Lets start here, I liked it, and I recommend it as a good piece in the whole "Virtual Reality but not," style of story. Is it the best? Not without another 50 chapters - simply because it's hard to say if the quality still stay or at what point the story line will trip whatever mental triggers people have.
So, from here forth we shall lay out the critical eye.
The story itself starts in a very confusing way. We get the feeling of memory loss transported to another world - until we see a POV switch. At that point we learn it's really a VRMMO beta test with a machine that can mess with peoples memories. We don't get into the absolute hinkiness of this until later (Vol 2, Ch 18) - so there's that bit of 'well fork, the world is screwed, evil corporate overlord!' standard setting which irks me something fierce.
Lets add in to that the whole PvP guild killers money equals power in game pay to win nonsense. I swear this part irks me the most. There's enough bleeding hearts out there that like, 20 people would band together and proceed to gut all people who try to rule a region. I mean really, that's got to piss people off right? Or is there just acceptance that "eh, yeah, some jerk PvP guild will try to own this" - maybe they do that in Guild Wars? I don't know! But pain hurts! Why would anyone try to own some area at the risk of virtual guttings from some sneaky assassin over and over for a month?
Alright - logic aside. There's a few typos. Most of them are easy to bypass and don't hamper the story. There's one entire chapter where the BB code is so messed up (probably an align tag closed at the wrong spot) - and it takes the entire chapter out of the pretty black / white background and plants it on the actual picture making it impossible to read. That one is the WORST part - on a chapter that should be important with the character returning to the game after beta.
Game play / world wise, there's a lot of fun little items thought out. I get kind of conflicted seeing all these classes being unlocked when in theory they can't change anymore - it's almost useless information to the main character (but good for readers, I guess...) - the items are interesting. The character text boxes aren't done every single chapter but are there which may drive away some.
Characters are interesting enough. Their primary personality traits stand out perfectly fine but little else jumps out besides the analytical one, the angry one, the sarcastic one, etc. Names are almost useless.
There's 'real life' in here, which is good. Some VRMMO's will be written in a way to allow X person to insert themselves into the game forever and ever and ever and it makes no sense in a perpetual world. The over plot will theoretically impact the real world, though I suspect the 'sides' in the game are more about 'methods of handling the virtual world' rather than 'I'm trying to save the world' and 'I like messing people up hur hur'. So the over plot is enough of a mystery to draw me back.
Either way - in terms of VRMMOs, this one is far less annoying than average and felt worth reading. Chapter progress will likely be slow, but what's there is good enough to kill a few hours and engage the reader in an interesting world. Plus the cover is on point and this fiction has better teasing almost sex scenes then a lot of translated novels. So...there's that too.
Before people get upset about what's said - note that I actually enjoyed the story overall.
There's a huge amount of research being done on the world at large. Weapons, armor, and melting techniques are being at least vaguely fact checked before getting written in. Obviously there's some bending for the story and 'fantasy worlds collide' - but overall, lots of thought.
We're looking at a kingdom simulation process which is neat. Those types of stories are rare. However there's so much information that's lost because of the writing style that it's hard to feel anything but glazed over while reading lengthier [object x with object y makes pie bullets] moments. This happens constantly, and I can tell the author is basically trying to show all the math / logic behind why these things work in a world where a lot of science was 'broken by the new over gods'.
Conversations are painfully written and forced. It might be that many of them feel like dragging monologues. They often go into excessive depth about what's be done around the kingdom to assemble x item in the world. This is good from a 'why it works' standpoint, but struck me as dull in a 'reader' standpoint. There's also a lot of over exposition when talking about why people acted the way they did for [insert event]. Forced conversations may turn off some readers, so it's worth noting here in the review.
I did really enjoy the Ding Ding System concept. There's a lot of amusement shown in those windows - at least when they talk to the hermit. I will say that many of the walls of text about new monsters are more like...encyclopedia entries then pertinent / digestible information.
