crafting dungeon, and the big game event at the end of the story that combines several neat story elements. If you can make it past the beginning of the story, I think you may find something enjoyable here.
Score: 7.6 out of 10
Villainess Life: A LitRPG Supervillain Novel
Miranda is an ordinary gamer who finds herself inside the body and mind of the notorious supervillainess Murder Maid - a character she created in the online role-playing game Super City. She has none of Murder Maid's memories but has to live with the consequences of her alter ego's actions.
When she escapes from prison and tries to claim Murder Maid's old lair, she is thrust into a life-or-death battle against vicious enemies she didn't know she had.
Now, she must stay alive in the brutal supervillain city of Nyx. She will make allies, level up, and try to discover what has happened to her. Is the world she remembers the real one; or the world she now experiences?
Villainess Life is a supervillainess adventure with LitRPG elements. Follow Miranda's exploits as she tries to come to terms with the unpleasant reality of life as a villaines
My Opinion: 178 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a so-so super villain story with some minor RPG progression. It has the main character trapped in the body of the level 21 villain character she made for a game. The fights are boring, as is the internal conflict the MC has with being a villain. On the game mechanic side there’s nothing really special here and a lot of the game stuff just felt awkward. The MCs powers felt unearned since she starts the story at level 21 and everything around that was just not interesting.
Score: 5 out of 10
Eight-Bit Bastards: Level One
When you’ve maxed out your level, done every quest, and defeated every enemy, there’s not much left. So after seven centuries of immortality, Sean wants nothing more than to die. Afterall was touted as a paradise, an afterlife where anyone could pursue their interests, from archery to zookeeping. The gaming was the stuff of legend, but for Sean it had grown stale.
But when a woman from a past life informs him of a real, flesh-and-blood descendant that has hacked his way in, Sean finds a new purpose. The AI doesn’t take kindly to interlopers, and parks the intruder in the one realm so buggy that even the oldest, most powerful denizens of Afterall steer clear of it – the Bitrealm.
Sean must enter a land created for the original gamers, people like him who cut their teeth on some of the first video games released to the public. Will Sean brave the pixelated wilderness of Bitrealm to rescue his lost kin? Or will he fall victim to the force that has been making people vanish? One thing’s for certain, he can’t do it alone. He’s going to need a few members of his original guild.
He’s going to need some Eight-Bit Bastards.
My Opinion: 224 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
A good LitRPG story that starts with an interesting premise. What would you do if you had your mind uploaded to a game universe and were immortal? What about after 700 years and you learned a distant descendant hacked his way into the game and is now trapped in the most bugged place?
The 1st half of the story is mostly this speculative recollection of what its been like for the main character (MC) to have lived so long and done just about everything. Then transitions into collecting and convincing his old teammates into helping him, and it’s not till about 40% in that you get to the RPG progression as the group enters a minecraft like game world and gets their levels reset and you get humourous action adventure. The story is funny on several levels, meta gaming, good banter between group members, and there is good slice of life adventure here. The big draw though is the interesting world building, 8-bit nostalgia, and setup for what it would be like to be a digitized immortal who can never really escape his mistakes. A pretty quick read that i enjoyed.
Score: 7.4 out of 10
That’s it everyone!
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