Bandai Namco have a history when it comes to anime-themed games with compelling RPG mechanics, but always fall short of the mark regarding their worlds and stories. Games like Code Vein and God Eater, while extremely flashy in their presentations, also suffer from these shortcomings. Their latest effort, Scarlet Nexus, unfortunately makes similar errors while improving in other areas. The experience overall boils down to how much you're willing to put up with excellent combat and characters barely held together by an incoherent plot.
Scarlet Nexus takes place in a dystopian cyberpunk future where humanity is on the brink of extinction from the invasion of dimensional beings called Others, horrid fusions of organic creatures and mechanical monstrosities. To combat these beings, the government puts together a team of psychokinetic-gifted soldiers called the OSF (Other Suppression Force), and we follow two new recruits, Yuito and Kasane, who may be humanity's hope in saving the world.
As far as the story goes, that's all I'll say without delving into spoilers. You begin the game by choosing either Yuito or Kasane, who have an interesting A/B scenario play out across the 20-hour campaign that features new, branching stories, enemies and areas depending on the character. While they don't converge as much as Resident Evil 2's split story threads which was an obvious inspiration, they do provide compelling stories that explores each character's unique traits and personalities that further flesh them out in surprising ways.
Choosing your starting character also affects combat. Yuito is your average swordsman type who uses flashy close-quarters melee combat, while Kasane utilizes ranged combat with her daggers. Both characters are especially gifted in psychokinesis, an ability that allows them to grab objects around the environment with their minds and throw them at enemies, leaving them open to a flurry of combos. The gameplay may feel a bit stiff and awkward at first, but as more abilities open up to you throughout the game, your character is able to string together more elaborate and flashier combos for devastatingly powerful attacks that feel amazing when pulled off correctly.
...the combat shines with its brilliant complexity while still delivering extremely flashy executions and animations.
People will begin to act out of character, and there are some questionable decisions made that add to the confusing nature of the plot.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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Bandai Namco Studios
Bandai Namco Entertainment
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
25 June 2021
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