People get upset over the whole wife and children issue. I find it interesting that the main character cares more about keeping people alive rather than protesting over every petty crime people perform. He's judging them based on those actions. Holding his daughters accountable as suggested in other reviews and comments means punishing the grandchildren. Go into this with a bit of understanding that the main character is generally trying to save people who aren't completely evil. Douche bags aren't evil.
Here's the biggest complaint I could utter forth (aside from the opening premise logic...I mean really, people see floating boxes for everyone and go 'eh, that's got to be a hoax, you got me good this time Ted!) - where was I, biggest complaint - the writing style. IN the first 13 chapters are so there are a metric ton of POV changes. It's easy to lose who's talking, where you are, and what's going on. Combine these with the conversational walls and you may just lose. Then add in a MC who's primarily written in 'rambling inner monologue' and you may just press X and never come back. I would understand - it does improve if that helps (Chapter 20 or so is where it becomes obvious that the author is improving this aspect)
Kingdom management + high powered main character + magic + fantasy monsters and races = interesting? Only if you can get past the writing style however. Jesus. Still, I'll show up for more eventually, because I enjoyed the world setting.
Okay. So I read it all and have some stuff to type out. We'll be balancing a fine line between professional feedback and drunken meandering - but here it goes. (Pro tip; I fail, woo!)
Currently released content isn't huge but a lot of work has clearly been put in by the author. The story and writing doesn't feel like something slapped down in a drunken fury (And I know all about typing in one of those) - which is important. Now, as of review there doesn't feel like a resolution point or major arc being solved. The story goes onward and I'm not sure if there's anything that makes me super happy or satisfied. This can be good, as I haven't reached a place to put the story down and wander off - but this is also due to how I take each chapter. I'm just not invested in the characters enough.
The story itself has a mildly interesting prologue despite it's length. This alone is unusual and worth noting. If it weren't for the prologue I wouldn't have tried the rest of the story. (If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college. - Lewis Black). There's a lot of interesting ideas in here that are almost passively mentioned. I found myself more interested in side characters that were briefly covered compared t the main guy who has almost no visible personality.
Perhaps part of it's the writing style choice. Third person is great for describing a scene but difficult for getting readers in touch with a personality. The author tries to overcome this with brief [inner thoughts] which are used rarely and weirdly. Still, I don't (And I've hinted at this before but lets outright state it) - I don't care about the characters. They have interesting details - awesome - but aren't important.
I do enjoy the relative attitude of these people involved. There's a sense of no nonsense people cutting past all the bullshit that really does come with the military (Or indeed, any government of more than five people). The author has a rough idea of how bureaucracy slows down resolution.
Characters are introduced in an interesting manner, by quick blurbs of the first two people talking about them. I enjoyed reading the story for at least a few chapters but after that it became a chore. This had more to do with the type of story and nothing to do with the quality itself. Take note of the tags and consider if the story is one you're interested in.
There are little amusements shoved into the stories worth reading. At times they require a double take or reading a section slower. I'm going points for a man named Alfred using words like 'ya know that, right?' which seems distinctly unbluterish.
There's a bit of tropishness abuse in the form of 'we're constantly underestimated'. I'm starting to detest stories where the main characters readers are expected to love are secretly overpowered but publically viewed as trash turning them into [Insert Underdog euphemism here]. In reality it would be more likely that they are sub par performers on paper and in reality. There's no real sensibly way that any group around for so long can be so elite and still be considered trash. It makes no sense. People, in general, aren't really that stupid. This specific setting undermines the intelligence of everyone outside the main grouping and implies a stupid world.
From here forth it's nitpicking stylistic issues with the writing itself. The author asked for feedback so here's more of it.
As the story goes on there are a number of issues that cause a head tilter like me to get mixed up. Lines blend together due to frequent repetition of words (He, his most notably). One annoying factor is the speech, it's back and forth between two people but occasional tags are needed to help anyone who looks away remember which person is speaking.
