Gamers have a bad reputation when it comes to their social skills, often being stereotyped as awkward, unattractive, oblivious to social cues or norms, and, usually, misogynistic to some degree. It's a bad rap, and one that Richard La Ruina's Super Seducer series has both been playing into and subverting for a few years now. La Ruina makes a living as a professional pick-up artist, helping men learn his techniques to seduction, and Super Seducer brings those lessons to a wider audience. Through a series of FMV cutscenes, players (in both senses of the word) are presented with scenarios where you can meet women out in the real world and are given a multiple choice quiz on what is the best way to proceed. After each decision, Richard will tell you what you did well, and what could have been done better.
The press release for Super Seducer 3 tells us that La Ruina is giving up The Game to settle into married life and wants this final instalment to encompass all of his accumulated knowledge. While that directive isn't spelled out, there is a grandiose feeling that's present from the very beginning that makes it feel like a finale. First off, the production quality has gone up significantly—the environments aren't nearly as sparsely populated as they used to be, the set for the advice portions is much more lavish, and there’s many more trophy women present during those segments as well. La Ruina's acting has also improved, and the scenarios are generally longer. There are even some gameplay and quality of life improvements here that are appreciated. There's a nice little flowchart so you can dissect each scene, a progress bar to let you know how far you are into a scenario, the option to watch the ideal path just play as a movie, and, reportedly inspired by La Ruina's love of Dead Cells, some modifiers that you can set at the beginning of each scenario, like removing the joke answers or limiting UI feedback. There are even QTEs added in to see how well you perform tasks to impress your date, like cooking or working out. It doesn't seem to make much, if any, impact on your performance, and it's exactly the kind of silly detail that works in a light-hearted casual game like this.
Really, all of the little touches are great, and everything feels impressively polished. The problem with Super Seducer as a series has always been and will always be the moral question surrounding its premise. There's nothing wrong with giving social advice to those who might need it, but Super Seducer isn't about forming lasting connections, or even how to be pleasant with strangers; it's about getting you laid, and is singular in its quest to turn any interaction with a woman into a sexual conquest. That's not to say there's not good advice in here, but it's usually right for the wrong reasons. When Richard tells you to watch for facial cues to determine if what you're saying is interesting to your target, there's no consideration given to her comfort or enjoyment; only to whether or not it'll turn her off enough to leave the date early.
That said, it's not as overtly scummy as you might think. You're often advised to not be directly sexual, at least not until the very end of the date. There's a lot of lip service paid to the idea of making the women comfortable, but again, it never seems to be for their benefit, and the real priorities aren't hidden very well. The camera leers at the women constantly, delighting in every exposed curve. For the section on how to pick up a woman at the gym, La Ruina actually starts before you even get to the gym; before signing up, you should check out the Instagram page to make sure there are lots of hot girls that go there. When hitting on a woman at the supermarket, make sure you get checked out before her; if she's waiting for your stuff to get rung up, it gives her an opportunity to escape. It's in these moments Super Seducer feels truly predatory. If there were more scenes set in clubs or bars, or on dating apps, places people might go looking for casual sex, it wouldn't feel so seedy.
There is a tongue-in-cheek attitude to a lot of what happens, but I don’t think there’s anything ironic about the advice La Ruina is giving. The sense of humour mostly comes out in the joke answers, and while it’s a fun idea to break up the dryer material, the jokes themselves mostly fall flat. Almost all of them are Richard being too forward sexually, if not becoming outright aggressive, mixed with the occasional bit of random reference humour. Once you figure that out, the joke answers lose their appeal. They also have a bad habit of not progressing beyond the initial premise. For example, if the joke answers is “Pull a knife and tell her to take her top off,” then Richard will do just that, she’ll run away and the scene will end. The punchline is delivered at the same time as the premise, so you don’t really get anything out of actually watching the scene. That being said, there are some incidental bits of humour that land, such as an early sequence where Richard spots a buxom woman in the grocery store and his face contorts in ecstasy. La Ruina’s screen presence overall isn’t bad and, if you weren’t turned off by his ideals, it’s easy to see why he found success as both a speaker and a pick-up artist.
The word objectification gets thrown around a lot, to the point that some people are dismissive of its use immediately, but, to me, this feels like inarguable objectification. Even setting aside the way their bodies are ogled and prioritized over all else, the women here never feel like real people. You ask them personal questions, but their answers don't matter. You don't ask follow-ups, or remember any details, or relate it to your own experiences to form a connection. Richard doesn't even always listen to the answer. It's just important that you ask so they think you care. In the world of Super Seducer, women are a monolith. There's a formula to trick them all into bed, and Richard La Ruina is here to tell you what values to plug in.