Your mind is powerful, especially in Scarlet Nexus the new game from Bandai Namco. Could you imagine in the future humanity will develop new abilities with their enhanced brains? The downside in this glorious scenario is an alien force called Others invading to eat your brains. They feed off of your new enhancements and now it is up to these new Scarlet Guardians to protect humanity.
Scarlet Nexus Story:
You start things off with two main characters both private first class of the OSF (Other Suppression Force). Your story will depend on which character you choose first. Pick between Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall both with the same psychokinesis powers but sporting different weaponry. Kasane has shurikens she controls at will with fast area attacks and Yuito has a katana. The OSF recruits their own companions depending on their unique abilities.
Many of the OSF soldiers have different abilities which entitle pyrokinesis, invisibility, invulnerability, or clairvoyance. That’s just to name a few with Yuito teaming up with his childhood buddy Nagi. However, there seem to be some wrongdoings afoot with our Scarlet Guardians.
Just an FYI this will be a spoiler-free review.
Scarlet Nexus is an action role-playing game that took me by surprise as it was more to it than I expected. I will get into that “surprise” in a bit, but right now it is about combat. There are so many amazing combos you can perform and it allows you to be creative in taking out enemies. Being that your main skill is psychokinesis. Yuito can perform some devastating combos after using his sword skills. Since I am on PC I will be using Xbox controller lingo.
X and Y are your slash moves. If you hit RT immediately after a combo or a strike you can summon an object to swing in for a hard attack. So, one of my favorite combos is X, hold Y for a charged attacked, and once released I hit RT right away. Another move you can perform is a QTE attack with LT. Some objects do bigger damage on enemies that require a quick time event.
As you progress and gain team members you will be able to access their abilities as your own. Using RB and the face buttons of X, Y, B, A depending on the teammates. There will be enemies that need you to use the right abilities against them. Some enemies can vanish so you will use Clairvoyance to detect them. An enemy can cause area damage so use invulnerability. At times it will be ideal to have stealth attacks so use invisibility.
There are so many ways to tackle areas of combat and enhance yourself further with brain augments. Going into the menus and accessing the “Brain Map” you can add points to certain areas. Moving over to equipment you can also add either new weapons or powerful buffs. One example of your abilities is called “Brain Drive”.
- Brain Drive: A state of increased focus, temporarily granting various buffs such as an increased attack, movement, and psychokinesis speed.
Pretty much, your character goes full ninja mode pulling a hoodie overhead and dawns a mask. Once in this mode, your abilities increase tenfold and this is where things become interesting. Think of it like being in overdrive for a short amount of time. This comes in handy against bosses especially, but there are a few environmental tricks that you should take into account.
Getting to know your crew is crucial which is why I understand the story being so heavy. There is a gifting and bonding system going on in Scarlet Nexus. Each character you can form a stronger bond with that gives you an advantage in battle. This brings more replay value in the game, especially since you might play it twice to get different outcomes from the characters.
Scarlet Nexus gives you the impression of an open world, but not really. You can use the map to jump around places of interest with fast travel. But you mostly just have a big arena to move around in with enemies. Speaking of enemies, they are visually weird with a creepy style to them. You have a drill-horned horse, like a narwhale on hooves. Then there are potted plant creatures in high heels, it just keeps getting weirder. If it wasn’t mostly in the daytime or highly lit areas, Scarlet Nexus could pass for a horror game in certain cases.
My favorite thing is that the game is story-driven with full voice acting. Between cut-scenes to get to know the characters as a whole you get a full story animation. I guess it does help that there is also an anime alongside the game which is in two episodes currently. I also like that you can give your characters more customization options. Scarlet Nexus shows a lot of heart in a game style I have not seen in a long time. It makes me care about the characters I interact with since each one has their own personality.
Between Yuito and Kasane being completely different there is a high level of care for their companions. Kasane is her sister who she is overly protective of. Then there is Yuito who is under his father’s shadow while looking out for his best friend and being a great OSF agent. It is a good deal when a game gets me invested in what’s going on.
The music score is top-notch by the way even the opening song performed by the band Oral Cigarettes.
I hate when you have to look for a bad thing to critique like a game can’t be absolutely good. If I am going, to be honest, to break the “norm” I am having a great time. The map actually helps you on your “Piece of candy” quest to seek out hidden things. It is hard to get lost to figure out where you need to go, especially when you leave a slight trail of where you already came from. The combat is pretty smooth and the right amount of challenge to make you switch up your tactics.
Scarlet Nexus excels at being an interactive instruction manual in your first few hours teaching you what to do. It definitely holds your hand enough so that you don’t feel stupid or need to look back at what to do.
Expect Scarlet Nexus to run you about 30-50 hours which you can either rush through it or stick to the idea of learning bonds with your companions. Being that you will gain something extra if you play both sides of the story of Yuito and Kasane is a good incentive. Bandai Namco did a great job whereas I said gave me a story to invest in. I do not want to spoil anything, but there is a twist going on which I wasn’t surprised by.
In that, Scarlet Nexus gets 5 paws out of 5. Great experience and I am going in again for the Kasane playthrough, definitely worth the buy. If you are still unsure the demo is still available on both PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One, Series X/S. Thank you for checking out my review and I hope you check back for more. – Beast Out –