So I finally played the official version of the game. For charity.
Here's what I think of it:
Nobody would have a problem with this game if it were just called Ninja Destruction Squad 9000 or X-Men: the RPG. It makes a really great kung-fu movie or superhero RPG.
The only problem is that this fun and interesting game of cheesy tactics has been spot-welded onto a game (and a name) a lot of us like to think is also equally about weird worlds and exploration and outside-the-box problem-solving and was maybe even a little influenced by things that happened in books. Type 4 feels like one of those action flicks where everything but the fight scenes seems like filler because you know that what the director's best at is fight scenes and yet the director doesn't seem to know that you know and so keeps thinking he can make you care that the blonde is kissing the hero and the sidekick has a cocaine habit.
Had we but world enough, and time, this coyness, Lady, were no crime, but you only play D&D for a few hours and so you wanna know whether you're gonna be playing a Fritz Leiber simulator or a Run Run Shaw simulator. If you want to enjoy fighting in 4E (and you should want to if you're playing it, because otherwise you're missing the only unique part of it) then you have to accept that it's the main event and it's totally stylized and bizarre and non-immersive and hitting people can give you extra hit points and heal your friends and cause Radiant Energy to fly from your ears and the fighting's gonna last until all the nachos are gone and so you'd better (player and DM) put some effort into making it work.
I would totally play Big Trouble In Little China Oriental Adventures 4E. That'd feel right to me. However, for a flexible and mysterious game where the hitting and the exploring seem like they're part of the same movie and you never know what you'll be doing next and maybe there's more than one way to skin a cat, I'd stick with the game I got.
Yeah, a good DM can find a way to do everything you can do in AD&D in Type 4 but then you'd have less time to design the 4E fight scenes, and that's a wasted opportunity. Plus then the gears would start to grind, because the characters feel so unreal and their powers are so vastly out of scale to the world they allegedly inhabit.
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