Scarlet Blade closed beta test impressions
A week ago, a new free to play MMORPG called Scarlet Blade began a public closed beta test. I’ll tell you right now that this game and things related to it are NSFW. Yes, this is a new “mature” MMORPG which features as much T&A as you would probably want from any game. Is that what you want out of a game? Is that really your top priority? Because this may be your kind of game if that’s what you’re concerned about. That isn’t to say that there isn’t some hidden potential for a good game here, but it’s buried under a mountain of lingerie clad women and bad sexual innuendo.
It is a dark time for humanity
The story behind Scarlet Blade is actually a pretty good premise for a game. To sum it up, a race called the Narak invade Earth; their origin is unknown. The fight to save the planet eventually ends in a nuclear holocaust that still fails to defeat the aliens. As a fail safe the Ark, a munitions factory and cloning facility, was constructed and hidden underground. When the Earth is habitable again, the Ark will activate and create adult clones called Neo Humans. To help defend humanity will be augmented clones called Arkana. Bred as super soldiers, they are connected by a neural link to a human commander that will help them to objectively assess battlefield conditions. The fight to regain Earth begins…
How can this go wrong?
How is that not a perfect setup for an amazing MMORPG? Did I mention that all of the Arkana have to be female? And that they have a serious aversion to wearing anything that doesn’t resemble painted on lingerie? I suppose that’s bound to garner mixed reactions, but I think it’s a huge detraction myself. The unfortunate shame about Scarlet Blade is that it seems the only real purpose behind it is to show off as much virtual skin as possible to the point that you can actually buy an item that will let you make your character go around naked. Even when not completely naked, she rides her vehicle with her ass in the air (image link is NSFW). Then there’s the sexual innuendo that runs rampant in the quest text just so that you’ll know that every male character you run across wants to sleep with your Arkana. So welcome to what you’re committing to for the long haul if you decide to play this game.
Not everything is bad, though there are a few confusing things in the game right now. I do understand that this is a closed beta and things are subject to change, so this is more observation than criticism. The language filter, for example, that cannot be turned off [editor’s note: there is, in fact, a toggle for the language filter in the chat options] is a bit puzzling. A game full of naked women and sexual innuendo is fine, but you’re not allowed to swear? I even came across quest text at one point that used the phrase clusterfuck. Speaking of puzzling, there’s a “puzzle” feature in the game that lets you uncover a picture bit by bit as you level by paying to reveal squares. I have no idea how that’s a puzzle, but it does award experience, a skill point sometimes, and a picture of an NPC. I had thought that it might be a slide puzzle or some such thing, but it’s not. I hope that some of this will get changed before the official launch, but maybe it is what it is.
Scarlet Blade could have been so much more than a T&A showcase if they would have only focused on something other than being horny. The environment in the game is pretty impressive and utilizes a wide variety of well detailed character models for the NPCs. Each area has a unique feel that doesn’t simply recycle old enemies with new pallets. Character progression is really free-form in that you pick the skills you want as you level instead of having a prescribed glut of abilities shoved at you. Combat is smooth and visually interesting. The ability to transform into a mech for a short time when facing a more serious threat is incredibly cool. There were so many better things to latch onto and make the defining factor of this game that would have made it standout in a positive way.
Unfortunately, what you end up with in Scarlet Blade is a game that feels only partially fleshed out except for the flesh part. While they say that it’s a mature title, the game itself will appeal to players that are seeking cheap visual thrills and titillation. While I don’t personally claim to be a part of the hardcore MMO crowd, they seem to be key to keeping a game alive. If you ever thought Barrens chat was bad, wait until you see the chat in Scarlet Blade when it’s full of (obviously only 18+ year old) immature players making every misogynistic comment you could ever hope to see. When you consider that and the lackluster job done to support any of the actual game play aspects, I recommend just passing on this game. There are far better titles with mature themes that won’t leave you feeling dirty for having played them.