As far as the character stats go, I understand but I also see the reasoning behind it. Most games, and this includes CoG, are focused on the stats and the main character. When you are in an RPG for instance, you pick your attributes and level them up to get new perks. Your character gets heavily developed throughout the game but mostly, your relationships with the supporting cast are pretty shallow. Spend X amount of time with person = become friend, or in the case of romance = fall in love. Not to mention, the lack of syncing the romance with the plot. I can’t count how many times my MCs are in a serious situation and there is no reaction from their RI. Or even worse, my character isn’t reacting when their RI is in trouble. Like the romance exists outside the plot bubble and it honestly drives me even more nuts than when my normally collected MC panics under pressure.
I’m not saying it’s not annoying to be the damsel in distress because it is by far the trope. I hate. The most. Every time I reach the point of the story with Murphy taking the Detective, I flip through that part as fast as possible until my Detective has agency of the situation again. But that’s my preference. I think Sera preferred to flesh out the romances and giving each romance option a chance to react in every scenario rather than just developing the MC.
Let’s look at the first fight scene with the thralls and the lead up to it. While most games would maybe provide one small scene with whoever you choose as your RI where you share generic flirtatious dialogue (this choice to spend time with your RI is almost always at the expense of plot options or skill raising options) then fight scene where MC shows off their badassitude using their chosen skillset. However, Sera wrote in two different scenarios of going to the bar or staying at the office, and then wrote 12 unique interactions, 3 per RI. And she melded these into the plot rather than making them bubble activities. The fact that she chose to dedicate her time to the romance rather than the same old superpowered MC who can take on the world by themself is refreshing. And even saying that, she does provide different scenes based on whether you focus on combat, speech, tech, or deduction. I just think I’d have rather had the cute scenes of the MC getting knocked out and each vampire reacting differently to it rather than the MC blocking the shot with their awesome combat skills and fading to black.
Plus I think we also underestimate the amount of levels between a human and a supernatural. I think of it as a thirteen year old black belt of karate taking on an professional mixed martial artist. Best chance scenario, you take them by surprise with one good shot and I think that’s what pretty much happens in this story. I think the detective will eventually make it close, especially considering how fierce Rebecca is, but for that to happen immediately is unrealistic. You are playing a small town cop and a very green detective. As satisfying as it would’ve been to thrash Murphy after he hurt Nate (And man was I pissed off in that moment), I still understand the limitations my detective has.
And it’s kind of funny because while I am the sort that exclusively creates combat adept MCs, I’m more drawn to softer personalities like Nate because he doesn’t feel the need to constantly belittle the MC’s abilities and is willing to let the detective participate. I’ve said it before in this thread but Adam and Mason constantly writing off the MC as weak and pathetic really made it difficult to romance them. Either provide constructive criticism or shut up you two. I prefer guys like Felix and Nate who smile and appreciate it when my detective says that she’ll watch their backs, not the two scoffing fools rolling their damn eyes I have to prove myself enough to guys in real life, I don’t want to deal with it in fantasy too, thank you very much.