Exandria Unlimited Episode 3 finally felt a bit more like the Critical Role I know and love. It was nice to have some fun this episode, as Episode 2, “The Oh No Plateau” left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.
Episode 3 of Exandria Unlimited is decent, despite this mini-campaign still lacking a strong, narrative hook.
The party makes their way back to the city of Emon so they can meet with Shaun Gilmore. Eventually making their way to Gilmore’s Glorious Goods, via disguises and diversions, a majority of the episode is spent…shopping. I’m actually pretty fine with an episode of hijinks and shopping in long campaign; the time the Mighty Nein spent with Pumat Sol are some of my favorite moments. Maybe it’s because I know Exandria Unlimited will only be 8 episodes, but this just seems like 3 more hours of randomness and chaos. We’ve been through nearly 11 hours and there isn’t really a main objective or quest.
I think I’ve finally nailed down what Exandria Unlimited reminds me of; the beginning of an open-world RPG.
Take The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Within an hour or two of both games, the player can easily take on side quest after side quest in lieu of the advancing the main questline. There is an abundance of places to explore or NPCs to speak with, you can very easily feel overwhelmed. That is exactly how I feel Exandria Unlimited, has been, thus far. Ever since the party took the loot from the ship, we have spent 2 episodes with them hauling it somewhere, only to have them end right back to where they started their journey. That hook just hasn’t been quite enough to really grab me.
My main complaint last episode was that Aabria’s NPCs all sound the same; she did a much better job in Episode 3. Not knowing much about Campaign 1, I have no reference for Gilmore and his employees; I can’t compare Aabria’s version of them to Matt’s, but the NPCs were (finally) fun and interesting to listen to. It will be interesting to see how she handles new NPCs in this manner, or if we’ll meet more bland, same-sounding characters.
We end the episode with a run-in with Poska, which actually feels like it would have been a perfect beginning of an adventure; the party Charming the bad guy and riding off into the sunset, only for Dariax to give the most perfect “gotcha” before a fade to black.
Had this been episode 2, I would have a much different take on Exandria Unlimited. I understand this is D&D, and the first few episodes can be a bit slow while the PCs learn how to interact with each other and the situation, but we only have 5 episodes left. I’m still not sold on Exandria Unlimited, but “A Glorious Return” is a step in the right direction.
Exandria Unlimited Episode 3 | A Glorious Return gets a 3/5.
I still have issues with the overall pacing, plot, and the fact that dice rolls don’t seem to matter. How many times does Aabria just give the party straight-up information despite poor rolls? It’s almost as if their dice have narrative plot armor. But I digress, Episode 3 was decent and will have me interested to see where Episode 4 takes the party.
What did you think of Exandria Unlimited Episode 3 “A Glorious Return”? If you haven’t watched it yet — check it out, below!
Episode 4 Review is up!