Anime games are a dime a dozen. Toss a stone into the sea of games and nine times out of ten, you’ll hit an anime title.
This level of prevalence makes it harder to find a good anime-based game. Fortunately, as you’ll see within this Scarlet Nexus review, Scarlet Nexus stands out from the muck.
As a well-designed game that’s the kind of comfort food otaku gamers crave, Scarlet Nexus, though it doesn’t take as much advantage of its gorgeous visuals as you’d hope, delivers gameplay and story that provides the game with its first legs to stand on.
Find out all there is to know about this anime classic in our editors Scarlet Nexus review. When you’re done, don’t forget to hit us up in the comments with any questions you have.
Now, let’s get into it!
Scarlet Nexus Game Overview
Developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Tose.Co, Scarlet Nexus has a somewhat familiar premise. You take on the role of a super-powered youngster in the future who joins a specialized military unit to fight a group of terrifying creatures capable of wiping out humanity. It’s simple and is a concept that has been rinsed and repeated time and time again but yet to very little failure.
Though the story is as tropey as it gets, it works remarkably in the game’s favour. It’s familiar enough to achieve its goal of feeding the starving otaku hunger, yet keeps itself distinct through a series of twists that give the narrative a bit more weight. What’s more, Scarlet Nexus gives you the choice of experiencing its story through the eyes of two different protagonists. And it’s not the same story told through the eyes of another character. It’s the same story told from distinct perspectives.
Gameplay & Characters
For the two storylines, players choose between Yuito and Kasana.
Yuito is the familiar milquetoast male protagonist trying to overcome the shadow of his politically influential family. On the other hand, Kasane comes from a tougher background with a blunt personality that can’t help but speak her mind. Throughout the 30-hour campaign, both main characters have their own journey, often colliding at crucial points.
There are even moments where you’ll hear of events from the other character’s story. This jerkiness feels like awkward writing, but once you play through both stories, you get the complete picture of what’s going on.
Both Kasane and Yuito are psionic warriors that can use psychokinesis. Their abilities allow them to pick up objects with their mind and toss them at their foes. Every battlefield is littered with debris, vehicles, and other movable objects. Which button you use depends on the size of the object.
Normal and small-sized objects can be launched at enemies by holding down the right trigger. After a quick charge up, you can hurl boulders and debris at the ugly enemies known as Others. This makes for excellent ranged attacks that do pretty good damage on the whole.
Psychokinesis, though, is the only skill the two protagonists have in common. Yuito uses his energy katana to fight at melee range with devastating combo attacks that can take out single targets with efficiency. On the other hand, Kasane has several daggers she can control with her mind, allowing her to fight at range and with attacks that can strike multiple enemies.
On top of that, you can take two other members of your squad on missions and borrow their powers to enhance your attacks via the Struggle Arms System (SAS). For instance, you can borrow another character’s duplication ability to hurl objects with psychokinesis twice in a row. To top it all off, there’s a plethora of finishing moves and boost modes that allow you to take your fighting capabilities to new heights. All of these minor systems work harmoniously together to make Scarlet Nexus’s combat an accessible yet satisfying experience.
Explorations are half decent.
Outside of taking on missions to forward the story, Kasane and Yuito can do some limited exploring of the central hub city as well as improve their bond with their teammates. While not as elaborate a social system as you’d find in the Persona series, these minor diversions help flesh out the other characters and give a sense of the precariousness of the world.
Another fun little metagame is the collection of customization items you can use to personalize your Kasane and Yuito. There are many fun outfits and accessories to gather that make turning a few extra corners to find chests all the more worthwhile.
Besides the storylines, it pains us more than anything to see a video game with nice, eye-catching visuals do absolutely nothing with them. The main thing that irked us about Scarlet Nexus was its insistence on delivering its narrative through still image cutscenes and face portraits. Not exactly an expectation we had of a cross-gen title meant to usher in a new gaming era.
However, it’s an excellent-looking game in motion during combat and gameplay. But that’s all the more reason to feel a bit let down by the cutscenes. Beyond its dry and monotonous story delivery, Scarlet Nexus is a fun ride from beginning to end.
Scarlet Nexus Gameplay Length
For the half-decent gamer, Scarlet Nexus takes around 25 hours to complete on average. However, it takes much longer should you choose to partake in the optional content. With two playable characters, Yuito and Kasane, each with their own story mode, you can quite easily play for up to 50 hours or more with the optional content.
As completionists ourselves, we spent around 70 hours beating the storyline and optional content with both protagonists. The way you play Scarlet Nexus is entirely up to you. However, we recommend at least going through both storylines and spending 50 hours on the game. Side quests are not for everyone!
Scarlet Nexus Review Summary
To summarise this Scarlet Nexus review, we would have to say that Scarlet Nexus is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. The refusal to provide a better storytelling platform despite its crisp and colourful visuals was a disappointment.
However, its fun and satisfying combat provide enough reason for you to keep playing. We also thoroughly enjoyed Kasane’s side of the story, thanks to her compelling character as well as the events that unfold for her. It’s just such a shame about the platform.
Ultimately, you’re not going to find any groundbreaking ideas in Scarlet Nexus. You’re not even going to find the most remarkable anime story ever told. What you’ll get, though, is a nice bowl of a warm, familiar feeling that only the most comforting of trope-ridden, over-the-top action Japanese animations can give you. And that’s good enough for us.
Thoughts on Scarlet Nexus? Share your comments below.
Content Disclaimer: This Scarlet Nexus Review is independently written. We have not been commissioned by BANDAI NAMCO, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or the Scarlet Nexus game.
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