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This is the first time in a while an episode focused exclusively on combat. While the overall approach to this Boss is much simpler than I initially thought it would be, it was no less entertaining. The choreography is still on point, but you can feel the characters’ desperation early on. I don’t think I’ve ever gone up against a Boss fight in a video game where the intention was more to survive than to fight back. This creates a different type of mental pressure, like being told to run without knowing where the finish line is. Every time you slow down (or, in this case, get hit by the Boss), it feels more challenging to start up again, but I’m glad everybody is having a little bit of fun with this Boss encounter because of how unique it is.

This episode also establishes that this is probably the best, if not their only, shot to succeed because of the amount of resources needed to invest in this plan. I like the idea that Arthur might’ve single-handedly screwed up the economy of this video game by buying up all of the incredibly rare revival items throughout the land just for this one Boss fight. I don’t think the show established the currency as much as it could have to make me feel how expensive everything was, but it seems to reason that most revival items in these real-time action games are rare or come with some stipulation. And then spending so much money to get temporary skill boosts at the end to stay in the game was a nice touch.

I wish I could’ve seen more of Katzo as a fighter during this episode. There is more of their quick thinking, and it was funny that their best solution to dealing with the Boss was to tie himself to its face, but it does suck some of the tension away from the fight when things get progressively more cartoony. It brings it back just enough at the end when the team reaches phase three of the Boss fight, which I assume will be the last phase. We’re starting to literally and figuratively see the armor crack here, but the question is, what will we find underneath the surface when all is said and done?


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Episode 16 – Shangri-La Frontier