Scarlet Nexus doesn’t exactly inundate you with tactical choices, but there are a few key considerations to make along the way. Your choice of active party members can have some important ramifications, as does your selection of plug-ins and SAS powers.
Here is everything you should consider to find the best party, SAS combinations and plug-in set-ups.
- RELATED: Scarlet Nexus Review
What is the best party in Scarlet Nexus?
There are two slots in the active party alongside Yuito or Kasane. The first important point to note is that the SAS abilities of the active party members last longer than those in reserve. As such, it’s a good idea to simply use the characters whose SAS powers are activated most often. The more you play, the more you’ll realise which powers best fit your playstyle. Towards the end of the game, with access to more powers, this becomes less important as you’ll likely be juggling many abilities on a regular basis.
The other point to note is that active party members slowly increase their bonds. If you fight alongside someone for long enough, they may be ready for the next bond level by the time you return to the hideout.
Once bond levels are maximised, Gemma and Kagero are the only party members whose enhanced SAS powers confer passive benefits when they are in the active party. Gemma is more likely to activate Automatic Sclerokinesis, whilst Kagero similarly has a chance of activating Critical Invisibility when HP goes below 30%. This alone is a good reason to opt for these two, but Gemma’s high HP is another reason he’s a great option.
Other than these technicalities, I never noticed any major gameplay difference based on which characters were in the party. Kyoka is another solid choice – she has decent HP and fights from range so can stay out of the way and is less susceptible to being defeated.
Overall, I suggest using the following selection criteria in order of priority:
- Characters whose SAS abilities are used most often (not as important during the final phases)
- Characters who have lower bond levels (until all bonds are maximised)
- Gemma and Kagero for passive ability boosts
- If you don’t fancy these two together, then replace one with Kyoka
What are the best tactics to set?
There are six different options for tactics, which can be changed from the Party section of the menu. These are set individually for each character and are mostly self-explanatory but here is a run-down:
Fight to the Brink: character will attack until they hit 15% HP before healing
Don’t Overdo It: character will attack until 75% HP, and then less frequently until 50% HP before healing
Evasive Manoeuvres: character will not attack at all, just stay out of the way and heal
Target Different Enemy: character will attack a different enemy to the one your protagonist is locked onto
Target Same Enemy: character will attack the same enemy as the one your protagonist is locked onto
Battle At Will: character will attack as they see fit
The default selection is Battle At Will, but this usually ends up in a bunch of your teammates getting KO’d against bosses. This can become a vicious circle, as you can leave yourself vulnerable whilst trying to revive them.
In run-of-the-mill dungeon battles this is fine but against bosses, I’d recommend Don’t Overdo It – you’ll hopefully then be left with a balance of helpful attacks without being a liability.
Best SAS combos – Yuito Route
Once you learn Concurrent SAS Activation in the Brain Map you can utilise two powers at the same time, and this increases to four when you reach the other node of the same name. It’s slim pickings for most of Yuito’s route, as Kasane’s platoon has a far better selection of powers. Nonetheless, there are a couple of SAS combinations that work nicely.
Sclerokinesis (Gemma) and Pyrokinesis (Hanabi)
On Yuito’s route, Gemma’s sclerokinsesis comes into its own when your psychokinesis gauge runs low. Without the risk of damage, you can run in and use charge attacks at close quarters to replenish it as quickly as possible. If you combine this with Hanabi’s pyrokinesis, you’ll gain a damage bonus and likely inflict burn by the time you’re finished.
When Gemma’s SAS runs out, you should be fully charged for psychokinesis, so you can get out of there and start bombarding the enemies from range again.
Sclerokinesis (Gemma) and Clairvoyance (Tsugumi)
It’s good to link sclerokinesis and clairvoyance together as it gives you a better chance to land some read attacks.
With the peace of mind that Gemma’s power brings, you can get close to your enemies and let them attack. The aim is of course to dodge in the nick of time, but if you fail you won’t have to worry about taking damage. This is particularly good on protected enemies, since their armour will be broken with one hit.
Best SAS combos – Kasane Route
In Kasane’s platoon, virtually every combination of powers is solid. She has a great team alongside her, with some terrific SAS combinations to exploit.
Duplication (Kyoka) and Electrokinesis (Shiden)
Duplication is a great power anyway, but coupling it with Shiden’s electrokinesis allows you to hammer home multiple electric-psychokinesis attacks from afar. Whilst keeping your distance, you’ll hopefully be able to inflict shock before the powers expire. If you succeed, you can switch over to hypervelocity to rush up to the enemy and start dealing heavy damage.
