Monday, June 20, 2016

REVIEW: Great Red

The story of Ramus, Vandalus, and the ragtag remnants of the Hallowed Knights and Astral Templars forges on as they venture out into the Sea of Bones in search of the traitorous Mannfred in the newest installment in the AoS audio series. However, more awaits them amongst the swirling dust then just the trail of the undead. The wrath of the Ironjawz is unleashed, can Sigmar's chosen withstand it?

Great Red is the third audio drama in the series by David Guymer following Ramus as he hunts for Mannfred within the realm of Ghur. When we last left them, the Stormcasts had made it through the mountains and out into the Sea of Bones, a large desert that stretches as far as the eye can see. This installment once again opens without a prologue and instead we find the Stormcast as they venture almost blindly through the raging dust storms. They know there are Orruks here, and Ramus has no intention of getting dragged into a long protracted battle. Instead he would rather try and broker an alliance of sorts, but first they must find the greenskins. It isn't long before they stumble head long into a war band of the orruks also lost amongst the dust and we come back into the action right in the thick of the battle.

For anyone who hasn't listened to any of the audio dramas, the acting in this is terrific as well as the music and sound effects. This isn't just someone reading a story, this is a full on radio play essentially. Just think of it as if you were watching a movie but not looking at the screen. There are sound effects for everything that happens, walking, fighting, you name it, as well as music to set the mood for every scene. The voice acting is just as good as all of the past installments, my only complaint being that the Ogor is once again hard to understand due to how deep and distorted they made his voice. The initial battle scene does a good job at establishing just how tough these Ironjawz really are, with the Lord-Relictor coming close to death several times.

Once they defeat the smaller band of orruks they come across the fortress of the titular Great Red, the Megaboss who rules the Sea of Bones. Luckily for our Stormcast, the majority of the orruks as well as their boss are gone, so they are faced with only a small defending force. The fortress itself is described as being built atop a gigantic beastial skull in a suitably ramshackle way. A few boat like vessels are also mentioned, which I imagine the orruks use somehow to traverse the desert. I like it since it gives them a cool Mad Max vibe in my opinion. Although Ramus attempts to call for negotiations the orruks will have none of it and they pour out of their fortress to confront them. This scene is really cool and I particularly like the Warchanter and how he is described. These guys seem truly looney and it's fantastic. The 'Ard Boyz are also rather cool in how organized they are compared to their Brute brothers.

I don't want to ruin anymore of the story but there's a nice moment of respite after this big battle where we get some quiet time with the Stormcast again. The only part that bothered me here is that there is a grot with a speaking part and they made him sound too much like Dobby from Harry Potter. I think this is the one poor voice casting choice they have made so far in any of the AoS audio dramas. He doesn't sound like what I would expect, instead more like a sad puppy who's been kicked too many times (which by the way is any amount of times, please don't kick dogs), which I guess could be fitting considering he worked directly for the Megaboss. The ending is pretty cool, with a climatic duel atop the battlements and a twist to set up what's to come in the final audio drama. I'm really not sure what's coming next since we aren't left with much of a sense of direction besides the fact that I'm pretty sure the final confrontation with Mannfred is approaching. I'm excited to see how this all ends and maybe we'll get to see Taursus again?

Beasts of Cartha is still my favorite AoS audio drama from David Guymer, but this one is an easy second. There was tons of great action, with the battle scenes staying fresh and engaging. We also get a few slower moments, which are always some of my favorites since we get to see the Stormcasts show their humanity. I would definitely recommend this to anyone already listening to the story. Clearly you shouldn't start with the third audio drama in the second saga of a series, so go back and at the very least start from Beasts of Cartha, but I would highly recommend starting with Prisoner of the Black Sun from Josh Reynolds. The story of the Bullhearts has quickly become one of my favorites within AoS so I am looking forward to seeing how it wraps up. Hopefully there will be more after the close of this saga as well.

Final Score 4.5/5

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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