//Review – The Legend of Vox Machina – The long awaited D&D show is finally here!

Review – The Legend of Vox Machina – The long awaited D&D show is finally here!

And it’s not holding back any punches

BY: Ellis

Image from Vandal

The legend of Vox Machina began in 2012 as a private Dungeons and Dragons session amongst friends, voice actors, who decided to stream their campaigns online through the Geek & Sundry channel. Starring Matthew Mercer (Overwatch), today one of the most famous Game Masters online, along with voice actors Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us), Marisha Ray (Final Fantasy XV), Taliesin Jaffe (Final Fantasy XIV), Travis Willingham (Marvel’s Avengers), Sam Riegel (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Laura Bailey (The Last of Us: Part II), and Liam O’Brien (Star Wars Rebels). Orion Acaba (Neverwinter) was also a brief member of the cast in the earlier episodes of the first campaign. Critical Role quickly became an Internet phenomenon emcompassing 3 campaigns and more than 300 episodes, the first of them following the adventures of Vox Machina, a ragtag group of misfits united by their broken backstories and their love for gold.

On March 4, 2019, Critical Role launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a 22-minute animation, which quickly turned into an 11 million dollar project thanks to the help of viewers and fans. Near the end of 2019, the project was settled and announced as a series for Amazon Prime Video which premiered with three episodes on January 28, 2022 (watch here).

Trailer for The Legend of Vox Machina, on Amazon Prime Video Youtube channel.


Vox Machina means “The voice of the machine”, a bit of a meta title as it refers to the fact that all the players are professional voice actors, mostly for videogames. To my knowledge there is no real in-universe explanation for the name.


Episodes 1 and 2 present our adventurers with the blue dragon story arc that occurred before the stream began. Tiberius Stormwind, the dragonborn sorcerer played by Orion Acaba would not be making an appearance due to the voice actor’s early withdrawal from the cast. Aside from this adjustment, the series sticks pretty well to the original story, stays true to its Dungeons and Dragons roots, and despite being a cartoon, is not afraid to show graphic violence and NSFW antics that caracterized Critical Role campaigns, while also keeping the humour that made the show so popular in the stream.

I personally woul’ve liked that they kept the original song for the intro, the creation of which is a great story on itself, and mirrors how Critical Role went from side project to international phenomenon thanks to the talent and work of those who joined in, nurtured and made it grow.


Perhaps they’re saving the song for Campaign Two, where we follow a shadier, if also hilarious set of characters:


Animation is a blend of classic drawing and some subtle 3d elements, this will sometimes cause a disparity on the framerate on a single scene, aside from that, The Legend of Vox Machina is everything I had hoped for and more, it’s funny, it’s bloody, it’s visceral and even disgusting when it intends to (like when Keyleth cant help to throw up right into an opponet’s mouth in the middle of a fight), but also knows when to pull back the ridiculousness for intense emotional and meaningful moments.

Episode one shows how Vox Machina aren’t your typical party, they’re unorthodox, they don’t stick to the rules, and most importantly, are still learning how to work as a team. Grog and Pike’s interaction remains adorable, and the team as a whole feel pretty grounded and realistic in their behaviour. Even Scanlan’s slutty antics dont feel forced or out of place.
Episode two also brings in a fan favourite, Gilmore, sultry, quirky and flamboyant, along with several easter eggs from the future campaigns.
Episode three kickstarts the most famous story of the first campaign: The Briarwood Arc. Here we will know more about Percy’s backstory, we catch a glimpse of Craven Edge, Critical Role’s iconic sword, and cements our heroes’ status as characters unlike your typical D&D stereotype.

All in all the first episodes are a great start, I feel they made the right decisions and am looking forward to watch more of The Legend of Vox Machina, and maybe even perhaps, of the Mightly Nein in the future.