SCARLET NEXUS is Bandai Namco’s next pitch to the action RPG genre of games that hopes to deliver the so called “Brain-punk” representation of a futuristic Japanese landscape that combines inspirations from both classic anime and western science fiction. And at its core, SCARLET NEXUS revolves around the “power of the mind” where humans discovered a psionic hormone found in the brain that grants people extra-sensory powers. However, this futuristic era also happens to be when deranged mutants known as Others began to descend from the sky with a thirst for human brains.
With that, people with extra-sensory powers known as psionics are scouted for their talents and recruited to the Other Suppresion Force (OSF) as humanity’s last defense. But what’s interesting to see here is that we get access to two playable main protagonists Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall with each one having their own unique experiences as they play the same core story progression but from a different viewpoint much like what the demo had to offer. It’ll be interesting to see how well this pans out compared to the traditional RPGs we’re already familiar with but with that being said, I feel like it had already taken a hit if its core story is filled with still images along with the robotic and lifeless way of how the 3D characters interact with each other in dialogue sequences. There are some live cutscenes as well however they are few and far in between. So let’s just hope the creative minds behind Tales of Vesperia becomes its saving grace and deliver a deep story driven experience despite its distracting robotic characters that breaks my immersion more often than not.
However where SCARLET NEXUS shines is with its unique and engaging combo-based combat sequences that mixes in the psychokinesis powers to rain down your foes with just about anything you can find lying around on top of being able to share other psionics’ powers to spice up your own combos or defeat specific enemies that would otherwise be impossible to defeat on its own. This provides more depth to enemy encounters as you try to figure out how to dispatch one of the more annoying ones like the enemies that hide inside a metal crate or high-speed enemies that are too quick to slash down normally.
This demo also provides us a quick look on the Brain Map where your main character will develop its skills such as an expansion to your combos with an added slam attack or being able to chain more moves together with follow-up attacks. Although what really caught my attention here is the support tree on the brain map where you can eventually end up being able to use four psionic powers at the same time which on its own definitely had me thinking of possible combinations that work well together like Arashi’s Hypervelocity or Shiden’s Electrokinesis. Meanwhile, party composition is locked behind three characters, one being your main character, either Yuito or Kasane, while the other two slots are the AI-controlled party members that you can freely choose between the available ones. You can also choose their behaviors in battle with six tactic variations like “Fight to the brink” or “Evasive Maneuvers”.
But as far as equipment goes, each character has their own unique signature weapon type and up to three plug-in slots where you can equip gear to power up your toons. Meanwhile the second tab next to the equipment is where the magic happens and I’m talking about visuals… mainly costumes and attachments. But much like a Tales of game, SCARLET NEXUS’ takes a similar route to how you can customize your characters with a slot to change your basic costume and another three slots to add in attachments like headgears, breastplates or a tail attachment to complete that look.
All in all, the demo provided players a pretty good first look on how the game progresses from there. It’s still too early to say whether I’d recommend a buy but from what we’ve seen so far, the game has yet to impress on the story however its combat loop is already looking pretty solid which has always been where my money is at. There is definitely something to look forward to when it comes to the story given Vesperia is easily one of my favorite Tales of game in the series even if the combat wasn’t up to par.
SCARLET NEXUS releases on June 25, 2021 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Playstation 5, Playstation 4 and PC with confirmed being able to run Full HD 30fps for both Playstation 4 and Xbox One while the next-gen consoles can enjoy the performance upgrade at 4K resolution @60fps although Xbox Series S will be at 1440p @60fps. PC can enjoy the same benefits as long as their hardware meets the requirements.
Did you enjoy reading our preview of a game before the game gets its final release and its final version? if yes, click here to find more early previews.