Comma usage starts out fairly strong in the prologue then dips a bit. There's a lot of instances of "Stop there." He said, when it should be "Stop there," he said - but that rules kind of a pain to know about anyway. Onomatopoeia exist annoyingly, pet peeve, not marking down.
Marx slowly sank into his chair as he wore a disappointed expression.
Marx slowly sank into the chair while wearing a disappointed expression.<- removing yet another he, his, him notation. If two guys are talking of course it's all he, him, his. Unless BAM, gender bender. I don't see a tag for that.
A little bit can be done to make the time breaks stand out such as aligning them to the center or increasing the font. Honestly a [Window] might make the time warps easier than just shoving them in quietly. There's also issues with inner thought being formatted weirdly and spacing in places. All of these are complaints tied more to reading a novel / professionally edited book as opposed to something styled like a serial novel. An author's comment snuck in on me and I almost thought it was part of the story.
In short; it's not bad. It's not terribly enthralling to me due to the story subject matter. This is only my take based on personal preferences. Read over the synopsis, try a chapter, and decide if it's right for you.
The first few chapters start off with the standard boy metes world for an adventure because of parental issues nonsense. We get ranks, goblins, quests, and of course a heroine to be interested in. There's a lot in here that feels vaguely rehashed but not actually 'bad'. The brief blerb on the fiction page implies impending tragedy but none is apparent yet with the released content. I kept reading expecting someone to lose an arm or be gutted by a level one rabbit. No dice thus far.
Said heroin of course is standoffish with the main character. There's a semi naked 'are you a perv don't look at me *man*' scene, which typically bother me. It's more likely a woman will bitch about dealing with periods while adventuring about then worry about who's peeking on them naked. Lets see a male writer try to work in logical explanations for that one. Magic, I assume, because fantasy world. That aside, if a man can be trusted to watch your back and stab monsters for you, a little side boob really shouldn't even be an issue, in fact it should be low on the list of things to care about when creatures about are more likely to eat you before the main character can get his pants off. #endrant
Actions, thoughts, descriptions, and character reactions are all worked in at regular intervals. There's a few spots where smells or tastes might help but that seems to be a common issue in my mind. Immersion or being fully in sync with the main character however is hard. It feels more like passive observation rather then storyline enthrallment. There are pictures of the characters after chapter 8, so that's neat.
Chapters go by quickly but aren't super short. Words very most of the time It's not simplistic but easy enough to read. Repetition issues show up in multiple places. One scene describes fighting goblins and uses the actual word 'goblin' over and over rather than calling them something else. Like short little freaks, green skinned mess faced monsters, slobbering chuckleheads, or fecal matter smelling midgets.
All of these point to a 'learning fiction' - where the author is playing around with styles, point of view changes, and generally starting out in the craft (at least I hope it's starting out) - either way this fiction may not grab readers, but I expect with more practice and a slightly more original series of starting points, the author will find their groove.
If you're okay with new words on common tropes and storylines, give the first few chapters a whirl. Just don't be surprised when the tone changes later on. Psychological tags do mean something...
The story is short (as described) - a total of five thousand words and not a penny more. This isn't good or bad, for lots of action is packed into the text. That's a plus in terms of story - it goes quick, moves quicker and don't have enough content or time to drag. So, woo! To repeat the storyline - action, people talking, more action, guns, and more talking, action, brief snark, woosh, ending.
Minor sense descriptions could have been added. I generally have no clue what anyone looks like and the only color described is a black gun in the beginning. Hair colors are thrown in occasionally but the character descriptions are super trimmed down. This makes sense from a literal short story point of view, but also made the text far to punch-punch-shoot focused.
There's a small symmetry between both chapters adding a brief dash of humor. There's some repetition and extra/missing punctuation. Generally the right words are used. I feel almost dirty writing an advanced review on such a short story - but it seems to be finished - so whatever I tell you, whatever.
