Scarlet Nexus is the latest action RPG from Bandai Namco, offering a chance to immerse yourself in a fascinating new world of anime and cyberpunk, where the general population is gifted with powers and cities are routinely attacked by mutated creatures who fall from the sky.
You have questions. We have answers. With no spoilers, here is everything you need to know about Scarlet Nexus.
Is Scarlet Nexus worth playing?
Most importantly, yes. Overall, Scarlet Nexus is a fantastic RPG. The high points are its terrific battle system, twisting story and intriguing cyberpunk setting.
For a more detailed analysis, the full review can be found here:
- RELATED: Scarlet Nexus Review
Is Scarlet Nexus standalone?
At the time of release, Scarlet Nexus is not connected to any other games. This is a brand-new story in a brand-new world, making it an easy one to jump in and play.
However, there was an anime series released concurrently. The first episode is available here at Funimation.
What other games are similar to Scarlet Nexus?
If you’re wondering what games compare most to Scarlet Nexus, my review mentioned a few titles that came to mind during my playthrough.
The action-packed, real-time battle system has some hallmarks of the Tales series, but each enemy’s distinct set of strengths and weaknesses actually reminded me of Horizon Zero Dawn at times.
As for the story, the fact it is told from two perspectives and requires two playthroughs for a full understanding is certainly along the lines of the NieR series, but it ends up being a barmy, twisting romp which definitely gave me some Zero Escape vibes.
There are some relationship mechanics known as bond levels, which are most associated with the likes of Persona or Trails of Cold Steel. The bonding feature is pretty solid, bestowing some nice gameplay rewards as well as significantly adding depth to the characters.
Does Scarlet Nexus have character creation?
There are two main characters to choose from. These are set characters who cannot be customised other than cosmetics like different costumes and accessories like cat ears and monster-claw gloves. Every playable character actually has three visual slots that can be used for these items, which don’t affect gameplay at all.
Does Scarlet Nexus have a good story?
It’s not exactly conventional, but I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of Scarlet Nexus. There are some anime tropes, and at times it gets convoluted, but it’s still a massive plus point of the game. The story gets pretty dark at times, with plenty of twists and some great characters.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but it all ends up going pretty crazy – in a good way.
Is Scarlet Nexus open world?
No. Scarlet Nexus is linear, featuring a menu-based world map allowing you to travel around the setting of New Himuka. For the majority of the game you can backtrack to previous locations, allowing you to explore them and complete sidequests.
Some of the areas are reasonably sized, but there isn’t a massive amount of land to explore – Scarlet Nexus focuses far more on its excellent real-time combat, with regular open areas that host some terrific battles against the mutated creatures known as Others.
Which is the best route to play through?
At the start of Scarlet Nexus, you must pick between the two protagonists – the male lead is Yuito Sumeragi and the female option is Kasane Randall.
Yuito is a sword-user, and is a pretty stereotypical JRPG protagonist. Kasane uses knives, which whirl around and hit a wider area. She’s a far colder, more logical character than Yuito, and has a bit more character development during her story.
However, I personally found Yuito the more enjoyable character to play as, and I think the perspective of his story was also a little bit more coherent. This is all a matter of opinion of course, and many prefer Kasane.
Do you need to play both routes?
Ultimately, Scarlet Nexus attempts to wrap everything up within one playthrough, but there is so much going on that it’ll still make a lot more sense if you follow up with a playthrough of the alternative route.
You can carry over your levels on your second playthrough, and if you choose to play again for the story this is recommended. You’ll fly through it a lot quicker, although some of the final phases still take a while.
The other noteworthy factor is that the bulk of each route is spent with different characters, whose powers you can share. Yuito and Kasane both use telekinesis (actually called psychokinesis) but their teammates are often different, which adds some significant changes to the way you play.
There are also different bond events on each route, and I found that every character who had a mediocre bond arc on one route had a much more interesting one on the other side.
On balance I would definitely recommend playing through both routes.
What is the best difficulty to play on?
As a seasoned RPG and Tales player, I still opted for normal mode which provided a nice level of challenge. It wasn’t frustratingly difficult, but there were one or two boss encounters that got the better of me on multiple occasions. Since the battle system is unique and will take a little while to grasp, normal difficulty is a good place to start if you’re after a healthy test of your skills.
How many endings does Scarlet Nexus have?
