Monday, May 30, 2016

REVIEW: Fist of Mork, Fist of Gork

The Age of Sigmar audio series continues with David Guymer's second installment in the Realm of Beasts. Now that Cartha is lost, Ramus and the remnants of the Astral Templars must continue their quest to hunt down Mannfred and bring him before Sigmar. So how does it fare?

The first thing that struck me about this audio is that it's the first one in the series that doesn't open with a prologue before the title is announced. All of the ones by Josh Reynolds opened with a monologue from Nagash, and David's first audio, The Beasts of Cartha, opened with the reforging of Ramus. Fist of Mork, Fist of Gork instead throws you right into the story. As another first, the story doesn't open with a battle scene. Instead we come in on a quiet moment as the remaining Stormcast huddle around a fire at their camp. Vandalus, the Knight-Azyros and de-facto leader of the Astral Templars, is recounting the story of the battle at Cartha to a group of newer Stormcast who have reinforced them since then. It's a nice moment and highlights the attitude of the Templars a bit more since they are very keen on grandiose storytelling and exaggeration to honor the fallen. It also shows the somewhat ragged state the Stormcast are in since they can only get small amounts of reinforcements and they are essentially deep in enemy territory.

After a bit of exploring around the area they come across what looks like an Orruk building. What makes this building especially unique though is that staked outside of it is the entirety of Mannfred's Ogor horde he had in the last audio drama. Despite being staked into the ground, they are not fully dead, as it looks like the vampire turned them into zombies to mislead the Stormcast who were tracking them. This leads to a rather cool scene where Ramus essentially interrogates one of the zombie ogors using his connection with Shyish. I thought this was a great idea, but the Ogor himself was a little hard to understand, and even after two listens I'm still not 100% sure on everything he said. I know they were going for something that was undead and a giant dumb brute at the same time, but I think it might have been a good idea to tone it down a bit to make him a little easier to understand.

This scene also leads directly into their first direct confrontation with the Orruks, in this case Ironjawz. I loved the way they were written and acted, especially the shaman. One of my favorite lines is when the shaman was struck by lightning for the sheer silliness of it. It's a rather small engagement though, since they are just the garrisoning force from the lone Orruk building. After this they discover the direction Mannfred went, which leads them through some pretty ominous mountains and a very epic confrontation. I don't want to ruin any more of the story, but I am excited about where the next installment is taking us as they head into an area known as the Sea of Bones, a giant barren desert currently occupied by some nasty Orruks.

The acting in this was just as good as we have come to expect, although I felt the story overall was weaker then Beasts of Cartha. I think the thing that weakened it the most for me is how the story felt like it was split into two distinct halves, which just seemed a little odd for such a short story. There was also not as much exploration into the Stormcast themselves as we have come to expect, although we did get a look into more of Ramus' mortal life.

Overall it was a good story and a good listen. It continues the story of Ramus in his hunt for Mannfred and sets up some interesting arcs for later. I think this suffered a bit for being the "connecting" story of the bunch, but like I said, just because it's weaker then the first doesn't mean it was bad by any means. I definitely recommend this for anyone who likes the story of AoS and that of the Bullhearts in particular.

Final Score - 3.8/5

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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