Video Game: Scarlet Blade
From Aeria Games comes the new fantasy game Scarlet Blade. The setting takes place After the End
, with Earth devastated by an Alien Invasion
. Humanity's last, best hope is the Arkana, super clones who have the power to defeat the aliens, with super powered abilities and mechs, and they're all female
The player must first choose a faction to join, which is part of the game's Player Versus Player
gameplay. The main factions are the Royal Guards and the Free Knights who are at odds with each other.
Then the player picks the class of their Arkana.
The classes of Scarlet Blade:
- Defender: The main melee fighting class, she is designed to withstand massive amounts of damage, as well slashing foes with her BFS.
- Medic: Fills the typical role of The Medic class, her main role is healing other classes, and can also weaken foes with her special abilities.
- Punisher: A range class, she specializes in blasting multiple foes from a distance with deadly accuracy and firepower, with her BFG.
- Sentinel: A fast range class. She specializes in attacking foes with a pair of pistols, and rain tons of firepower on them.
- Shadow Walker: Specializes in quick melee attacks. She deals high melee damage, combine with stealth and speed, with her pair of lightning claws.
- Whipper: The second melee class fighter, she specializes in dealing Area-of-Effect damage with her whip as well as pulling her opponents close to deprive them of their range advantage.
- Chaser (Cyberblade outside Korea): The first (and only) male class, high speed ninja which closes the gap with range before unleashing a flurry of melee attacks.
The game is known as Queen's Blade Online
in its home country of South Korea and at first glance its controversial character designs give the impression that fanservice is also front-and-center here.
In actual fact, the game shares barely anything with the Queen's Blade
franchise. Apart from the titillating character designs and animations and some adult themes the game is actually a fairly traditional MMO that uses a mix of several older titles' mechanics with some interesting twists here and there. The story is also surprisingly dark at times and the sci-fi aesthetic sets it apart from the sea of similar looking fantasy games in the contemporary Korean market.
Scarlet Blade provides examples of:
- After the End: Between the Narak invasion and humanity's last (nuclear) assault the Earth is completely different from what it was before.
- Alien Invasion: The Narak. One character in the supplementary materials lampshades the fact that their invasion did not turn out anything like it did in fiction with the much harsher Reality Ensues version instead: humanity is all but wiped out and the world devastated by humanity's nuclear counterattack.
- Alien Sky: One of the remarkable change that Earth has undergone is how alien the sky looks, especially with its gigantic floating lifeforms. See below.
- Amazon Brigade: The whole game, the playable classes are all female, except for the Chaser/Cyberblade. The guards in Nemesis base are also an all-female flavor.
- Ambiguously Brown: Subverted for the Whipper, the only character with a darker skin tone compared to the others. It is explicitly stated in the background material that she is based on South American DNA.
- An Adventurer Is You: In-Universe, the Arkana are divided into archetypes.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Ultimate class skills deal some impressive damage and effects. But due to the costs and frequency limitations, knowing when to make effective use of them is so difficult that you're unlikely to get your rank points worth out of them soon, if at all.
- Barely-There Swimwear: Plenty of the swimsuits are very revealing even by Dead or Alive standards.
- Biker Babe: All Arkana get a bike early in their quest chain, the quest's name is even "Biker Chick."
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Narak biology is extremely weird; their babies are the size of skyscrapers, a gigantic skull in Mereholt hints at their general shape, and there is a still living Narak whose body is being tunneled into at the end of the Devilkin Cave.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: A lot of non-human (or vaguely humanoid) enemy female cast has a distinctly female human appearance to it. Be they Vespine "Queens" (humanoid female upper torso joined to a vaguely insectoid bottom), to Devilkin "Witches" and Stygian "Huntresses".
