3 Out Of 10 Season 2 review: Jumping the shark

by Lars
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Game development sitcom 3 Out Of 10 debuts its second season today, and we’ve already binged the lot to bring you our impressions right out the gate. I reviewed the first season last month, and came away amused yet slightly underwhelmed with what was on offer. Has 3 Out Of 10 improved, or is this just another case of the dreaded second season syndrome?

If you’ve yet to play 3 Out Of 10 and can’t be arsed to read our review (which, by the way, is totally fair enough) I’ll just run through a quick recap. This is the tale of Shovelworks Studios, the world’s worst game developer, staffed by a typical cast of misfits and overseen by a clueless, obnoxious boss. Season one saw newcomer Midge join, an animator with ulterior motives shrouded in mystery. By the end of the first season, Midge had grown to care about her new colleagues, and seemingly abandoned her evil scheme, before pivoting back to it yet again in an abandonment of character development.

Season two picks up right where the first ended, and quickly ramps up the absurdity with the beginning of Kevin’s descent into madness. A stolen computer quickly escalates into caffeine-granted superpowers, sentient artificial intelligence, and super-elite nightclubs with PaRappa The Rapper-esque final showdowns. Obviously, all the groundwork for 3 Out Of 10 going completely bonkers was already totally evident, and they’ve leaned into that turn very well with their second season. It’s good enough that I don’t want to spoil some of the more “out-there” moments for the sake of a review. Kevin shifting from a cool, perpetually unimpressed straight-man to dangling (literally, sometimes) right over the edge of complete madness is a real highlight of season two.

As usual, the overarching plot takes a backseat to crazy antics and minigames. That actually isn’t much of a problem this season, as the quality of the interactive segments has increased significantly. There’s still enough of a breadcrumb trail between episodes to keep them all linked together, and the focus has shifted from Midge to some considerably more entertaining characters. The minigames are still nodding heavily at classic titles, but this time they’re pulling it off with aplomb – the Twisted Metal one in particular was actually pretty fun for a game-within-a-game. The previous season had some slightly entertaining distractions, suffering from a severe lack of consistency – some were fun, some just felt like complete wastes of time.

The dialogue/sitcom aspects of the game are very well produced, and they’re still 3 Out Of 10‘s saving grace in many ways. If the writing wasn’t as good and snappy as it is, you’d have a string of novelty minigames held together by tedium, and all the crazy situations the group find themselves in would be totally hollow. The writing carried season one, but now it’s accompanied by some much more enjoyable “game” moments that feel worth replaying for the highest score.

You’ll still be able to clear the lot in around two hours, and, naturally, be presented with yet another cliffhanger ending – not quite dramatic as the first, but definitely leading into an interesting set-up for the future. The stakes are high, the concepts are even higher, and the cast of characters is well-rounded enough to keep every interaction comedic. I came away from season two with a much greater appreciation for 3 Out Of 10 as a whole, it’s a great casual break from more intense titles, and has plenty to offer as a sitcom for gamers.

3 Out Of 10 Season 2: Out of beta

3 Out Of 10‘s first outing felt very much experimental – like they were trying to get the balance right between dialogue and interactivity, and that makes sense considering the whole playable sitcom thing is relatively new territory. Terrible Posture Games really seem to be finding their stride with it, though – season two doesn’t fix all of 3 Out Of 10‘s flaws, instead building upon its strengths to a considerable degree, and that approach is working well.

If this was an animated show on Netflix, I’d watch it. I might not pay attention the whole way through, but it’d be one of the better “background noise/company” titles that have accompanied my day-to-day life. I stated in my review of season one that I wouldn’t be in a hurry to play the second lot of episodes, but I’m very glad I have, and will be checking out any future instalments with much more curiosity and investment. Season two was a short but crazy ride, and I’m sure they’re going to find a way to top it in the third.

3 Out Of 10 Season 2 will be available soon on the Epic Games Store. Check out more of our reviews here, and join the conversation on our Guilded server.

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