Scarlet Nexus needs to be given attention. The absolute scope of this game is something never before seen. Bandai-Namco produces an often unique line of video games, including titles like Ace Combat and Dark Souls. They also make games based on the popular anime series, Dragon Ball Z.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot adapted a full storyline for Dragon Ball Z, and it managed to grab a ton of well-earned praise.
However, there is another game worthy of the same level of praise. Scarlet Nexus seems like just another action role-playing game. Yet there is so much more than what you see on the surface of this original IP.
What Is Scarlet Nexus?
Scarlet Nexus takes place in an alternate reality where people can obtain incredible powers to connect to each other’s minds. As cool as this sounds, there’s also a dark side. As time went on, horrifying creatures known as Others began to emerge.
It turns out that the “Others” are only vulnerable to people with psionic powers. Humanity then formed the “Other Suppression Force.”
Instead of just one protagonist, players get to play as two. Taking the roles of Yuito or Kasane, you and your squad at the OSF will travel to multiple locations to destroy the Others and protect humanity. Sounds cool, right? Of course, this has everything you would expect in an anime. It’s not exactly unique… at first glance, anyway.
Style Is The Substance
Scarlet Nexus nails its presentation from start to finish. The game starts with an anime opening and an amazing song to go with it. Nice, but you haven’t seen anything yet!
When the game actually begins, Scarlet Nexus dials its artistry up to an 11. The graphics are very vibrant and illuminated with red lines that are visible almost everywhere.
The idea of having red strings is because of the title itself. Scarlet Nexus is also red strings, which is a reference to the connection of multiple lines going to a single system. It’s a clever way to indirectly have the title have meaning, rather than just sounding cool.
In Japan, of course, the red string of fate is a common concept that appears in many folktales. The red string connects soulmates to each other despite challenging circumstances.
Scarlet Nexus’ Gameplay Is Both Fun & Deep
Even if the game looks good, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t play well. The gameplay is a very fast-paced, third-person hack-and-slash. Yuito uses his sword while Kasane uses throwing daggers, each pulling off fast combos.
The closest comparison would be to Bayonetta. You gain experience points that can be used to level up your character. This encourages experimentation. The combat is both easy to learn and very well thought-out.
Players will also have the ability to use their psychokinesis. With this, you’re able to levitate objects and enemies for brutal finishes. Actually, almost every object you come across can be used as a weapon. There are also times when you partner up with NPCs from the OSF. They are very useful in their own ways.
But wait, there’s more!
Every character you partner up with allows you to borrow their powers for a short time. This can be for adding fire damage, enhanced speed, seeing enemies through walls, or adding defense.
Socializing Is Very Important Here:
Outside of combat, there are side quests that you can do to earn extra cash and items. In between main missions, there are also intermissions. This gives you a chance to rest after a long battle and interact with the NPCs of your squad. This is actually an important part of the game.
Interacting with your teammates gives you a sort of snippet of what kind of people they are. Every anime trope that could possibly exist is in this game. The cute childhood friend, the quiet shy girl, the brash best friend, and the self-privileged elite to name just a few. They are all there.
While you don’t gain a physical reward in terms of extra cash or items from it, you get rewarded on the storytelling front. Scarlet Nexus really prioritizes character development. In this sense, it’s very similar to what the Persona and Fire Emblem series have done, just with fewer stakes at hand.
Scarlet Nexus‘s whole thing is that having psychic powers doesn’t mean you know everything. When you play as one character, you miss out on the other’s vital perspective. Talking to the NPCs helps the gamer figure out things that even the playable characters don’t yet know.
Scarlet Nexus Is Cool Enough To Get An Actual Anime
Normally an anime game would be based on an anime beforehand. You know, an anime cool enough to get a game version. Scarlet Nexus has done the opposite. With the game already punching well above its weight, Funimation decided to make a series.
Story-wise, the tale is more or less the same, but they try to condense the main campaign across 26 episodes. If you didn’t have the patience to play the entire game or wanted to see how it compares to it, you might want to consider adding the anime version to your backlog.
A Case Of One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
IGN gave Scarlet Nexus plenty of praise for its smart story and intense combat. However, there are a few things this game is missing. The side quests are not very interesting to complete and there are too few for a game that’s this open. You’d think that with all the intermissions with the side characters, there’d be something just as good to complete.
Plus, even though the combat is very exciting and fast-paced, the enemy AI is anything but creative. The combat encourages experimentation with the environment and pulling off epic finishers. However, once you find the attacks that instantly kill your opponents, you could just keep doing it over and over.
This game was made around the same time that Tales of Arise, another Bandai-Namco series has had a number of great games and this one was no exception. It beat Scarlet Nexus during the Game Awards taking Best RPG in 2021.
Far From Being Down And Out
Despite any sort of shortcomings, Scarlet Nexus is still quite a wild ride. Despite being on the storefront for over a year now..downloadable content, ranging from episode expansions and cosmetics, are in support of the game.
The whole game itself takes well over 40 hours to complete with both Yuito’s and Kasane’s campaigns. Scarlet Nexus has so many interesting things going for it that it really sets a new standard for anime video games. If you’re ready for a brain-breaking experience, this will tickle that itch.