I’m not sure how it happened. I was just looking at that gaming site (and it was a gaming site) and they had the adds for this game, advertised as the “Premier Adult MMO”. Unlike a sex shop or porn store, which I’ve obviously never been in, I could keep the duster and large hat in the closet in my goal of acquiring this rare form of titillation. What followed was a lengthy install and a half-hour in the sci-fi land of busty women.
I know MMOs are hot for security these days – my Blizzard account has been hacked more often than I can think of and I don’t even use it – but Scarlet Blade implements the weirdest “secondary password” system I’ve ever seen. You’re given a jumbled up keypad that randomizes with each key press with numbers that disappear as you hover over them. I’m not sure who’s going to hack into my adult RPG, but Aeria made sure no one will want to try.
If you’ve played an MMO before, these next few steps will seem familiar. In fact, the whole thing will feel very familiar. You’re pressed to create a character from a variety of classes, one of which is the obviously-Asian lolicon Sentinel class. While I played, the chat was alive with a debate over whether the class was kiddie porn or not. Tera had a similar class that made more than a few of us North Americans uncomfortable, but I guess no big! Sure, the fiction says she’s of age, but that’s definitely not what you’re thinking while they gallop around this MMO world. Your class decision may just hinge on how funny you feel switching between the portraits. While the characters’ breasts are modeled to a point, there’s no painted nipples anywhere. If this were a porn, it would be the softest core.
Once you’re past the pertinent decision of what color your eyeliner is and which underwear to don, you’re thrown into the gunmetal lair of The Ark, which managed to store a bunch of humans before these aliens invaded. In fact, you play as one of these robots and not as a legitimate human, because it would be dreadful to think that all of these cookie-cutter female avatars (and they are all female, from what I saw) could handle the juggy fate that has been handed to them.
You interact with NPCs with question marks and complete quests and auto-travel and engage in combat and all the stuff you’d expect out of an MMO like this. The tutorial is a few cheesy screens and the controls are pretty standard fare. I was reminded, once more, why I don’t play these games because once again, I found myself, I don’t know, in this kinda weird girly walk across an empty and over-sized area designed to handle hundreds of people. It would’ve felt a lot less awkward if there were more people, I suppose. I don’t design games, but could they have mixed it up slightly in this game? At all?
The game uses titillation as a gimmick to dress the fact that it’s a pretty standard MMO, which kinda makes me happy that American values are so conservative. When American content is offensive, it’s because they worked hard and really crossed the line to be offensive and mature. This feels chintzy. I’m sure in Not America, a game like this gets an easy pass, but we expect so much more from our mature-rated content. Once you get past the comically bodacious robot avatars and subtle lesbianism, there’s no deep-dive into adult content anywhere in here.
Once you understand how to click on things to kill them, you’re sent topside to deal with things. The game’s not a looker by any means, but there’s something clever in its art direction at times. Just like everywhere else, you can get into your groups and have guilds and you’ll be immediately prompted to kill three beetles and collect five pelts and then visit this dude in another town with higher-level blah blah blah.
Now that I think about it, running around in robots is kinda the most clever thing that Scarlet Blade does. How do these kinda hot identical virtual women get to live over and over again? Because they’re robots. How does their mostly-naked flesh handle against varying climates? Doesn’t matter, they’re robots. Why do I control my character with shortcut keys with a freely rotatable camera? Because it’s a robot. It makes perfect sense, really. Aeria should get on patenting this narrative trope as quickly as possible. I’m only slightly kidding.
Look, the internet is for porn. Scarlet Blade, on so many fronts, fails to satisfy. It looked like players were having some earnest LFG/WTB conversations, so there’s obviously some hardcore fanbase that’s raided every instance in here, which seems so bloody odd considering this game exists at all.