How long is scarlet nexus?
Clocking in at around 20 to 30 hours per story line, “Scarlet Nexus” is both compact enough to enjoy leisurely over a week, yet sprawling in its ambition to cover thousands of years of Earth's history and lore. The Washington PostThe twists and turns of ‘Scarlet Nexus’ make it a must-play for anime lovers
Read full article at Kotaku
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
The characters and story of Bandai Namco’s JRPG sealed the deal
The game takes place in a fictional country called New Himuka that has been invaded by dangerous creatures called Others. These creatures fall from the sky, part of a phenomenon called the Extinction Belt. Society has been able to utilize a certain “psionic hormone” in the human brain that allows people to develop supernatural powers, such as cryokinesis and air manipulation. Humans with these powers are called “psionics,” and they’re scouted and recruited by the Other Suppression Force, or OSF.
You have the choice between two protagonists, Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall, each of whom has their own perspective on the game’s plot. Other Japanese RPGs have featured concurrent plot lines before, such as Tales of Xillia, but in that game, there weren’t enough differences between the protagonists’ paths to warrant such a mechanic. By contrast, the narrative beats of each protagonist’s respective route in Scarlet Nexus are varied enough to be notable for the majority of the game. There are certain revelations and substantial lore dumps that only Yuito’s or Kasane’s crew experiences, so it’s necessary to play through both paths in order to fully grasp the entire context of the game’s story. It’s worth doing; the plot takes some wild turns.
Each protagonist also has a set crew that follows them throughout their adventure, and they’re all a fun bunch. Bonding events popularized by series like Persona are present in Scarlet Nexus. You get to learn more about each of your party members’ backstories and personalities by conversing with them at the Hideout during the intermissions between the game’s chapters.
The dual-protagonist structure allows both characters to shine, with each path of the game also balancing out the development of a dozen other characters, half of whom join Yuito, while the others join Kasane. The bonding episodes are entertaining, too. For example, during some of these episodes, Kasane’s straightforward personality clashes with the more prideful demeanor of her teammate Shiden, causing him to interpret Kasane’s rational advice as personal insults. Her no-nonsense attitude also allows her to shut down the playboy-like advances of Kagero with snide remarks. Then there’s Yuito, the typical kind-hearted anime hero who’s always down to help and also can’t tell when a girl has a crush on him.
These interactions provide a happier contrast to Scarlet Nexus’ darker moments. But the strength of these scenes makes it more disappointing that Wataru Frazer and Haruka Frazer, the groups’ twin navigators, don’t get their own bonding events, despite being major characters in the main cast. The Frazer twins don’t have any direct impact on the gameplay, as they just sit in the background and provide helpful tips during battle, but I would have loved to learn more about them.
Yuito specializes in close-quarters combat with a sword, so borrowing Luka’s teleportation ability lets him quickly close the gap between him and an enemy. Of course, you can also teleport away from the enemy and fight from a distance using Yuito’s psychokinesis power. Since Yuito is mainly going to be up close and personal, he can borrow Gemma’s sclerokinesis to nullify all damage and knockback, allowing him to dish out as much destruction as he can without being interrupted. Initially, you can only borrow one SAS power at a time, but eventually you’ll unlock the ability to activate multiple at once.
Meanwhile, Kasane is a midrange fighter equipped with knives. While both protagonists can hurl objects like cars and street poles with their psychokinesis powers (think Control), Kasane seems to have the advantage here, since she can capitalize on Kyoka’s duplication power, allowing her to copy and add to the number of objects thrown. Additionally, if enemies get too close, Kasane can utilize either Arashi’s hypervelocity power to slow down time or Kagero’s invisibility to retreat and reposition herself.
As you deepen the bond level between you and your teammates, you’ll also unlock cool new mechanics, such as a chance of a party member blocking a single attack for you, or summoning them for a follow-up attack of your own. As you get further in the story, more tactical options open up, making combat more fun and fluid.
I also appreciated Scarlet Nexus’ incredibly simple weapon upgrade system. You can find weapon crafting materials from pickups in dungeons or drops by enemies, and you can also purchase armor and accessories for your characters. If the attack or defense number is higher than the one you’re currently wearing, equip it — boom, that’s it. There’s nothing convoluted here, like innate weapon properties or other overly complex systems that burden some JRPGs (looking at you, Tales of Zestiria).
It’s too bad these side quests don’t take more advantage of Scarlet Nexus’ rich lore and politics, which you learn more about through the bonding events. For example, retired OSF members have trouble adjusting to civilian life after leaving the organization. There’s also a segment of the population that was born without psionic powers, and thus is looked down upon. There are themes of classism, ableism, and discrimination in the game that could have been explored even further for more world-building.
