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GameSpot | ‘Scarlet Nexus’ game review: A symphony of neon psionic carnage


While Scarlet Nexus may seem like your garden-variety Japanse role-playing game, this fresh release from Bandai Namco is a breath of fresh air, thanks to immersive battle sequences

The rampant popularity of Persona 5 has inspired a range of games coming out of Japan, such as the famous action-oriented Yakuza andLike a Dragon, which is turn-based combat. Bandai Namco’s newest JRPG (Japanese role-playing game) Scarlet Nexus has this same inspiration, infusing the Persona 5 formula of style, world, character and story into a fresh new science fiction avatarbut it goes all out with the real-time action.

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Scarlet Nexus is bold and all-out fun, with a few rough edges.

Screenshot from Scarlet Nexus

Screenshot from Scarlet Nexus
| Photo Credit: Bandai Namco

Scarlet Nexus introduces you to Cyberpunk’s distant cousin, Brain Punk, a fascinating vision of the future that combines the dystopian sci-fi of books like Altered Carbon with Japanese animes such as Psycho. It follows the discovery of a psionic hormone in the human brain, giving people abilities that shaped a new way of society. This mind-opening experience paved a way for an invasion of monsters known as the Others. Scarlet Nexus’ world and story is a sci-fi buff’s dream come true, that wants to be much more.

The story of Scarlet Nexus unfolds from the perspectives of two selectable characters, male, Yuito Sumeragi or as female Kasane Randall. Both are new talents conscripted into the Others Suppressive Force (OSF), a task force dealing with these mysterious invaders.

Scarlet Nexus

  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Price: ₹1999 on PC Steam. ₹3,999 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series

No matter what choice you make, the main storyline is somewhat the same with intersecting parallels that warrant a second play-through. It is a pity that rather than a motion-rich style, the story is told through a visual novel, leaving most of the characters by the wayside to keep building its world.

But all of this takes a backseat to its excellent action.

Inspired combat

It is very clear to see what inspired Scarlet Nexus’ battle mechanics. Think Platinum Games’ Nier Automata’s signature combat with a bit of Devil May Cry, along with the aesthetics of Persona 5. You can unleash a barrage of psionic powers at enemies, using your mind to move around pieces of the environment to deftly smash into enemies. You can look forward to powers that freeze, electrocute or burn enemies while also leveraging your two party members’ powers to aid you. The primary attacks feel snappy and blend so well together with everything else, it never feels overwhelming. Once you get a hang of it, it feels like a symphony of neon psionic carnage.

The enemies are some of the freshest in a game so far; some are a surreal display of miscellaneous objectsfused with bipeds and quadrupeds. They are a handful for you and the rest of the OSF.

Screenshot from Scarlet Nexus

Screenshot from Scarlet Nexus
| Photo Credit: Bandai Namco

Where Scarlet Nexus seems to break down is in the spaces between its story and action. The levels, while they look incredible, are essentially just a straight-forward series of fights with a great view. There is no real break for storytelling along the way, feeling very rushed, with PowerPoint-like cutscenes doing little justice to the excellent battle.

If you have been jonesing for a good action game or JRPG for a while, Scarlet Nexus could be your jam. It more than makes up for the few missed opportunities, with an engaging science-fiction story and addictive action that will keep you going well to the end of your second play-through.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel


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