“Scarlet Nexus is an excellent action role-playing game for all fans of the genre.”
An amazing story
Long run time
Heavy on Jailbreak
There is no shortage of Japanese action role-playing games on the market, but Bandai Namco’s Scarlet Nexus is a new IP that stood out from the crowd and immediately caught my eye. After playing the demo released earlier this year, I know I’m in for a good time, and I’m delighted to see that my hunch was right.
Scarlet Nexus is a game that beats all expectations and sets them aside by great players with new ideas in every direction. This “brainpunk” title takes place in a futuristic world where humans have figured out how to use a hidden gene to unlock superpowers in certain people. That premise fits perfectly with both the gameplay and the story, both of which have surprised me throughout my entire experience.
Although the game starts a bit slow and takes a while to get in, Scarlet Nexus is a worthwhile experience and a great addition to any JRPG collection thanks to its story and gameplay.
A shocking story
At the beginning of Scarlet Nexus, I got the impression that the story would be like books with pre-written characters. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. While the characters can become a sign of control to anyone who’s watched anime over the past decade, they’ve had so many memorable moments together that it quickly developed and I wanted to spend more time for them.
The world of Scarlet Nexus is a future where several members of humanity have awakened with various superpowers thanks to a psionic hormone discovered in the brain. Along with that, there are others, magically designed mutants that come from the sky and steal human brains. The Other Suppression Force (OSF) was formed to combat the zombie-like threat.
It all starts with the player choosing either Kasane Randall or Yuito Sumeragi, two OSF rookies who have very unique powers and skills. However, there’s a lot more to this new duo than eye-catching, and that’s where Scarlet Nexus‘the story really shines.
Those surprises are really what makes Scarlet Nexus‘the plots are very special – you just have to witness them for yourself.
Things start off as you’d expect with a story like this. You meet your teammates, go through training, go on a mission or two, get to know each other, normal. Then suddenly, one surprise after another, leads to a story without brakes and loads of excitement. Before I knew it, I was searching for characters to base, mocking others, and constantly wondering where things were going next. As usual with a story like this, players will no longer wonder who and what they can trust and what they can’t.
I wish I could go into more detail, but that means messing things up. Those surprises are really what makes Scarlet Nexus‘the plots are very special – you just have to witness them for yourself.
Story isn’t the only area where this game excels, as the gameplay also keeps me glued to the screen. Right from the introductory tutorial, Scarlet Nexus wants players to know that it’s unlike any other action RPG. That’s thanks to its unique combat mechanics, allowing for some interesting visuals, combos, and strategies.
The game has everything you’d expect from a character-driven action/hack-and-slash title – perfect dodging, weapon attacks and launchers. What sets it apart is its use of psychological attacks and special support, which is what got me so interested in the title in the first place.
By holding R2, the player uses a psychological gauge. This allows the player to control surrounding objects and throw them at enemies, dealing massive damage. Attacks can be chained alongside standard and special weapons, with chains growing longer and more complex as you level up, giving way to some fun combos. As with any game that focuses heavily on combos and freestyle combat, you can already guess what you’ll see with this system, but it even has SAS mechanic support .
Right from the introductory tutorial, Scarlet Nexus wants players to know that it’s unlike any other action RPG. That’s thanks to its unique combat mechanics that allow for some interesting visuals, combos, and strategies.
SAS is a brain-to-brain connection that allows players to temporarily use different abilities of team members, essentially providing different supports. That includes enhanced elemental attack, stealth, slow time, a doppelganger that can double attack, or having teammates join in with a support attack.
This mechanic adds a deep strategic element to battles, as different SAS attacks have unique stats that are more effective against certain enemies. For example, an enemy can shoot water, the water will overflow after a certain amount of time. Using SAS support with electrical properties allows players to score higher damage against their flooded enemies. Initially, players start with one of these supports and work their way up to four at a time, opening the door to some high combo potential. It just takes a bit of sharpening to get there.
While the action and story are centered, the game is not lacking the usual RPG elements.
To unlock all of the character’s abilities, players will need to battle throughout the story and revisit previous areas to level up and earn Brain Points. Like many other RPGs that use machines like this, the player selects points on the map to decide which path they will take to get to the next level.
On the other side of the playing field, party members can be leveled up to unlock more SAS abilities. That is done by increasing the level of association with them, similar to the Persona series. A relationship with a character is increased by talking to the character or giving them gifts, thereby unlocking more abilities. Once certain interaction requirements are met, players will also unlock a link episode, a special cutscene that features the player’s character getting closer to anyone they’ve linked up with. This also increases team bonding, granting bonuses like special items and free respawns. While it sounds like a chore, it opens up a lot of interesting dialogue moments between the characters while not getting caught up in the core battle loop.
There’s also the classic material system that RPG fans will be familiar with. Throughout the levels, players find small digital blocks that they will need to pick up. They can be brought to a shop and exchanged for various party cosmetic shards, health items, and various weapons and stat upgrades.
Feels alive thanks to an abundance of NPCs and careful attention to the look, feel, and sound of the various maps.
One downside of RPG gameplay is the exploratory nature of the game. While I really enjoyed the game’s bright and detailed city and desolate environment, walking through the city felt pleasurable. Items are placed in empty and dull hallways and often feel unnecessary. It’s even more frustrating to go back to these areas to find more.
Even so, I enjoyed my time exploring the world of Scarlet Nexus. Feels alive thanks to an abundance of NPCs and careful attention to the look, feel, and sound of the various maps. I just wish sometimes item hunting didn’t seem like a drag.
Scarlet Nexus is a must-play for any fan of Japanese action RPGs and standard JRPGs. If the story doesn’t grab your attention, the battle will ensue. It has enough flesh for its action to distract from its very minor flaws. Its characters are a joy to interact with and seeing them grow together has really made me fully invested in all of their arcs. I left the experience coveting another title like it had even more great action.
How long will it last?
In total it will take more than 60 hours. The unlockable abilities are well worth the hunt, adding plenty of replay time for those looking to dig deeper.
Is there an alternative solution?
There are many other action RPGs on the market. Tales Series and Famous Things Final Fantasy 7 remake are some that I would recommend, but Scarlet Nexus offers an experience so rich and unique that I wouldn’t turn it down.
Should you buy it?
If you’re craving a good action or a great story, I highly recommend jumping right into this one.