In the name of god-howard himself it just works. It really shouldn't it has all the markers of a terrible story, mc so overpowered nobody (even death) can really harm her, yet bad things constantly happen anyway cause story. Very little in the way of character development for any of the side characters and all the skills in the world (literally pages of them). BUT somehow author-san has pulled it all together in a way that makes it enjoyable to read and generates suspense for the pages to come. I give it a 4 star because while the author has fantastic ability, the story itself needs drastic revision and a great many larger changes to the direction it takes to truly shine as something great. I feel that the author will make SOME relevant changes but I'm not sure if he/she will go the full nine yards as that would require months of work and changing the core premise of the story.
P.S. Author, if you read this then I just want to tell you that you utilise the skills and rpg nature of the story as a crutch. If you work those systems into the background and focus more on the story itself, I personally feel it will immediately improve the entire thing many many many times over. I love stats and skills but your story is dragged down by them. Your writing style pulls readers into the interactions between characters (an absolutely fantastic skill to have and really this does half the work towards a good book for you). The focus on power through numbers really takes away from these interactions. I agree that they are a nice easy way to explain a quick rise in power but I feel they are too central to your story. By shunting them into the background and having them be a far more passive part of the adventure your story will feel far more organic and... well, simply more complete. Sorry if this bums you out but those are my honest feeling on the matter.
Rant and Spoilers ahead, also salt (loooots of salt). Also expect this to be disjointed and badly organised (plus I gave in at chapter 2 so there is that).
This is not a dungeon from a dungeons point of view, the description was misleading. This is from a humans point of view. Case in point: our little man uses the cardinal directions for some reason, he compares his knowledge to that of a humans, he judges himself to be overpowered when from a dungeons point of view there is no such thing, his perception of time is the same as humans when it should logically be slower (2 years of doing nothing but digging down? why? he should build a room then move down and build 2, then 3 etc as a regular dungeon would, but then he complains of boredom due to his plants taking a while to grow when he literally has no comparison other then the 2 year stint), etc.etc.
Im not mad, just disappointed. I remember this one story I read on RRL about a dungeon named Mother who cultivated a dungeon in a swamp (If anybody remembers its name message me). She was savage, a force of nature and had to figure everything out herself (with a little help from a companion) which lead to lots of experimenting and logical discovery scenes as she slowly learnt how to adjust creatures and increase her strength. Her best move was literally cutting off parts of her dungeon and flooding them to kill off adventurers at no cost to herself. She got devious, leading those she wanted to kill into specific parts and ending them but letting easier individuals past unaware of her true capabilities to manipulate public opinion. Using easier prey to lure in more capable individuals. It was absolutely excellent, a new dungeon does NOT get a convenient package that gives it the perspective of an average human living in say... 21st century modern Earth. Its brutal, mistakes will be made, the dungeon will learn, it is guided by its instincts which are NOT perfect. Our mc is a master with mana from birth, this is wrong!!! As a human you could breath from birth but could you walk? could you talk? you were capable of it but no you didn't KNOW how to do it. He literally adjusts DNA to achieve a specific affect with no issue's first time around...
Sure you could argue that he doesn't know all the possible combinations of traps, he doesnt have all the monsters, and so on but thats literally all there is for him to learn. Should he know that content then he could arguably build the perfect dungeon because he has all the knowledge and the mental capacity (from birth) to realise that planning is a thing and that he should do it.
Then there are the plot problems, at chapter 2 your biggest problem is the choice of dungeon, why does he have to choose whether he wants to be a dangerous dungeon or not? Like srs ok he has to open to the surface and become a challenge for surface dwellers. He then DOESN'T open to the surface for 2 years or so... Additionally what purpose would dungeons that aren't open to the surface serve? they sit underground and chill... Most dungeon stories have passive mana regen really low so the mc focuses on killing as the main source of energy. Using logic (since mc has had that from birth, along with the necessary wisdom to go along with it) should choose to live isolated underground. Why? Because there are mages who want to use take his core, and adventurers who want to plunder him, etc. while he can shift his location and do whatever the f*** he wants without worry of mana limits due to the high passive regen. If he's looking for company or interesting moments, he should just hook up with one of his fellow informed underground dungeons. He doesn't NEED adventurers but they pose a significant risk, a risk he's taking for mild entertainment he could get elsewhere at a far lower cost.
He isn't really a dungeon, he could build an open area and make a forest then build a tower and literally do whatever he wants because he can extend his area so far with no limits of any sort. He isnt constrained to the floor system or the room system (so why is he even making his dungeon like this? it seems counter-intuitive).
Anyway, its a good dungeon story, the author speaks da language, seems to have a plan or something but the execution is severely lacking on the promise delivered in the description. I reccommend a thorough rework and some serious planning (which could completely change the story in a good way).
Edit: Plus one star to story after reading to ch10 and seeing some potential, also because Author listens (this basically means there is no chance the story is actually going to end up bad).
Sure it gets progressively more preverted and sexually orientated but the amount of cringe threaded through this story is far less than most stories on royal road.
There are easy powerups and combat is kind of meh but as a harem slice of life it is entertaining and remarkably easy to read, even with the soso grammar.
The fact that the author doesn't lose himself to the harem (at least not yet), and continues to emphasise the hero and villain superworld aspect adds flavour and differentiates this from literally 99% of the stories on this site with a harem tag attached!
Absolutely fantastic merge of the game world and it's effects on the real world! High quality and great plot with great grammar and punctuation.
The following wall of text is a rant, opinion and slight spoiler (read on at your own discretion)
The only true qualm i have about the whole debakel is that the mc CHOOSES to play the game then immediately (without knowing anything about the dangers) starts to panic. I'm not going to lie by chapter 15 my mind was pushed to its limits in terms of frustration with the mc's ridiculous sense of fear. Nevermind dying in game (and therefore in real life) i feel like he's gonna seisure and die from his ultra intense emotions! it is physically and mentally impossible for somebody to continue to function for that long in such a state.
He seemed to show only mild reactions to the dead corpse in the personality test but then loses his mind upon seeing somebody watching him on the streets when he first enters the game.
Upon finding out about deaths ingame resulting in real death, his paranoia doesn't get worse at all (though his sense of disbelief at the girl dying was really well done). Sure he's addicted to drugs and has to continue to get his fix but damn man you shouldn't be taking quests and doing dangerous things if you are already frothing at the mouth (at 100 sans too).
The horror setting is well done but the mc's reactions to it just leave a bad taste in your mouth and when the action scenes happen its like oh god damn finally, ive been waiting for a nameless horror to appear for aaaaaaggeess! Then mc promptly gets slightly more scared then he is normally on the open streets in the sunlight but doesn't collapse or stop functioning and... handles the situation!
The scenes are appropriate but the mentality behind it is clouded and not particularly well thought out. Is he a paranoid solo type, or a scared but calm and collected type (which is what is advertised in the first few chapters before he enters the game and goes full - MY GOD A SHADOW ON AN OPEN STREET IM GOING TO DIE). The issue with this is that once he settles into the full paranoid it's gonna be hard to develop him into a - quote from synopsis - 'a gun toting, misfit priest' that 'hunts down servants of the Great Old Ones' (basically full baddass character thats at least partially hardened).
Thats the only big point i can contest and honestly its just an opinion so 4.5 stars :)
Read the entire thing over night, fell asleep at work the next day but it was totally worth it. This is a work of art, and turns from a simple redux of things that have been done before into its own gem, polished to perfection. The main character walks a fine line between good and evil while the game actually has meaning for him and affects his life in a very real way. Would rate this higher if i could!!!