THE GOOD: This game uses the Cortex System, which is overall solid and easy to grasp. As such, this leads to fast-paced gameplay with, hopefully, fewer questions asked. The best part of all is that it’s very flexible. Quick on-the-fly calls for GM’s are pretty easy. You won’t have to memorize this book, because if it makes sense to you, chances are you’re making the right call. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t like the Assets and Complications system, in which the player selects the good and bad things about their character. I don’t like railroading players and I thought this would do just that. Turns out, it promotes roleplay (something I usually keep mechanics away from as much as possible) and can lead to some good laughs at the table.
THE BAD: There are the usual small things every now and then that playtesters missed. For instance, with the way character progress works, you can advance more quickly if you choose to do nothing. My fix for this is to simply choose when the players advance to the next tier – no gradual advancement. Also, the attribute rolls on page 142 could easily be condensed (Get Out of Harm’s Way and Initiative combine into Reaction at my table). No big deal. As I said, this game is easily tailored. I can’t really make many bad remarks about the game itself.
THE UGLY: This book. The design is cluttered, the wording is sketchy, and the organization is horrible. They really shouldn’t have had full bleed backgrounds. It would’ve been cheaper and easier on the eyes to just have white backgrounds. Learning the rules of this system for the first time using this book can be a pain. A big example would be the Crew Creation table on page 30. Step two is choosing traits, and step five is choosing skills. Yet, the traits and skills are both listed in Chapter 2, while not using the same point pool in character creation. The steps in between are scattered throughout the book. The skills are organized poorly. Each one gives an example of what difficulty levels represent what, which was previously covered anyway. A lot of the things they wrote tables on don’t need tables, and there were things that needed tables, yet did not have them. In the skill Perception, there are the specialities called Deduction and Intuition. Can you tell me the distinct differences between the two? Neither can the writers, it would seem. My biggest irk is, on a number of occasions, the writers seemed to be trying to tell GM’s how their games should play out. I can decide my own game style and pace, thank you very much. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
OVERALL: Fun, solid, fast-paced game. Buy it. Just be prepared decipher what the means, rather than what it says. I would’ve given this four out of five stars, but the book seriously bothered me that much. I give it a “meant-in-the-nicest-way-possible” three out of five stars.