8. Red Embrace (Argent Studios)
GEE, I WONDER WHY PEOPLE LIKE THIS GAME.
Now, Argent Games has become a prolific developer rather quickly and a lot of their work is on my cutting block. While I look forward to digging through the bulk of it soon, I couldn’t let Red Embrace escape my notice for the year. Urban Fantasy titles can often have a certain B-movie feel that is enjoyable in its own way and after playing another entry on this list, I needed some of that B-movie goodness. What I GOT instead was every single bad fanfiction that has ever existed rolled into a single game. It will not be the first or last of its kind, but it will still be called out.
There is simply a stunning lack of self-awareness here that plays all of the soap drama tropes completely straight: approaching familiar territory in the vampire, romance, yaoi and young adult fictional genres with absolute seriousness. Nothing here tries anything to make Red Embrace distinct from, say, Blade outside of the sexuality of its cast. It very much feels like the developers were playing it safe and accidentally made a bad game filled with broken tropes and bland characters that don’t expand beyond their archetype. It make all of the potential romances here about as interesting as banging two naked, wooden dolls together. There is just nothing about their characters to make them hooking up interesting. In fact, there are one or two characters where said hooking up hurts the game overall as the story literally grinds to a halt.
There’s just nothing here to recommend: even as an escape from worse games. Luckily, Red Embrace: Hollywood looks like it learned some lessons from its predecessor. From what I’ve played from the demo, it’s a bit more interesting and less of a solemn drive to get the protagonist laid. But, this one? It’s bad.