- Body Horror: Plenty of examples. The best/worst of which are the mutated scientists in Bitterstone Core and the end of Devilkin Cave, ranging from "multiple bodies fused as one" to "head splitting into jaws", Parasyte style. The legless, smooth-skinned Wandering Mutants in Scylla are also noted to be former humans, and the Flashworms, that look superficially like legged flea/worm hybrids, has an unmistakably human mouth in their undersides that they expose when attacking you. For a game that emphasizes fanservice, this is rather remarkable.
- Blood Knight: The Arkana are conditioned for combat, and they love killing Narak. In the background information, The Whipper is specialized to do this more than the others.
- Bond Creature: The Arkana are linked to their commanders (presumably the players) and share a connection that keeps the Arkana socialized and sympathetic to humanity. On the darker side of the trope, the commanders also have the ability to terminate their Arkana if they go rogue.
- The existence of the Explosive Leash aspect is what split the Arkana and their commanders into two rival "factions": one that supports the leash under the idea that the Arkana are too powerful and require the leash to prevent rebellion and start another world-destroying cataclysm, and another that supports the idea that Arkana should have free-will and abolished the use of the leash as a control mechanism. However, this causes some Gameplay and Story Segregation, due to how this was implemented into the game. See the Not So Different entry below.
- Bowdlerization: The Sentinel class, just like the Elin race in TERA, has got censorship applied to make her outfits somewhat less revealing in the overseas release of the game. A necessity, since the Sentinel has a questionable apparent age and the distributors don't wanna get in trouble. Also notable in that the censorship was actually done by the original developers prior to sending the game to get localized.
- Specifically, the original edit in the beta was basically adding a grey honeycomb texture "suit" that covered the Sentinel's skin from the neck down, which wasn't very attractive, clashed with some armor designs, and looked low-quality. A later edit that was made when the game went live changed the suit to strategically placed versions of the honeycomb-like texture, which now resembled scales and had a pinkish rainbow-like reflection added to them. This one was much more well-received and considered more aesthetically acceptable.
- Bratty Half-Pint: The Sentinel, by design. Though she's older than she looks, she wants everyone to know she's more mature than she really is, possibly as a reaction to being Not Allowed to Grow Up.
- Combat Medic: The medic.
- Combat Stilettos: So much so that even some of the Mechs also feature heels in their design. This is even featured in some vaguely female designs for enemies.
- Crap Saccharine World: Sure, you're playing a hot anime babe bouncing around a colorful world with other beautiful women, but the backstory and some of the quests underscore how horrible the Alien Invasion was and how messed up the current situation is. For example, the first town has all of the humans living there sick and dying from the fallout of the war and the Arkana can only do their part to make their last days comfortable. Then you have the drugs that turn people into monsters, the faction war between the Arkana and the ruins of old Earth spread across the land...
- And once you get used to all that, you get introduced to The Suicide Tree, and later, the Mercy Tree...*
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Downplayed, but for your Arkana, "Mother" is their God-analogue, and Lota is Mother's AI construct, designed to convey her commands.
- Deadpan Snarker: Your Arkana gleefully engages in this in many Quest narrations, particularly to things relating to the fanservice nature of the game, such as the Picture Puzzles.
- Difficulty Spike: The level 40+ maps such as Nemesis and Scylla feature monsters that abuse Chakra attacks to the max, so much so that a group of Domesticated Boars is more lethal than a bio-engineered Person of Mass Destruction.
- Dirty Business: Some of the missions the player undertakes make the Arkana morally uncomfortable, such as poisoning the blood a group of dangerous mutants use in rituals to kill them and make it safer for innocents in the area.
- Double Entendre: All over the place in dialogue. Played gloriously straight when your Arkana snarks about a particular Twenty Bear Asses Quest early in the game:
Arkana: Commander, do Stag Antlers make you horny? No? Well, Genesis Corporation seems to have a hard-on for them...
- Double Unlock: Rare-grade and Unique-grade items can sometimes be obtained without any stats. To reveal what stats they are, you need an item to Certify them. While cheap and painless to do for Rare-grade items, the Unique certifying items are much harder to obtain and fetches high price in the Auction House.
