A while back, I reviewed Not Another D&D Podcast, a live-play podcast aimed at fans of the tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons. There is no shortage of D&D-themed podcasts these days, like NADDPOD, Dimension 20 and The Unexpectables to name but a few. I think it is safe to say none of these podcasts would exist without the show I am going to review today: Critical Role.
Although Critical Role did not begin as a podcast, the show has been available to stream across all podcasting platforms since its second season began in 2018. There is a one-week delay between its initial video release on Twitch.
Even if you have never listened to a podcast a day in your life, if you’re a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, then you will have heard the name “Critical Role” mentioned at the table.
Critical Role came out of nowhere in 2015, when the online content production company Geek and Sundry began streaming a group of friends as they brought their home game of D&D to Twitch. So why did the show become so popular? It’s hard to say for sure. It certainly helps that the cast features a long list of well-known video game voice actors, branding itself as a weekly streamed gameplay show in which “a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons.”
Thanks to the cast’s day-jobs, their talent and improvisation skills lend themselves well to the roleplaying and strategising element of the game.
The players consist of Laura Bailey (Call of Duty: Vanguard, The Last of Us II), Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, The Last of Us), Travis Willingham (Fullmetal Alchemist, Sonic the Hedgehog), Liam O’Brien (Naruto), Taliesin Jaffe (One Piece), Sam Riegel (Ace Attorney) and Marisha Ray (Persona 4), while the show is hosted and run by elite Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer (Fallout 4, Telltale Batman).
Season 3 of Critical Role kicked off Thursday 21st October (with the first episode of the podcast releasing on October 28th) and the cast brings us a new band of characters within the chaotic setting of Marquet, a continent set in Mercer’s carefully crafted world of Exandria.
If you’ve ever been interested in D&D, then Critical Role is the perfect starting point. With two completed seasons under its belt, both reaching over 100 episodes apiece, there is plenty of drama, chaos and emotional character moments to delve into. But with this new season underway, newcomers to the show can easily watch along and stay up to date.
With almost 300 episodes of main game content to explore, Critical Role provides fans with additional content such as a series of one-off episodes with guest hosts, including Taliesin Jaffe’s Call of Cthulhu, Ashley Johnson’s most recent sci fi space horror and their chat show Talks Machina.
Critical Role is a must for any podcast fan and D&D player, and most would credit this series for the rise in popularity of the game in recent years. With only a handful of episodes released in season 3 so far, now is the perfect time to start listening to the Critical Role podcast.
Legacy episodes of Critical Role, including season 1 (Vox Machina) and episodes 1 – 19 of season 2 (Mighty Nein) are available via the Nerdist Industries podcast network, while the remainder of season 2 and all new episodes of season 3 are available via the Critical Role podcast network, wherever you normally get your podcasts.
If you love listening to podcasts which celebrate good storytelling, give They’re Only Stories a try. The first season is out now and celebrates all things horror. Each week, the podcast releases a new spooky audio drama, followed by an interview with the writer.
Find more podcast related content on the HeadStuff Podcast Section – News, Reviews, Interviews and How-To Guides for all you podcasters out there.
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