Scarlet Nexus has a colorful cast of characters and an impressive variety of gameplay mechanics, but for me, the unexpected cherry on top was its story. The chapters are very well-paced, and none of them overstays its welcome. 2021 is seeing quite a lot of JRPGs, with many of them being continuations of existing franchises or just remasters. But after having played through both of Scarlet Nexus’ storylines, I believe it has the potential to be a surprise hit this year for fans of the genre. Don’t let this brand-new futuristic brainpunk adventure slip past you.
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
Scarlet Nexus certainly has RPG roots, with inventory to manage, character abilities to upgrade, and personal bonds to strengthen for both narrative and gameplay rewards. It is also an action game, a really fun one at that. But where the monster slaying and fighting holds up, the story and structure ends up muddying the impact.
Scarlet Nexus is, ultimately, some gorgeous, action-heavy comfort food. It is Saturday morning anime in game form, and while it will struggle to hold your attention from a story perspective, it’s also a good way to lose 30 hours in a fun combat system. It’s not a narrative powerhouse, but if you need a vehicle for bashing monsters with the might of your brain, it’ll suit that need just fine.
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Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
Mixing aliens with sci-fi usually results in bad news for humans, and the bleak world of action RPG Scarlet Nexus delivers all the doom one could hope for amidst such beautiful gloom.
As the story goes, a long time ago an extraterrestrial life-form known as the “Others” descended on earth and began to prey on the brains of living creatures—including humans. Suddenly, humanity had to scramble like cockroaches, entrapped on the surface of the planet and forced to endure random onslaughts from the Others like other natural catastrophes such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or wild fires.
At the same time, a psionic hormone was discovered in the human brain, granting human beings extra-sensory powers that changed the world as we know it. Highly resistant to conventional weapons and combat tactics, those with acute extra-sensory abilities, known as psychics, became humanity’s only chance to stop the onslaught from above and preserve our species.
Since then, psychics have been scouted for their talents and recruited to the Other Suppression Force (OSF), humanity’s last line of defense. The OSF was organized to fight against the Others, and only those with exceptional brain power—a hyper sense all human beings are born with and connected by—have the ability to exterminate the Others.
For folks suffering under the suppression of the Others, members of the elite OSF are their heroes, and saviors. At this time, a fresh crop of incoming recruits will join the OSF and be sent to the frontlines in the epic battle against the Others.
Protagonists include Yuito Sumeragi with his can-do attitude and Kasane Randall, who unflinchingly accepts her fate:
A bright and kind boy full of resilience, he is the second son of the prestigious Sumeragi family, whose ancestor was the founding father of New Himuka. The family is a political dynasty, with his father leading the current government and his brother serving as a bureaucratic commander of OSF. When he was young he got almost killed by an Other, but a member of OSF saved him. When he became old enough he enlisted in the OSF, and endured hard training to become a warrior who always helps those weaker than him.
A chill and rational girl who is a bit indifferent to those around her, she is a rare breed with superb fighting skills and power who was scouted by the OSF and graduated at the top of her class. She lost her parents in an Other attack when she was young and became the adopted daughter of the Randall family, who runs a huge military corporation.
Key companions that can join our heroes, each with theirown unique skillsets and special powers, include:
A childhood friend of Yuito who has a cheerful and energetic personality, she despises any injustice she sees. A hard-charging warrior who always acts before thinking, some people wrongly mistake her recklessness for a lack of compassion.
A grizzled veteran, what Gemma lacks in speed and power due to his age, he makes up with experience and reliability. Extremely serious and earnest to a point that he is sometimes clumsy, his deep expertise in heavy combat is always a welcomed addition to any team repelling an Others onslaught.
Though at first glance he looks like a gentle teenage boy, Luka has a brilliant analytical brain that makes him a formidable fighter in the heat of battle. Despite his boyish appearance, he is one of the OSF’s seven elite “Septentrion” members who have superior powers.
A contrarian with a sharp tongue and pessimistic nature, he’s not the friendliest of allies but can always be counted on when the chips are down. Shiden’s exceptional combat skills and abrasive personality make him an essential, if not engaging, team member.
Admired among OSF officers for her beauty and intelligence, Kyoka prefers to focus on the wellbeing of others more than herself. Though she can sometimes be an overbearing mother figure when leading OSF platoons, she transforms into a fierce and fearsome warrior when combat gets heavy.
The PR rep and face of OSF, the young and sunny Arashi is always polite when the cameras are rolling. But when the lights go down and the common folk aren’t watching, she’ll slack off. Despite her split personality, she is an engineering genius and when focused, can be an awesome ally.
A sociable and somewhat frivolous young man, Kagero’s handsome looks and silver tongue help him befriend almost anyone. He insists on being the life of the party, joking around in even the most dire straits, and never accepts defeat.
Launching on June 25th, this all-new multi-platform franchise from Bandai-Namco offers a fresh twist on traditional RPG action game mechanics.
26 June, 2021 - 01:16pm
Anime has always struggled with an overabundance of the “hero” trope. In any world of demons and unstoppable foes, one unwitting nobody will rise to the top of the pile through brains and brawn in godly measure to claim the title of ‘hero’. This person might not be the smartest, strongest, or even most likeable character in the ensemble, but by god can no one stop them when they truly dedicate themselves to a task.