- Dub Name Change: From Korea to Western release, many things are renamed. The first area, Enocia, is named Pflanze in the original release. Others include Mereholt/Mepix, Bitterstone/Jupiter, and Commander/Brahman.
- Faceless Goons: Some of the NPCs. Not to mention, the very first thing you see when starting a new game is two Faceless Goons with Absolute Cleavage representing the two factions you can pick, which should tell you right off what kind of emphasis the fanservice is going to get.
- The Cybersuit (which is a passive upgrade specifically for Player Versus Player) turns the player's Arkana into one of these. Interestingly, the NPC characters in Nemesis base are more covered than the ones in the Faction select screen.
- Fanservice: One of the game's major selling points. Emphasis on major.
- Fantastic Drug: Blitz, whose known side-effects include the usual problems of drug-dependency with the chance to mutate into monster.
- Fetish-Fuel Future: One set in a post apocalyptic world which is overrun by aliens, and the only ones who can fight back are cloned sexy females wearing Stripperiffic clothes and wielding oversize weapons.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Almost literally, the only thing that comes rivaling the destruction wrought by the nuclear holocaust is genetically engineered mutants that survive the post-apocalyptic environment. Hell, even your Arkana is one.
- Green Rocks: Stardust, an element that has uses in constructing weapons and Arkana, as well keeping the Neo-Humans alive in the harsh environment after the invasion of Earth. They could do anything from enchanting weapons to an ingredient of drugs, and apparently can be fracked from the Earth.
- Good Girl Bar/Truce Zone: The Delilah Club, accessible from Bitterstone Base onwards, is a cross-faction peace territory for the Arkana (and by extension, the Player) to unwind. Players from both sides can meet up here, and chat about whatever. Also, to ensure no fights could occur, every player is stripped to their undergarments.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: In enemy camps/armies/communities, the supposed guardians/enforcers/thugs of the territory aren't always immediately hostile. They also don't pay any notice when their compatriots are being slaughtered in front of them, they won't respond at all until it's their turn.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: "Do you really want to turn me off?"
- Hammerspace: Personal inventory space is limited, but among the 32 default slots, 2 can contain a motorbike and a Mini-Mecha.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Practically every Arkana save for the Sentinel.
- Master of None: The Cyberblade practically borrows the abilities of all his elder Sisters, and yet excels in none of them.
- Jerkass: The merchant Ralph doesn't think much of Arkana and insults them to their faces, yet he is all too eager to send them on missions.
- Jiggle Physics: Every girl with a large bust will surely bounce and jiggle on every step they take.
- Joshikousei: One of the costume options, appropriately fetishized.
- Ki Attacks: The Arkana have the ability to use an unknown energy source that their creators dubbed "Chakra," which at it's base level allows the Arkana to ignore the laws of physics and attack faster and harder than even their genetically engineered bodes should be capable of. The scientists are alarmed at this because they have no idea how the Arkana developed this ability.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Lampshade Hanging: The game is fully aware of its premise and makes fun of it even as it tries to tell a serious story. Your Arkana is a ready source of this, for example, she berates you (her commander in the game) for relaxing in a comfy chair and enjoying the view of her fighting monsters in a Stripperiffic outfit. You Bastard... though it is Played for Laughs.
- The official backstory describes in some detail the special bond that the Commander of an Arkana must have with her in order to keep the Person of Mass Destruction under control. It pretty much describes the act of playing a videogame.
- Les Collaborateurs: The Shadow Army turned on humanity at large when the Narak invasion occurred. Right now, they, along with the Cabal, are the biggest threat on the face of the Earth.
- Living Gasbag: Some of the alien-looking post-apocalyptic creatures in the game are floating creatures with petal "wings", thought to be airborne flowers. The other is gigantic jellyfishes with 50 meter long transparent tentacles.
- Living Weapon: The Arkana.
