AFK: The Webseries Review
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“AFK” is shorthand for “Away From Keyboard.” It means that an online player is not going to be active for a bit. In this webseries, it means that several players have somehow been sucked into the game to become their characters. But instead of looking at the wonders of their characters, the series looks at the limitations of the players. The character may be male while the player is female or vice versa. The age of the character is no clue as to the age of the player, but their actions are.

This means that the focus quickly becomes survival and the personalities, backgrounds, and problems of the players. In every episode, we get revelations about characters.

When something is revealed about one character, alternative versions come out about another. So we find the male playing a female who wanted to look at a good ass if he had to look at it all day. We learn about the female playing a male so she wouldn’t be hit on. Seems tidy. But what about Q, who refuses to say what he or she is as a player? We don’t know if Q’s male or female or how old.

Q (Mia Pistorius) is an elven archer—elf with a bow, no big surprise. Except as a player she can make and use a bow, and she knows how to fight. Stevie (J.J. Fong) is a fighter but not too good, Brandon (Grae Burton) would be a magic user if he had any magic, Maybel (Ravi Narayan) is a gnome with a gun (good combination, really). And there are others. It’s a mostly standard party.

And it’s a standard game world, too. A couple of twists like an inability to understand or learn the languages of people in opposing factions is hardly universal. But if you look carefully, characters in the party are lawful or chaotic, good or evil, though it’s the good ones who tend to remain.

And there’s a reason to stay together. Thrown into a world of chaos, some players start killing other players. They want to get money, objects, general loot. It’s the game, but in this case, there are real consequences—maybe. After all, no one is sure if death doesn’t just bring you back to real world. On the other hand, stabbed people feel pain, and so far no one’s respawned to tell anyone anything about this.

Be afraid, especially of the Russian and his armored...we don’t know what that thing is—who decide that all they have to do is get enough laborers and they’ll have an empire.

It’s a great set-up and done well. The special effects here almost don’t exist, but the plot, the script, and the acting are all good. In terms of the acting, these actors have had parts in productions like Wonderland, Spartacus, The Two Towers, The Battle of the Five Armies, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Water Horse. It’s a good watch.

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