In the time it took you to read the review, you could have risked the first chapter and been half way through - if not more. It's not like you have better things to do, right? I mean, the cover is kind of awesome...
At first I must admit I laughed. Not at chapter one, but at chapter two. Chapter one was only funny near the end. Still reading both kept me amused enough to read through all the currently released content which means something. The comedy tag stands out heavily with this one, far more so than any currently established romance - which only means that theres girls in there somewhere, but doesn't actually equate to 'romance' as a XX may consider it, or any other adult who's successfully romanced someone. This tag specifically is poorly used - here and elsewhere.
Chapters are short, however. Those seeking a large amount of content to wile away the hours may want to seek elsewhere until more chapters are released. The format is what I like to call 'a mimicry of eastern translated works' - which is to say it's very watered down and basic in both description and conversation.
In one chapter there's a boar dies to the sentient reincarnated plant. This has caused me to reconsider my bacon eating ways briefly. Luckily this passed as I chuckled then moved on - choosing not to apply much logic to clearly satirical piece attempting to offer new takes on well beaten tropes.
There are a few typos that even I can see (which is saying a lot) - open quotations are missing in some places along with comma usage being off. Other tense issues exist but are minor. Chapters fly by quickly enough that most problems can be overlooked. Be warned, some of the later chapters are clearly impacted by RRL's updates and look a bit more spaced out than normal.
As for characters, only a few are actively displayed in the currently released chapters. My feelings on this could go either way. I'm only invested in the main character as a source of amusement (like some sort of god watching television dramas to see what happens) but not on any personal level. If the show gets canceled I won't cry.
In short, if you're bored and want a mild giggle, read the first few chapters. By number three you should have a good idea if you want to keep going. They're quick enough, and the author seems to be cranking them out for now. On a personal note - I don't expect this fiction to ever finish. It seems like that kind of story. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong and can return in a month or two for a wall of amusing chapters.
The first item all readers should note is the comedy tag. Directly second to that is the name ‘Scott’ as the author. Now this isn’t a judgment upon all Scotts (though by and large they deserve judgment) – but a reflection upon this specific Scott. Yet, I’ve read all the chapters available, and I’m not sure if that means the problem is with me, or this fiction’s enthralling storyline. Either way, damn you Scott.
Action hits fast. The storyline and plot are certainly rare – if not outright unique. The first fight scene is described as turn based and that is absolutely mind boggling. By the second chapter we see a vaguely standard earth gone to hell scenario unfold, but the twists added (turn based and such) are new enough to cause a giggle. To top it off the main character doesn’t turn into a scrappy cutthroat vaguely human creature who somehow overcomes the odds. The tension in this new setting is real – because of or in spite of the humor elements.
For anyone new, Scott’s writing generally paints a clear picture of the various scenes. In this specific one there’s very little fill in the blank required aside from possible room for sensory descriptions (Taste, touch, smell, etc). Like many writers there’s a focus on describing visuals and conversations almost exclusively. Simple additions of these elements could further enthrall readers into the story.
With regards to conventions; Comma usage is on point, demonstrating a decent mastery of the English language, or at least having been yelled at once or twice by an teacher. Some sentences repeat words (exhaustion is used twice in rapid succession) so some of this feels like first draft or glanced at once – and not a finely polished piece of satire. A few minor spacing typos or missing returns are barely hiccups. Overall readability is high. The worst issue revolves around the ‘windows’ used for the LitRPG / Game elements to this world gone haywire. Too many numbers clutter the boxes and detract from the story itself. A few dead chunks of BB code hang in weird spots.
Logic shouldn’t be heavily applied to the story premise itself, but within the rules offered there’s decently thought out content – at least in the first few chapters. As the story progresses the main line wanders (loses focus). I did get a little annoyed at the ‘class’ provided to the main character, as spell casting warriors feel almost stereotypically annoying. Everyone and their mother wants to have the best of both worlds. No one can ever be a sword throwing mage, nooooo.
