Some of you here will already be aware of this particular game, while others will be completely clueless. I'm talking about Scarlet Blade, hosted in the US by Aeria Games. Rated MA, this game has drawn a lot of negative press for no particular reason. People are so bent out of shape by the casual nudity in the game that they are pretty much ignoring everything else...fairly typical and very prudish.
I play this game, however, and feel that more adults that are actually mature (if you are ranting about nudity in an adults only game, let's face it, you aren't very mature) should be playing. On the surface, this game seems to be all about nudity and sexual innuendo, but there's actually a lot more to it than that.
Your role in the game
First of all, you aren't some imaginary god-like being that is omnipresent in the game that the characters are unaware of. You, the player, fill the role of the commander, telling your character, your Arkana, what to do in a given situation. It's a brilliant way of making the game a bit more deep than it otherwise would be and its fantastic when your Arkana actually starts requesting you fulfil missions for her or engages in a one-sided conversation with you. Unfortunately, that is the only downside to this; you really don't get any interaction options in these discussions with the Arkana. It would be awesome if you could actually make choices in these conversations and it actually have an affect, perhaps on the powers that your Arkana has access to, or the type of equipment she prefers...or just changing the path of the conversation really.
That's right, the only characters in this that you make are girls. Sadly, the Arkana, likewise, assumes that the person commanding them is also male, but don't let that distract you women from enjoying this game as well. My girlfriend plays, and she loves the game. Besides, who doesn't want to watch a cute butt sexily swaying across the screen all day? Should that not be your thing, you can put the game in first person view, removing the model from the screen and all of her womanly distractions.
This game is actually very well balanced, far better, in fact, than many other MMOs. Your skills support the chosen class of an Arkana well and in PvP battles, you are rewarded for filling that role with lots of exp. Each class has a few types of builds that they can focus on. For instance, my healer I would call a combat medic. My healing skills are maxed out for my level, but my combat skills are significantly high as well, high enough that in a co-op dungeon, my character will regularly top the damage chart. When playing my healer, my ranking in PvP matches goes up much faster when I perform healing on my comrades than when I'm trying to dish out pain with my absurdly high damage for a medic.
Unfortunately, I don't have much to offer in the way of support buffs, but one can't be good at everything. I haven't felt, at any point, that I've made an ineffective character, despite this freedom, with any of my characters. Combat is pretty unforgiving in fighting monsters the same level as you, though combat classes have it easier than support classes.
The Cash Shop
Fortunately, this is not a buy to win MMO, despite being free to play. Things in the cash shop are more often than not simply trinkets and nifty things like costumes and exp boosters. Perhaps the single failing of the cash shop is that it is ludicrously expensive. The legendary lingerie unlocker for the game is $20 by itself. Some costumes cost as much as $50 for a full set. I have one friend in the game who has spent more than $3000, he claims, on cash items, mostly costumes and the like. Even still, there's some really cool stuff in the cash shop if you are willing to pay the price for it.
Things that suck
People complaining that this MA rated game contains mature content are pretty much ruining the game for everyone else. Recently the diminutive and younger-styled Sentinel class got modified so that there are no longer nude models for the character in the US version. Quite frankly, I see this as a slap in the face to every woman in the world who doesn't have huge breasts and is below average height. The sentinel class is not made to appeal to pedos...it's made to appeal to people who like the softer side of cute and sexy and who appreciate petite women. Thanks for ruining it for us.
This is a fantastic game and I think more people should play it. It is well-balanced, rewards you for playing the role of your character, and makes you an active participant of the story. How many other MMOs can claim that?