" For the love of all things in tights, can we please have a game that doesn't make me want to cry on my shiny leather suit? "
Title: Vigilance: Absolute Power by Mystic Eye Games
Format: Superhero D20 Role Playing game
Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A
The Hype: They've been trying to do it for ages: Create a playable, and fun, superhero game. Mystic Eye Games gives it there bid with Vigilance, a D20 using rules set that lets you too become a superhero. So, this looks like a review for…. CHIMPAN-A… MAN… Monkey… something… Oh just read the review already.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: Well, kudos on having a story there. Props on having that story be large and detailed. That having been said, it's got about all the same qualities as a comic book only without the comic part to make it interesting. The story is pretty hackneyed and basically just inserts superhumans into Earth's history. The "twists and turns" one would expect are barely present. Although they do kill off their established superheroes all the time (about twenty characters are introduced and killed within the opening timeline), which is also commendable. A lot of commendable activities, a lot of crappy story…it reminds me of why some many comic book based movies suck. 2.5 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: The book layout makes sense at least. Going from story through character generation, it moves to skills and feats explanations of powers, etc. The book ends off with character examples and adventure hooks. Finding what you need is fairly easy, although the table of contents is severely lacking. The artwork in the book is less than stellar, although a few pieces manage to make their way up to decent. 3 out of 5
Playability: Now for the real test. Can you play it, and is it fun? Well monkeys, I'll lay it out right here. It's not awful. Neither, however is it particularly great. The classes they introduce are just this side of ridiculous, most of which have powers that either don't do anything useful or are just plain stupid. Most of the classes powers consist of getting bonus feats. Super Powers (the meat of the game) are handled like skills, becoming class skills for the class you choose, etc. Of course, the way in which power points (like skill points, only for powers) are distributed and used is never fully explained. In fact, a lot of conversion questions from D20 are left open in this game, most of them having to do with super powers. You may have to make a lot of house rule gap stops to properly play this game. The game does have a good array of powers, though, with plenty of different things to choose from. Of course, just because a power is idiotic doesn't mean they hold it back…so watch out for a few padded powers (I mean seriously, I'm spending my hard to come by points on a "Unique Item"?). The game tries to add a few things to the D20 license. Combat maneuvers are bought like skills but require a feat to use and just modify your combat roles. Unfortunately, this ends up giving you utterly gross combat rolls when performing certain maneuvers. It also introduces "Disadvantages". One of the most recognized min/max strategies rears its head in this game, in an even worse form. You see, taking a disadvantage in Vigilance gives you experience. That's right, all you have to do is say your character is obsessed with ridding the world of Kenny G and suddenly you start at third level. I can't even begin to describe how game breaking this is. Especially given the way most people treat character flaws in roleplaying games- that is as mild suggestions that might occasionally bother the person. The worse part is that this sort of thing leads to party imbalance. When your straight laced, by the book, hero of heroes is outshone by the groups resident crack addict, there is something wrong with your system. Furthermore, most of the details about the disadvantages are left vague and unfinished, which just leaves even more room for sick power gaming (just ask the player here who took a vulnerability to irradiated titanium… sure he takes 30d6 when he's around it, but you try finding that stuff at the corner gift shop). In any case, if you ignore disadvantages the game is relatively playable, and a little fun. 2.5 out of 5
Desired Content: Well, it's got superpowers. It's got new skills and feats, and it's D20 compatible. Of course, you have to have the Dungeons and Dragons core books to even begin play, as nothing else is explained here. Normally that's not that big a deal for a D20 supplement, but in a game that so completely departs from the D&D experience it's a little silly not to backtrack a little for new people who might be coming to your game. The game really falls short on explaining how a lot of things get converted from the D&D world, and with so much of the rules already needing DM interference, he shouldn't have to be filling in missing rule gaps as well. 2 out of 5
|I don't know who keeps breaking out the kryptonite, but our search for a decent superhero game goes on. With vague explanations and classes that leave much to be desired, Vigilance is definitely not enough to uphold the superhero genre. And with crap like the ludicrously game breaking "Disadvantages" system in place, this book isn't even fit to go on the shelf with self respecting D20 titles. Heck, with the artwork in here, it's not even good enough for a place with my comic books.|
The Good: It isn't the worst super hero concept ever created.
The Bad: But it's pretty close. Don't let munchkins catch wind of the disadvantage system…
The Overall Ugly: For the love of all things in tights, can we please have a game that doesn't make me want to cry on my shiny leather suit?
What it's Worth: $5.00