Aside from that I didn’t feel much for the characters involved. They were fun to read about but not really engaging. Something felt almost standard about each one aside from their ‘past details’ which could almost have been pulled from a hat of random life facts. Oh and the main character’s name is Scott, so clearly this isn’t a self insert.
Yet, the premise stands as amusing enough to read a few chapters. Just be careful not to delve too far into Scott’s works or you may find yourself wondering exactly when you crossed the line from standard and acceptable material into bat shit crazy.
First, foremost, and loudest I must protest an entire concept which is used here. Reincarnation into a new body often comes with the ability to fully remember aspects of a prior life. This concept seems to discount a brain which is one third the size (If not smaller) of a fully grown adults. Furthermore it cares not about how synopsis are connected and the impact memory and thought replies upon those links formed by different parts of the brain. Often this is blamed on #magicworldlolshutupstupid or #Ilikedthisideandneededtoshowthemgrowingup - both of which are complete cop out ideas.
We can't even excuse the idea since apparently our main character is transported from a modern world with printers (while dying to a wolf) to this fantasy land with half beasts. Along with this wall I must protest that baby minds can learn quickly. It's been proven (over and over) that children learn different topics during different ages. Laungage skills for example often don't kick in until 2-5. Figuring out how to walk, breathe, eat, and focus all take time. Social skills kick in far later. But whatever #reincarnationlol
Sorry, I'm still terrible with hashtags.
Aside from that I will put up a warning to future readers. Present tense is used often in this story and it can be awkward to read if you're used to RRL standard of poorly written past tense. Thankfully this story isn't poorly written so half the battle is solved.
There's apparent thought being put into the story. It certainly doesn't fit into a jaunty tale of traversing another world. The points of comedy are mostly done in the form of snarky internal monologue provided by the main character, but not presented in over the top goofy situations. It's easy enough to relate to the main character provided you can tell for sure where his 'spoken thoughts' and 'observed situations' separate. If this doesn't make sense, read the first few chapters and take note of where the baby character thinks sentences he can't speak, and intersperses them with actions.
Some immersion points could be added or used more. Tactile senses, auditory background noise, smells most noticeably are all weakly described. There is a lot of import placed on painting the picture of this new world but many missed 'texture' spots (insert more than looks?). This coupled with a reduction in repetition (Carriage for instance is used twice in rapid succession during chapter 4) and fixing a few spacing issues where carriage returns are missing, would cause me to enjoy the read more.
At points I lose track of the main characters age, which may cause other readers to pause or blink in confusion like I did. The disconnect between maturity of thoughts and how young others treat him is perplexing to read.
Characters are distinct enough and don't follow complete cookie cutter tropes. No words like tsundre or baka idiot are used anywhere in the story thus far. It's a welcome change to find a reincarnation story that feels more western in writing.
Writing wise little changes between the edited chapters and later ones. Most issues mentioned above carry throughout. Very minor typos overall and the story has some has a large amount of content to it. There's enough here to keep anyone entertained for part of a day at least.
Based on the writers activity and willingness to rewrite and fix typos, this story will likely reach a satisfying conclusion (Or indeed, any conclusion which is against the RRL standard). That alone makes the first few chapters worth a read. Viewers beware however, the pace may feels slow until chapter seven or so.
To those wondering about this series, the easiest way to get a feel for it is to read the first three or four chapters. People expecting an immediately powerful character will be disappointed, but the writing is good enough to carry the story through the first few chapters. Past emotional moments, towards the characters turning point.
The world setting itself is clearly defined right from the get go, which carries throughout the book. A level of carelessness about human life becomes apparent as demi human (Or humanoid beasts) are described in confusing detail by a person reincarnated into this new world. The main character has well written moral qualms about those around him and their general disregard to anyone they feel no relations with. Appropriate care is given to describe the main characters situation using 'modern sensibilities' which makes it easier for readers to accept the new placement.