- Mini-Mecha: The mechs the classes use are rather small by most mecha comparison. From the (admittedly NSFW) login page, the mechs are controlled by way of the Arkana sitting Seiza-style on the Mech's hip joint before being enveloped by the Mech's chest armor.
- Mission Control: The Arkana's Commander is some combination of Voice with an Internet Connection and 'assuming direct control'. Though the bond between them is intended to be a Restraining Bolt on the Arkana's power, it's left to the player to interpret whether the Arkana's actions are performed autonomously, with voice guidance, or fully under the Commander's control.
- Mood Whiplash: The game very often sandwiches lighthearted (relatively speaking) Quests with ones that are very serious in nature. One example is that between the horrors of forced human mutation amidst the hellish landscape of Scylla, you're tasked to retrieve anime figurines by an Otaku NPC. Fighting many of the mutated monsters juxtaposed with your Arkana's very fanservice-laden clothing is another jarring difference.
- Mukokuseki: Despite stated DNA "bases" for the Arkana, most of them share a same-y face type that cannot be traced to any one nationality (barring the Whipper's skin tone). On the other hand, the Cyberblade averts this by somehow looking very distinctly Asian (or Korean, for that matter).
- Not So Different: VERY occasionally, someone will point out that though they are ideologically opposed (see Well Intentioned Extremist below), the Free Knights and the Royal Guard use identical technology and methods, and that individuals have been able to defect from one side to the other with little change of character. It's not helped that the first few zones and the vast majority of missions are identical, right down to the names and appearances of characters, with the only difference being which faction is mentioned in stand-out yellow (Royal Guard) or red (Free Knights) text.
- NSFW: The trailer calls it Not Safe For Wimps.
- Nuke 'em: Out of desperation humanity retaliated with a massive nuclear strike against the Narak, this has killed many of them but rendered the surface a nuclear wasteland.
- One-Wheeled Wonder: The default bikes the Arkana use. Premium bikes are more of a Hoverbike variety.
- Playboy Bunny: There are some girls who work in dance club dress as bunny girls serving drinks. It's also available as a costume for players to wear.
- Power Glows: Quite literally, when you upgrade your equipment (and bike) to +7, it starts to glow. You can turn off the glow FX from your own PC, and also turn off other players' glow FX to alleviate load times/processing power/framerate drops.
- Religion of Evil: The Cabal openly worships the Narak, and makes it their goal to resurrect them such that they can take over the world.
- Scenery Porn/Scenery Gorn: The landscape of Enocia, which is a rather vast Green Hill Zone, is marked with endless ruined buildings, decayed freeways, and remnants of the old civilization as we know it.
- Mereholt is a vast snowy mountains with twisting roads. In the center is Bitterstone Base that features a forcefield that keeps the nature inside warm and thriving despite the cold.
- Barbiron is a maze of overhanging canyons, pockmarked with what looks like ancient tribal architecture and in one place, a giant statue of a snake Goddess.
- Scylla is nothing short of hellish, with reddish sky and a swirling vortex, cracked earth, magma flows, and endless swarms of mutants.
- Science Fantasy: Despite being marked as a Fantasy game, its pretty sci-fi.
- Sex Sells: The only difference between this game's ads and Evony ads is that the ads for this one are more accurate.
- Shout-Out: A number of NPC designs bear significant resemblance to Starcraft 2 units. Considering the game was developed in Korea, this can't be a coincidence.
- The armored male human guards bear more than a small resemblance to Terran Marines minus the rifles.
- Their armored female counterparts, in turn, strongly resemble Terran Medics. They're often cast as medic NPCs, to boot.
- Human-piloted assault mechs bear a strong resemblance to the Terran Viking in mech mode, with its wings removed.
- Socketed Equipment: Mid to high-tier equipment and weapons contain slots in which you can insert jewels to it, to improve its stats. Usually, only one slot is available, and opening up other slots requires an item that requires real money. On that note however, if you do want to insert another gem, you can simply take it to an NPC who will painlessly extract the jewel for a small fee.
