All of these games could be labeled as an arpg, but even within that wide spectrum there’s nothing quite like scarlet nexus, a game that combines inspirations from fast paced character. Action games of the devil may cry in bayonetta school with epic jrpgs, the likes of the persona and tales of series it’s, a surprisingly ambitious undertaking, and perhaps even more surprising, is that scarlet nexus hits far more often than misses. So when i say that scarlet nexus is an action rpg calling it that doesn’t really paint the full picture of what it’s about it’s moment to moment. Gameplay is straight up action game through and through like something you’d expect out of platinum games. It’S completely linear levels are structured so that you’re, basically just moving from one closed off battle to another, while combat is fast flashy and reflex driven. But the key difference between this and platinum style is that scarlet nexus is just as focused on its story. World building and character development as it is on its combat, perhaps even more so in some regards first off it’s split into two separate 20 hour campaigns that each follow the story of one of the two main characters: yuito and kasane, while their journeys do overlap from Time to time, these are, for all intents and purposes, two distinct and equally essential campaigns that you can play in either order and completing them. Both is required to get a full understanding of scarlet nexus’s story and it’s a story worth experiencing one which takes place in a fascinating world where the vast majority of the population are gifted with powers of the mind city streets are colored with augmented reality advertisements.

People are able to send messages directly to each other’s brains and those with exceptional combat abilities are drafted into a special forces like organization called the osf. Other suppression force to do battle against other worldly monstrosities known as others, both yuito and kasane begin. As newly minted members of the osf and are placed into two different platoons from that starting point, their journeys branch out in ways that have each character experiencing one side of a dense and complex plot, full of conspiracies ulterior motives and surprising twists. While the overarching story is great, what really makes scarlet nexus special is the amount of care given to develop its large, supporting cast of eight characters who join yueito and kasane’s parties. After most big missions, you’re brought back to your hideout for a standby phase that gives you an opportunity to converse with your teammates give them gifts which they amusingly occasionally play with and trigger bond episodes that allow you to increase your bond level with each one. This is nothing super new to fans of the mass effect or persona series, but what’s, interesting about the way it’s handled here in scarlet nexus is that the bond episodes are very often tied to what’s happening in the main story are entirely different, depending on which campaign You’Re playing and are not always about improving a relationship. Sometimes the interactions in these bond episodes are outright hostile, but the important thing is that you always learn something about the character and why they act the way they do or you learn something that better explains the actions that they just took in the main story.

Even though most of the characters in scarlet nexus do fall into very tropey, anime archetypes don’t make fun of me. These bond episodes do a wonderful job of developing them to a point where they wind up becoming more than just their tropes by the end, even the ones that i rolled my eyes. At initially like this elitist jerk became characters. I grew to really care about these scenes are rewards unto themselves, but they’re also valuable, because increasing your bond level also increases the abilities. Your party members bring to the table so there’s a great incentive on both the story and gameplay fronts. The story is also helped by wonderful performances, in both english and japanese, with the ability to choose, whichever one strikes your fancy from the main menu while it would have been nice to have more animated cutscenes, as opposed to the static storyboard animatics it’s, an understandable compromise. Considering the sheer mountain of dialogue that there is in scarlet nexus, at least the ones that we do get are pretty cool. Scarlet next is his biggest hurdle to overcome as a straight up action game with a 40 hour. Rpg, like story is making its combat engaging throughout that epic length and, while scarlet nexus does clear that hurdle, it definitely clips it along the way at a basic level. Combat is a lot of fun. Both yuito and kasane. Have the jedi like power of psychokinesis, which allows them to telekinetically, grab objects and hurl them towards enemies, but they use different weapons yuito a faster but shorter ranged, sword and kasane a handful of slower but longer ranged daggers that she can throw and recall the two.

Also have very different skill trees and can borrow the abilities of different party members via the struggle arm system or sas, which leads to two similar, yet distinct playstyles. What really makes the combat stand out, though, is how the telekinetic moves flow with the weapon based attacks at any point of a weapon combo. You can press the right trigger to immediately hop back and throw an object then follow that with a weapon attack. That brings you right back into melee range. The result of the ease of transition between the two is a really exciting and smooth mix of long range and close range combat, and then there are the crazy environmental interactables. You can use like this all right. On top of, that is the aforementioned sas, which allows you to target key weaknesses of certain enemies and take advantage of specific status elements like when you use honeybees pyrokinesis to ignite a group of enemies that have been doused with oil when going up against tougher enemies. You really need to put it all together by mixing in regular attacks, psychokinetic attacks and sas abilities that target enemy weaknesses in order to succeed, which leads to some really satisfying fights that feel like you’re firing on all cylinders. The one place that scarlet nexus feels like it slips up in the fundamentals of combat is that the targeting isn’t, the greatest it’s, never a big enough problem to really affect the combat but it’s kind of annoying.

Nonetheless, the bigger issue, though, is that, while combat itself is highly dynamic, the enemies that you fight are not there’s, just not enough. Variety among them to healthily sustain a game of this length, especially since so many of them are just slight variations on other enemies and others are of the locking key sort where, once you figure out the key or ability that beats their defense, every fight against them Is basically the same? At least the visual design of the enemies is fantastic. The others are a magnificent mix of beauty and monstrosity. Combining the organic and inorganic in wildly inventive ways that are always unsettling to look at the result of the lack of mechanical variety is that by the end of ueto’s campaign, which is punctuated by multiple hours of very similar fights against very similar enemies. I was pretty exhausted from scarlet nexus’s combat and was not looking forward to immediately fighting through another one of a similar length, speaking strictly from a combat perspective. Fortunately, beating one campaign allows you to carry over your progress to the other, much like a new game plus not having to start from zero allowed me to blast through cassandra’s, combat encounters much faster and get to the story, which was what i was really interested in. At that point, in contrast to the inventive character, designs, scarlet nexus levels are very often visually drab. They make up for it with some terrifically fun environmental interactables, but once again, variety remains an issue for a game of this length.

Music, it’s, understandable. To take a look at scarlet nexus and write off as just another anime game, but doing so would be a big mistake. This is an ambitious undertaking from bandai namco, one that attempts to blend the two disparate genres of character, action, game and large scale jrpg and achieves an oppressive level of success. It’S, combat and thin enemy variety don’t hold up all the way to the end of the combined 40 hours of its dual campaigns, but its story and characters absolutely do and make for a surprise. Breakout hit of 2021 more scarlet nexus make sure to check out some gameplay of the demo, along with our video, highlighting everything you need to know and for everything else, keep it here.