Typos are minor (Mostly tense issues or missing apostrophes, a few are notable in each chapter). Almost too much focus is put on the main characters lack of 'cheat skills' as the story goes on. Despite this it's easy to understand and enjoy reading the primary point of view with each chapter. This leads into my net major point.
The are multiple point of view shifts describing other characters in the world. Most lead into interactions with the main character and clearly build up to the next scenario / arc being played out. Readers who prefer to stick with one concrete perspective may be put off by this, but be assured that the point of changes are less sloppy than most. They are even written in third person, where all events following the main character are done in first.
These point of view changes are interesting because the main character treats nearly everything with a different perspective that confuses the 'standard person of this new world'. Examples include how he treats their war horses (Giant otters - at least as I imagine them?), a poor ability to interact with younger people in his 'age' bracket (his mental age being double or triple his peers) and the activities he focuses on. (Prostitutes anyone?). That being said, some of the other points of view seem to carry their perspective / judgment of the main character to an extreme of sorts, labeling him perverted rapidly. At least the trope of 'baka hentai' or some other similar phrasing is avoided.
However, it feels like the author is treading carefully with his characters. In a sense this is fine, the people being described are generally 'powerful' when compared to the average - despite the main characters self perception of being weak. Most physical harm being described falls upon the main characters shoulders while other characters on his side suffer little damage of import. There is no tragedy tag so this is appropriate but feels at odds with the 'brutal' world being depicted. Someone else should have been falcon punched to Mars by now.
For those expecting the rapid updates to continue, retaining this speed of release would be god dammed impressive, but is unlikely. Despite any implied flaws, the story itself is well done enough to come back to. I hope to see a lot more of this story as the months go on.
Finding a fiction that has both interesting content, and more than two chapters can be difficult. The longer a story goes on the more likely it is to cause disappointment. This story managed to capture my attention in the first few chapters and leave me annoyed that there isn't more.
For those unaware from the brief introduction above, this story is intended to be a 'dungeon creation' style fiction that reads more like a virtual reality game that comprises both 'adult' themes with Age of Empires player verses player. - where your own team may try to off itself.
To be clear, there's a lot of material that could be discussed in this story. The author gives a sense of depth to the 'video game world' that is lacking occasionally in other stories. The characters themselves are interesting, despite the main person being essentially oblivious to those around her. Be prepared for a girl who's personality doesn't change much during the stories course despite time skips being involved. The reasoning given is a lack of social development due to limited interaction - which is justified to an extent, but also comes off like a weird plot device.
Typos exist but are relatively minor. Those that are present don't really detract from the story for more than a hiccup. Most commonly there are comma issues tied to "So, like, whatever." She said. When it should be "So, like, whatever," she said. English is stupid like that but whatever. At least the paragraphs are relatively easy to read and there's not an overwhelming sense lack of description.
Some of the interaction between the main character and her friends feels weird. Point of view changes are added in to flesh out other people's perspectives. There's outright adult moments both implied and written which are...attention getting compared to many other RRL stories that attempt such a feat.
The story takes place in the future, but still feels mostly 'normal' with the exception of these video game AIs. At some point they cite the story as nearly one thousand years ahead (I believe) - but there's no mention of living on other planets, genetic modification, people with the ability to see ultraviolet, or any other insane science fiction nonsense. I mention this because it feels like a logic gap in the outter world / non game development.
Let over author notes exist on prior chapters for issues that were already resolved or taken care of in later ones. You sometimes end up reading material that doesn't matter as a result. There are also color changes in the fonts which are done to show different points of view. They can be hard to read for some, for example I detest orange on black as it makes my eyes bleed. Readers beware.
Regardless of the style issues and future science logic gaps I intend to check this story in a few months to see if anything new has been posted. It felt worth coming back to.