Scarlet Nexus – Review
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Tose
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Scarlet Nexus – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Story, Overall atmosphere, Fun concept
Bad: Grindy combat, Hardly any freedom
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Scarlet Nexus is one of those games that looked amazingly cool, even before much was known about the title, and even before we’ve gotten our hands on it. The game sports a somewhat typical anime-inspired look, with ghastly designs of its monster-like enemies. These enemies seem to be a bit along the lines of the ghoulish critters we see in the Shin Megami Tensei series, albeit a bit more ‘gothic’. Even with Scarlet Nexus being somewhat linear, we did very much enjoy playing through the game’s storylines.

Story

In Scarlet Nexus, you’ll be able to play as either Kasane or Yuito, who have been drafted by the Other Suppression Force (OSF). The OSF is the military force that drafts people who have special powers, in order to battle the ‘Others’, which are monsters that can appear at any given time. The world is basically going through a type of apocalypse, where humanity is being defended by the OSF. Both Kasane and Yuito are drafted, and are now in the process of going from mere cadets to full-fledged members of the OSF. At the start of the game, you can pick either character and will experience different stories that do converge at many different points. Those who finish the game will be able to pick the other character afterwards, with certain progress made still available to them, making the second playthrough a bit smoother and easier.

Even though our description of the game’s story may be a bit simple, Scarlet Nexus is a story-driven experience that is quite amazing to play through. As will be explained below, the game does focus more on its story than its gameplay at times.

Graphics

Graphically Scarlet Nexus is truly a sight to behold, when looking at its character designs, its enemy models, its animated cutscenes but also certain backdrops. We did very much enjoy interacting with the different cast members, even though the game does utilize stereotypes from the anime world, where you can spot many characters’ personalities from several miles away. The levels, however, feel very empty and bland. More than often we just found ourselves going from one big area/room to another, to have basically no exploration options. Sure, some items are in dead-end alleyways or enclosed rooms, but these are often not more than minor detours. The levels do have nice backdrops, which counters their overall emptiness a bit. We did notice many invisible walls, and even in the main street, you cannot even cross the street, even at the pedestrian crossings.

Dialogues in the game are presented a bit more simplistic, however. The game then opts for still comic book-like panels, which still look fairly good. These panels have a minimum of animations, making them a bit less interesting than the few completely animated scenes, or even other gameplay events. Nonetheless, with the amount of dialogue in the game, this is a proper and interesting way to convey the information and still keep the player engaged.

Sound

The sound design is top-notch. The game has a few memorable songs that could perfectly fit a proper anime series (which also does exist). On top of that, there is a lot of voice acting present in the game. Not all dialogues are voiced, but everything related to the story, or even the bonding events, has impressive voice acting accompanying the text on-screen. You can opt to listen to the English voice cast, as well as the original Japanese voice cast. This is a fun option, and while we often find ourselves enjoying the original experience more, the English cast does an impressive job, making both versions equal in quality. The sound effects that are present are decently made.

Gameplay

Scarlet Nexus is a story-driven Action RPG, that is quite linear. The game makes you plow through small areas, in order to vanquish ‘Others’ and progress the story. The game is dialogue-heavy, which means that there is a lot of story content to go through for the main quest, but also a lot of optional dialogues that may help you strengthen the bonds between you and your party members. The overall offset is quite simple and you’ll be slicing and dicing Others before you know it.

As we have mentioned before, the game is linear and that’s actually quite okay. Scarlet Nexus has a lot of story content, making it a fun mix between story segments and battles. Other than the main battles, the game does offer a few side-encounters, but these mainly serve to bond with your fellow OSF team members, making you a bit more powerful in the long run. Bonding will allow you to use stronger versions of your party members’ skills, and thus make certain battles easier. On top of that, you’ll also level up and are able to unlock new passive bonuses, as well as active skills.

The game is very easy to get into, and combat is also quite easy, as it often requires you to mash buttons to win battles. When you progress through the game, you’ll also have to make use of your allies’ skills, complete a few QTEs for specific skills, and that’s about it. Even when progressing further and further, it becomes clear that Scarlet Nexus focuses on its narrative value, rather than pestering the player with too many different skills and mechanics. Those looking for very deep and complex fighting mechanics will be left wanting more.

Conclusion

Scarlet Nexus is a true delight for those looking for a story-driven Action RPG, without too many really complex mechanics. While the game does offer a lot of side-content with its bonding sequences, it remains fairly linear and offers every type of player a fun experience. Arguably, those looking for deep and engaging mechanics, including expansive side quests, will be somewhat let down. Even so, the game is a lot of fun to play through, has two story arcs you can experience, has a great presentation, and is just a solid Action RPG as a whole. Even more fun is that an anime series is now also available to watch, which is in a way also linked to the game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Scarlet Nexus - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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