SCARLET NEXUS review: Links that bind
NEXUS SCARLET is a new IP of BANDAI NAMCO with tons of potential. It exudes confidence and charm, delivering fast-paced combat and vivid visuals in spades. But the potential isn’t everything – I had plenty of them and ended up complaining about internet gaming all the time. There are tons of reasons to play NEXUS SCARLETBut how does all that hype hold up now that the game is in the wild?
For the majority, BANDAI NAMCO have absolutely delivered with this one. It has a level of polish and style approaching Persona 5is aesthetic. During most of his playing time, NEXUS SCARLET is a roller coaster through exciting and challenging battles, dramatic storytelling, and lots of (good) checkboxes for anime tropes.
The fight is a whirlwind of chaos that more or less sees your chosen character rise to psychic deity at the end. At the very beginning, the options are limited – you will have your weapon shots and the versatile ability of psychokinesis. Yuito approaches up close with a sword, while Kasane can attack from a distance with knives. Eventually, you’ll be able to copy the powers of your teammates, adding pyrokinesis, invisibility, and item duplication to your arsenal, among other things.
The battles are linked. There is no other way to put it. Even without conscious effort, you can wreak absolute havoc. Throwing pieces of scenery at your enemies remains satisfying throughout the game’s run, mixed in with your borrowed powers and special environmental items. Fifteen hours later, I was again see new combat animations, sometimes increasing the intensity of the fight to the actual level of the anime fight scene.
Using your power costs energy – this power can be restored by performing physical attacks, so battles are a dance. Unload a bunch of psychokinetic attacks, then level up with SAS and charge into the fray until you can chain in with even more psychokinesis. It’s a simple system but one that works very well, making sure you never over-rely on one strategy. Enemies follow this philosophy as well – they each have their own unique behaviors and while they don’t have specific weaknesses, you’ll need to regularly adapt your tactics to overcome the more difficult ones.
Battles in NEXUS SCARLET have a few extra layers that unlock as you play – there’s the Brain Drive, which amplifies your damage and reduces psychokinetic cast time. It can be improved to restore your health and increase the experience gained. A little later, you’ll gain access to Brain Field, a visually spectacular mechanic that allows you to balance extreme damage with the threat of horribly dying.
Your SAS capabilities are also all on counters – in my opinion, they’re a little too generous with these. With a few exceptions, powers stay active for quite a long time and recharge in a matter of moments. While it’s great to have this consistent level of flexibility, it definitely created a few situations where I just found an effective combo and played it to death (duplicating and doubling psychokinesis is a deadly mix). While the game certainly allows experimenting with different combinations doesn’t really encourage him.
Bonding with your teammates extends the SAS gauges even further. Again like Persona 5 – or, more recently, Yakuza: like a dragon – your friendships extend beyond the main game story and fight sequences. You can buy gifts for your team or find them while exploring the world. A really cool touch is that your party members will decorate your hideout with the things you give them, even playing with them every now and then.
For my first fifteen hours in NEXUS SCARLETdynamic JRPG world I was in love. The story is incredibly strong, and the gameplay stays fresh and engaging for a surprisingly long time. The dynamic between Yuito and Kasane is fantastic, whichever side you’re following, two teams of good people sort of at odds. But then the game must inevitably begin to tie the loose threads and work its way to the conclusion. These latter obstacles are where the game begins to stumble – the story, while still having an emotional impact, becomes a bland mess of deus ex machinas.
There is a ton of “THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP! ” patterns which, although expected in the genre, are a little overcooked at the end. The later levels simply throw hordes of aggravating enemies in your way against gorgeous backgrounds, and what feels like a really intense and promising boss battle ends in an incredibly lazy way. The joy of NEXUS ‘SCARLET combat is what pushes it through an almost entirely linear and indescribable level design, and when that starts to run out of steam, the game shuts down.
While the graphics and illustrations are gorgeous – it’s Probably the most beautiful anime game ever made – none of this ingenuity makes it to the levels themselves. It’s mostly linear business, sometimes with short detours that reward you with items. Despite the vast array of powers available, you will only be able to use a few in a way that impacts the environment. Teleport through a thin fence or speed up on a treadmill. There are no puzzles, no connection to the world around you – it’s just a procession of different arenas to fight in.
NEXUS SCARLET“The combat is fantastic when you fight against hordes of Others. Clashing with other psionic humans is also fun – having to pay attention to the same tactics you can use to subdue your enemies is a nice change of perspective. In my opinion, this game really struggles to draw big conclusions. you will fight a lot Others oversized, but they are recycled enough to be part of the routine. The only time it seems NEXUS SCARLET going to do something drastically different, he deflates and literally runs away of the problem.
For me, it’s my connection with some of the characters that has worn over the past few hours. I wanted to see Hanabi come out of Yuito’s shadow. I wanted to know more about Kagero’s mysterious life and his intentions ultimately. Seeing the conclusion of all those character arcs was way more rewarding than the story itself – in a way, it’s probably just as good, but the gameplay of NEXUS ‘SCARLET the conclusion is uneven at best.
General thoughts on SCARLET NEXUS
NEXUS SCARLET is a fantastic experience. Combat is fresh and intuitive, the world it builds on your journey is interesting and multi-faceted. It has all the potential to be an intellectual property that will last for years to come, if BANDAI NAMCO learn from what they have been doing here and develop it even more. It’s sleek, satisfying, and extremely replayable thanks to the protagonist / new game dual storytelling plus options.
It is difficult to stick the landing, it is quite true. Some of the gameplay loses its luster in the final hours, due to over-saturation of combat arenas and the lack of opportunities to use your vast array of powers to great effect. But NEXUS SCARLET has a ton of heart, imagination, and sophistication – she’s a real gem, with a very bright future (hopefully). If you have the slightest interest in anime or JRPGs, don’t let this slip away.
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