Faithful readers may recall that in February 2013, Gaming Climax was invited to preview an upcoming title from publisher Aeria Games called Scarlet Blade. It earned a favorable preview and since then has seen final release. One of the questions I had during the event was if players would ever see a male addition to the entirely female Arkana classes. There were plenty of non-committal answers of “maybe” and “it’s possible”. Fast forward to November and Scarlet Blade’s first playable male character has made his debut.
There was a good deal of fuss made over the blatant hyper-sexualized nature of the game. The crass display of the female characters who would bare all for a price, the suggestive moans that would slip with every attack, and the supposed demeaning nature in which the female leads were portrayed got some critics in an uproar. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot. After having spent the past several hours with a freshly created Cyberblade, I can say he gets the same treatment as the rest of his female teammates.
Everything from revealing outfits (guys should be able to show off their sculpted bodies as well) to the suggestive quest dialogue (which was never changed and was heavily written with a female character in mind) are still a go. It’s possible to dress the Cyberblade up like any other character or strip him down to his skivvies if you’re so inclined. But will we see another uproar? Doubtful. Should we clamor for this blatant display of man smut to be put to an end? I don’t see why you would. Because in the end it’s all just a game. Scarlet Blade was crafted for entertainment purposes alone. And on those grounds, the developers were heavy handed when it came to the sexual appeal of the female characters. And now that a male counterpart has been introduced, they’ve followed suit. It just makes sense. If you’re the type to be offended by a game like this, why are you reading what essentially is an announcement piece for a new character?
Much like the female Arkana, the Cyberblade shouldn’t be judged on looks alone. Though, the disturbing lack of a proper beard was disconcerting. How does he play? Pretty well actually. Is it a fun new addition to an entertaining game? Absolutely.
The Cyberblade is a melee focused DPS class with some ranged abilities, buff and debuff capabilities, and a healing skill. While he’s clearly designed to fill the role of a damage dealer, the few other abilities make him a jack-of-all-trades. The ranged abilities allow him to close the distance quickly or pull an enemy towards him, depending on the situation. Buffing allies with increased health capacities while lowering enemy attack power makes him a great addition to any PvP match. And the fact that he can dish out unholy amounts of damage at a consistent rate makes him a delight to play solo or in a group.
Playing as the Cyberblade is like riding a whirlwind of destruction. My main character for Scarlet Blade is the Defender. I had dabbled a bit with the Whipper in closed beta and have a smaller bit of experience with the Medic. All are fun in their own right, but none can compare to the incredible destructive capabilities of the Cyberblade. I was able to plow through zones at a much quicker rate with him than I had with previous characters.
In PvP, he was able to hold his own even against Arkana piloting their mechs. Several of his abilities hit quite hard and can leave opponents stunned. So it’s easy to rush in, land several fierce blows, and then fall in with the ranks of your allies for support.
Sure, the one handed sword seems a bit puny in comparison to the weapons the other Arkana wield. And the odd costume design seems to show off some bizarre bits of flesh (are the backs of knees sexy?). But just like the rest of the cast, you have to look past initial appearances. Because what it all breaks down to is “is it fun to play?” Yes, it most certainly is.