This Review Will Update Overtime with an End Result
Diving into Scarlet Nexus’ high risk sci-fi genre that mixes powers and technology leaves an impression of dread and despair; it is clear from the reveal trailer that the developers took inspiration from game series like “Tales of” and “Persona” – and for the most part it does a fine job in maintaining the best aspects of those games with some surprising elements – even if it leans far too heavily into anime tropes you’d come to expect from JRPG games, even in design.
Scarlet Nexus world suffered a catastrophic event that spawned these beings they call Others. The vast majority of the human population has psychic abilities, some more than others – to those that are exceptional, the government created a task force called the OSF (Other Suppression Force) – to help combat and protect people from these otherworldly beings. In this…Brain Punk universe (Bandai called it that, not me) – augmented advertisements are littered all over the city making it far more noisy that you’d like. It’s an interested set up for massive potential, but more often than not, it leans heavily into the cheery side of things in a otherwise bleak world.
You start your journey by choosing between two characters, Kasane and Yuito – each with distinct story paths that intertwines throughout the campaign. In order for you to fully experience the story, you’d have to complete each of the 20hr campaign, one that I am currently in the process of. It’s an excellent idea taken from Nier Automata, and one of the biggest reasons why I’m sticking with this game.
But, even with all these great ideas taken from excellent games, I can’t help but feel disconnected because of the lighthearted approach in a otherwise dreadful theme; it seems that the developers wants the player to feel the sense of doom in this story – but characters can never act accordingly, which takes away from the urgency within the world. You will find that people wouldn’t communicate normally when something life altering happens right before their eyes. On top of all that, people seem to constantly betray one another without a second thought, and then trust each other the nanosecond the battle is over – which in any given universe that makes no sense. I’m only 10 hours into the game playing with Kasane, and it is picking up, but I’m not particularly caring about the outcome of things so far.
But what is done slightly well is the Persona-style bond missions you have with your, ever-so-fluidly-rotated team members. You can even gift them items from the shopkeeper or items found on your adventures to raise your bond level for gameplay benefits. It’s a neat side addition that really deepens the gameplay and I’m loving it.
I only hoped that the game had more animated cutscenes rather than slide show conversations – there were some moments I would have like to see in motion rather than slide through. The Comic-like cutscenes are well done for those who enjoy that sort of thing, but there’s far too little animated scenes for me to feel the balance.
Beautiful Looking with Fast-Paced Combo Action
Scarlet Nexus through and through is an action RPG – akin to Platinum Games titles. Its controls are very simple but what sets it apart is your psionic abilities; you can chain combos while throwing large objects with ease and it does a great job tracking enemies in the mix of battle. You can have up to 2 companions with you and combine their unique psionic abilities with yours; there’s status ailments like burn and freeze, but also ailment combos where if you’re covered in oil, fire can set you off creating residual damage – same with water and lightning, ect. The gameplay is incredibly fast and responsive, the enemies even reacts accordingly which gives a sense of impact to each hit. You have both trigger buttons for specific telekinetic abilities – Right Trigger is set to launch objects during combat, but the Left Trigger is for special objects with special affects – you can use the Left Trigger to ride a large bus, or slam something from atop a ledge; each LT ability comes with additional combos to do when prompted.
Without a doubt it is fun mixing these combos, leaving you with some incredible moment to moment gameplay. Speaking of moment to moment, Scarlet Nexus environmental design is dated – each level design sets you on a linear path from point A to B, with encounter zones. There’s no real reward in exploring beaten paths when there practically isn’t any. Throughout your run, you will find glowing icons for materials or consumables, but that’s about it.
However, the games Unreal Engine 4 Cell-Shading is a delight to see, with well animated characters to boot. Despite the dated level design, the world is detailed suitably. There’s tons of debris scattered to use in battle, which also decorates the world quite well.
Expect an update to this article as I progress further into the game.
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