It’s a trope that Scarlet Nexus fully embodies. As one of the two playable leads - Kasane or Yuito - you’re the fresh-faced rookie looking to prove yourself in the Cadets, a force of elite human warriors dedicated to repelling the nightmarish creatures dropping out of the Earth’s atmosphere to feed on human brains. Both of these leads are no-name fighters vying to stand out from the pack, but - surprise! - it emerges Kasane and Yuito are wicked warriors with untameable drive and skill.
It’s an understandably difficult tightrope to walk. Action games like Scarlet Nexus are all about empowering the player through abnormal abilities and devastating battle techniques, so they naturally lend themselves to falling into the ‘hero’ trope category that any avid anime viewer will no doubt be accustomed to. On the flip side, having the player embody your average hapless redshirt for the entirety of the 20-hour game would be more likely to frustrate than entertain, the latter of which Bandai Namco’s new action game is obviously jockeying for.
If Scarlet Nexus’s goal is to entertain, then, it’s accomplished said goal in spades. The real-time combat system is slick and stylish, letting you pelt monsters with cars, bikes, dumpsters, and everything in between from afar through telekinetic abilities. It’s not a case of style over substance though, because Scarlet Nexus uses close quarters physical attacks, coupled with a smooth reactionary dodge mechanic, to really make you think on your feet during combat. Pulling off the telekinetic moves takes a crucial few seconds, so you’re left to calculate when you’ve got a brief window of opportunity to charge up an attack while being rendered immobile and vulnerable, which turns into a great game of precision and careful planning.
There are also infrequent “Bond” episodes peppered throughout Scarlet Nexus. In between story missions, you’ll be transported to a hideaway, which is actually a really snazzy modern apartment located in the belly of Tokyo, along with all your allies. This hideaway lets you recuperate and procure items in between combat gauntlets in missions, but it also offers you a chance to better acquaint yourself with the characters surrounding Kasane and Yuito through limited-time optional story missions focused on fleshing out one character at a time.
The Bond missions themselves are simple in design, but vital for making the ensemble cast surrounding you feel like more than the one-dimensional personas they lead with. One Bond mission has Kasane and Yuito going to retrieve a fountain pen, deeply cherished by one of their commanding officers, an opportunity which Kasane pounces on to judge if Yuito is worthy of dating her younger sister (it’s an anime thing). Scarlet Nexus’s side characters might not amount to genuinely memorable companions over the course of 20-odd hours, but the Bond missions undoubtedly give each an added depth that would otherwise be dearly missed.
Over the extended runtime of Scarlet Nexus though, there’s a whole lot to unpack. The plot zips between brilliant and bold ideas in equal measure, dipping its toe into analyzing subjects like post-humanism, militarism, the disposability of modern soldiers after their time has been served, and so much more. There’s a lot to like about Scarlet Nexus’s increasingly whacky and ever-twisting plot, but it’s a bit of a shame that with so many constant twists and turns, it never really lingers on one interesting subject long enough to properly dig into it and break it down.
Just over a month ago, I wrote about in our Scarlet Nexus preview of how the game's world allowed the mundane to shine through its futuristic cityscape of Tokyo. As soon as you’re clear of the prologue section of Bandai Namco’s game and spat out into the maw of the city, there’s human hallmarks of any city on the face of the Earth: businessmen and street vendors jostling among crowds of office workers and lackadaisical kids everywhere you look. It’s a subtle but brilliant method of making this pulsating neon city oddly relatable, even if there are brain-eating demons descending out of the sky.
What it would’ve been nice to see from Scarlet Nexus is the hammering home of these relatable cityscape traits through side missions and stories. Scarlet Nexus has an abundance of side missions, the vast majority of which sadly fall into the “fetch mission” category of “go here, kill this”, or “keep an eye out for X amount of an item”. That Scarlet Nexus doesn’t properly let us connect with the everyday characters that it uses to ground its cityscape is an unfortunate missed opportunity, one that reduces side activities to a slate of objectives for accruing XP for your protagonist in Scarlet Nexus’ leveling system instead of being enjoyable missions for relatable people.
Scarlet Nexus has some great fun to offer through its experimental and varied combat system, and there’s a deluge of skills, attacks, and counters to mish-mash against one another for increasingly satisfying results. What ultimately lets Bandai Namco’s action game down is outside of the action itself, where side characters never amount to memorable, enjoyable companions, and a side quest structure that feels more primed to provide the player with character-boosting XP than tales that capitalize on the intriguing glowing city surrounding them. Scarlet Nexus casts its eye over plenty of intriguing subjects in its plot, but it never lingers on one area long enough to properly analyze and break down the tough subject matter.
A brilliant battle system is let down somewhat by the largely underwhelming side stories and meandering companions of Scarlet Nexus.
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