- Stripperiffic: The outfits on all the girls barely deserve the name clothes. Nipple and Dimed and Thong of Shielding is par for the course.
- Oddly subverted by the Shadow Walker's more advanced armors, which tend to cover her from neck to toe. Even odder is the fact that she's a stealth class, and cannot take much punishment in return.
- Also subverted by enemy female army Medics, who are as clad from head-to-toe with armor as their male counterparts.
- Super Mode: Mech Mode, which grants an Arkana stat improvements and more damaging abilities. The Cyberskin is a "lite" Player Versus Player only Super Mode
- Super Soldier: The Arkana, with the Defender being stated as such in her bio.
- Statuesque Stunner: The Defender (6' 6"), Medic (5' 11") and Punisher (5' 9").
- The One Guy: The Chaser/Cyberblade, the current lone male class.
- The Philosopher: Beatrice, the AI construct of Jupiter/Bitterstone Core is formerly a human who uploaded her consciousness to a supercomputer complex. Her relative immortality (that's nevertheless fragile) and her observation of outside world and Arkana-Commander relationship makes her contemplate a lot on many matters, including the fact that you, the player, holds your Arkana's Explosive Leash.
- This Loser Is You: It's hard not to feel that Dakuo, the otaku scientist in Scylla is a jab at the players who play this game. Even his name is a Korean anagram of "otaku".
- Token Mini-Moe: The Sentinel Class. Beatrice also counts.
- Tsundere: Your Arkana will very often snark at her orders and especially at you, but sometimes it slips out that she is genuinely fond of you. Your Arkana is noted to blush when Beatrice compliments on you and your Arkana being a "great pair".
- Vapor Wear: Nearly every outfit in the game.
- Vendor Trash: Many items are straight up made just for selling. And then, there are even items where its only function is to stockpile them to complete achievements (namely, the Stamilar items).
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Aside from the player, most of the quest givers are this, whether or not they can be located in the game 'in person'. Sometimes they communicate directly with the Arkana, the Commander, or both at once.
- We ARE Struggling Together: There is no doubt that, by and large, the Royal Guards and the Free Knights do fight for the same goal: to secure the Earth for the Neo-Humans to resettle back. To that end, they will both fight the Shadow Army, the Cabal, Buzzard gangs, Narak remnants, Narak worshippers, mutants, and whatever else needs slaying. Unfortunately, it's what they think should happen after they have secured the Earth is what makes them bitterly divided.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Free Knights faction want the Arkana to be released from their servitude once Earth has been retaken and the Narak defeated. A laudable goal, yet the Knights are willing to do some pretty extreme things in their war with the Royal Guard. The Guard itself takes the opposite stance (that Arkana are too dangerous to let roam freely) with just as much dedication, for better or worse. Both are committed to restoring humanity to the Earth, it's what happens afterward that has them divided.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Even if we shove aside the problem of mutated post-humans, the Arkana themselves are noted to be inhumanly strong and beautiful, so much so that some of the humans refuse to acknowledge them as one. Even Beatrice wonders if the Arkana are nothing more but disposable tools to be "decommissioned" after they have achieved their objectives.
- What the Hell, Player?: Character deletion has a 24 hour grace period (in case you change your mind) before the character is actually deleted. Clicking on an Arkana awaiting "decommissioning" in the character selection screen will cause her to call you out on it.
- Whip It Good: The Whipper's main shtick; her basic attack skill is called this.
- Womb Level: Minor example, the end of the Devilkin Cave in Mereholt is actually the innards of a still living, breathing Narak. And the Devilkin is tunneling right into it, scavenging for flesh parts to graft onto their skin. Even Beatrice is horrified at the revelation.
- World of Action Girls: Justified in the backstory as Arkana were more efficient as women than male clones.
- World of Buxom: Almost all female characters with some exceptions, like the Sentinel class having a more modest bust that wouldn't look too out of place on a real woman.