I just finished Episode 2 of Critical Role’s 8-Episode mini-campaign, Exandria Unlimited. And this one wasn’t a mixed bag like Episode 1 was;
Episode 2 of Exandria Unlimited is just plain, bad.
I’m left not really knowing what is going on in the plot, or why the party is doing any of what they are doing. I even re-listening to most of the episode, to see if I could put more of it together. The players seem to be having a fun enough time, but its not making for good entertainment, and definitely not up to Critical Role standards.
The beginning of the episode is easy enough to follow; the party runs into two more Nameless Ones, and another battle commences. Opal charms one of the enemies to go out for a beer and leaves the rest of her allies to fend for themselves. I found this whole scene to be odd; mostly a combination of Aimee’s chaotic, newbie, role-playing, and Aabria not really knowing how to handle the situation. It was very chaotic. Opal is definitely the “wild card” but she’s a little too wild. Battles in Critical Role are probably my least favorite part, so this just sort of set the tone for this episode.
The party eventually makes their way out of Emon and makes camp, to rest. Talk of residuum and drugs were followed by more encounters with the circlet they found. When a character touches the circlet, Aabria asks their character’s alignment, which I find odd. Shouldn’t the DM know this information already? Giving this information out to other PCs seems to give away the mystery of that character. We barely know them yet, but now know if they are Good/Evil/Neutral.
From here, we had a few interactions between Opal and her Patron, Ted, followed by a lore dump from Orym, that ties into Campaign One. Now, I don’t know much about the first campaign, so I’m honestly pretty lost with all the talk about Keyleth and Air Ashari. It seems a bit odd tying into Campaign One with a laid-back mini-campaign. My assumption is that Critical Role has hopes that Exandria Unlimited would be an easy listen for someone that has debated jumping into 100+ episodes of either campaign, due to the commitment. An 8 episode story is a good way to test the waters and hopefully hook them for the upcoming, Campaign Three.
For most of Exandria Unlimited Episode 2, I had no idea what was going on.
Matt Mercer at one point just looks around and literally says “I am legitimately not following any of this…” and that really sums up “The Oh No Plateau” for me. It’s been chaotic for a story-focused medium. I can’t really reiterate what is going on with the plot. The blame goes to the DM for this.
“She had such a uniquely, fantastic flair for really expressing narrative and drawing you in, and following the player’s instincts, and weaving the story out of that magic of what’s happening now.”Matt Mercer from Exandria Unlimted: meet the players
Aabria unfortunately, is not living up to this hype, at all. I talked about the railroading in my Episode 1 review, and I want to focus on NPCs a bit this time.
Aabria’s NPCs all sound exactly the same.
I’m not talking about their voices, either. Yes, Matt Mercer gives his NPCs amazing voices, and Aabria does not “voice-act” them out; her NPCs all have the same exact personality and the same exact way of speaking. None of them are memorable. Sure, there was some non-binary elf, and if that’s what you want me to remember about the character; job well done…I guess. I don’t remember: this elf’s name, what they look like, what they said, etc. Every NPC the party encounters just blends together; they seem to be confused, and speak in broken sentences. Matt Mercer is one of a kind, so I’m not trying to directly compare the two; I just don’t think Aabria has been good so far in Exandria Unlimited.
Poor NPCs and a confusing story make for a sub-par Critical Role experience.
There were some other situations that didn’t rub me the right way:
- Aabria’s “I’m sorry, did I fucking stutter?” was kind of shocking to hear when Aimee asked about her magic not working.
- Taking away Opal’s power and Opal refusing to apologize (which clearly would bring her powers back) seemed both significant and insignificant.
- Fearne – I wish I had more to say about her. So far she has blended into the background for me.
- Little Mister – The little monkey is both a wildfire spirit and a fire elemental and I’m confused about his link to Fearne. I think this was probably explained during the week that the party doesn’t remember?
Exandria Unlimited Episode 2 | The Oh No Plateau gets a 1/5.
At this point, I might listen to the rest of Exandria Unlimited, even though it’s bad. I wound up subbing to Critical Role’s Twitch for a month, so I could listen again without needing to wait for the episode to be uploaded to YouTube. Plus, I’m a bit curious to see how the chaos of Opal turns out, even though I don’t really enjoy her character. I have to give Aimee props because I hated Opal in episode 1, and her scenes and actions are the only memorable elements of episode 2.
What did you think of Exandria Unlimited Episode 2 “The Oh No Plateau”? If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Episode 2 for yourself, below. If you’re caught up — Check out the Episode 3 Review!