Though Scarlet Nexus has two routes, the ending is largely the same. Without spoiling anything, there are some subtle differences, whereby sometimes actions performed by Yuito on his route are performed by Kasane on her route. However, these don’t drastically change anything, so whilst you may hear a few people say there are technically two endings, these conclusions are 99% identical.
Is there much post-game content?
Disappointingly, not really. Once both routes are completed, you can mop up any bond events you missed, and you’ll also be able to switch between playable characters (ie, Yuito or Kasane; no other characters are playable).
A new bond event will unlock, which is still largely the same as one you can see before clearing the second route, and a bunch of extra quests are added. These quests don’t offer anything special and aren’t very exciting either – just generic tasks that involve killing certain monsters in certain ways.
It’s a real shame there isn’t a challenging post-game dungeon to really test yourself after getting through two playthroughs.
How long does it take to beat each playthrough?
Obviously this will depend on how you play, but based on normal difficulty I suggest if you tackle some quests and aim to clear all bonding events (recommended as it unlocks the best powers), then your first playthrough should take around 30-35 hours.
If you carry over your levels, you’ll get through the second playthrough a lot faster. I did not bother with quests on this route but maxed all bonding levels again. Doing this will take 18-20 hours.
If you don’t carry over your levels in order to retain a challenge on the second playthrough, then nothing is actually much faster except for the familiarity you’ll have with the locations. You’ll likely still be looking at around 30 hours.
How many phases are there?
Each route has 12 story phases, with 11 standby phases in between that basically act as intermissions to complete bond events and sidequests. Other than a couple of long ones, most phases last a couple of hours, and are pretty action-packed.
Are sidequests worth doing?
You aren’t missing much if you forgo the sidequests. These are among the most mundane quests I’ve ever played, usually amounting to simple fetch-quests or generic battle tasks like beating a set amount of enemies with a certain skill.
The rewards aren’t great either. In fact, the biggest benefit of doing them is that you’ll backtrack through some areas to grind a couple of levels or – more importantly – pick up some additional materials that are used to exchange for better weapons and bond gifts.
Does Scarlet Nexus have romance?
There are some fairly deep bond events within Scarlet Nexus which, particularly if you play through both routes. You can bond with the same characters on both sides, but the characters have completely different bond events depending on which protagonist you picked.
Despite some romantic undertones – especially on Yuito’s side – Scarlet Nexus can’t be counted as an RPG with romance options.
If you are seeking some more explicit romance, check out our list below.
Does Scarlet Nexus have co-op multiplayer?
No. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer option at all. This is perhaps due to the fact that no other characters other than the chosen protagonist are playable. It’s a bit disappointing given the Tales games provide this option, but that’s the way it goes.
Where have I heard the voice actors before?
Most video game voice actors are fairly prolific, and Scarlet Nexus is no exception. I won’t list everyone’s full career, but among the main cast here are a few notable credits in the RPG world:
Yuito is voiced by Chris Hackney, who played Dimitri in Fire Emblem Three Houses.
Kasane is voiced by Erica Mendez, who played Doll in Ys IX: Monstrum Nox and Eleanor in Tales of Berseria.
Hanabi is voiced by Megan Taylor Harvey, who plays Towa in the Trails of Cold Steel series.
Tsugumi is voiced by Xanthe Huynh, who plays Altina in the Trails of Cold Steel series and Haru in Persona 5 and its various spin-offs.
Luka is voiced by Zach Aguilar, who voiced Byleth in Fire Emblem Three Houses and Campanella in the Trails of Cold Steel series.
Kyoka is voiced by Lauren Landa, who voiced Leia from Tales of Xillia.
Wataru is voiced by Kyle McCarley, who voiced 9S in NieR Automata.
Will there be a sequel?
Again, I’m conscious of spoilers, but all I will say is that Scarlet Nexus is definitely set up for a sequel and I really hope Bandai Namco oblige.
The sales outlook so far appears to be a mixed bag. It sold surprisingly poor numbers in Japan, logging 31,168 sales in its first week which was only good enough for fifth place.
Time will tell, and perhaps a Nintendo Switch release may be needed to rejuvenate the figures. Surely sales will be the crucial factor in determining whether a sequel is on its way, but there is nothing official announced yet.
Is there anything else you need to know about Scarlet Nexus? Comment below.