Hypervelocity (Arashi) and Electrokinesis (Shiden) OR Duplication (Kyoka)
It may run out a bit quicker than some other powers, but most powers go well with hypervelocity. Activating it alongside electrokinesis provides a chance to shock an enemy with minimal risk. Once inflicted, it’s a double-whammy as you’ll get some extra time with the enemy incapacitated.
Peppering projectiles with duplication is another option, as the extended time will give you a chance to knock down crush damage. Like Gemma’s power, hypervelocity is also simply a great way of landing some heavier attacks to restore your psychokinesis gauge.
Invisibility (Kagero) and Duplication (Kyoka)
Invisibility is a lot better than it first appears, and is just as useful in the middle of battle as it whilst approaching Others on the field. Just because it deactivates upon attack, there is nothing stopping you reactivating it over and over, which will keep hiding you from the enemies and opening up the opportunity to deal extra damage. Duplication and repeated psychokinesis attacks give great crush damage whilst leaving a minimal chance of being hit.
Best SAS Combos – Final Phases
With a full party at your disposal, the first thing you should do is focus your Brain Points towards the direction of both Concurrent SAS Activation nodes. With four powers activated concurrently, there is no Other who can stand in your way – provided you are using the best SAS combos.
Invisibility (Kagero), Duplication (Kyoka), Psychokinesis (Yuito/Kasane), Hypervelocity (Arashi)
This is the ultimate way of starting any battle. Remember you don’t necessarily need to sneak up on Others in the field to reap the benefits of invisibility. Activate the first three powers and let rip with psychokinesis attacks. If Kyoka’s bond level is at maximum, there’ll be three projectiles per attack. Once you’ve got their attention, hypervelocity will then be able to extend your window before they can attack you, and if Arashi is at maximum bond you should use as many follow-up attacks as you can fit in to keep her SAS gauge regenerating.
When the invisibility has worn off, you can actually activate it again and again to keep backstabbing even when the enemy is knocked down. However, I would recommend picking electrokinesis at this point. By the time hypervelocity has run out, you will probably have inflicted shock to earn you that extra bit of time to finish them off. Most enemies will not be standing once this barrage of attacks has landed, and if they are it’s time for a psychokinesis field. Against virtually anyone, you’ll now be able to at least Brain Crush.
Invisibility (Kagero), Clairvoyance (Tsugumi), Duplication (Kyoka), Electrokinesis (Shiden) OR Pyrokinesis (Hanabi)
This is a fantastic cocktail for crush damage. The best thing to do here is simply keep reactivating invisibility as soon as it deactivates (on maximum bond level, it stays active a little longer). Psychokinesis attacks will deplete the gauge, and this is a great thing to try out in the middle of a tough battle.
The first three powers will all contribute to blasting down the crush gauge, and the fourth is a no-brainer to add some extra damage. The choice between pyrokinesis or electrokinesis depends on the enemy, but I personally preferred the latter since shock gives you that extra window of opportunity if you’re able to inflict it. If there still isn’t a Brain Crush chance when everything runs out, switch on hypervelocity and give a final push.
Which SAS power to leave out?
When you have a full party, there are frustratingly eight slots for nine powers, leaving a tricky conundrum of which one to exclude. This choice occurs at the end of phase 9, leaving three full phases. Two of these are particularly long, and the last thing you want to do is keep messing around in the menu.
In my view, the least useful powers at this point of the game are Gemma’s sclerokinesis and Luka’s teleportation. Gemma is definitely handy in the earlier phases of Yuito’s story whilst you’re getting used to the battle system and don’t have a full array of skills, but at this stage Arashi’s hypervelocity and Kagero’s invisibility are both capable of effectively making you invincible. Though you can still technically be damaged whilst using these abilities, they come with additional benefits which outweigh the risk.
As for Luka, his ability is not often needed since zapping around the battlefield means you won’t be able to pull off a perfect dodge. However, there are still quite a few doors to teleport through, and teleportation is useful when you knock down an enemy from afar. Quickly activate teleportation to reach them as soon as possible, rather than wasting precious time or expending hypervelocity making up the ground.
I’ve seen some people mention invisibility, but I think this power is misunderstood. It’s not just for sneaking up on enemies – use it in the middle of battle to regroup, let your other SAS powers recharge and relaunch another assault with extra crush damage. It’s a great power that shouldn’t be neglected.
On balance, I would recommend leaving out Gemma’s sclerokinesis. Note that you can still put Gemma in the active party even if you don’t pick his power in the SAS menu.
What are the best Plug-Ins?
The three plug-in slots give a crucial opportunity to boost your stats alongside some other benefits. Like Concurrent SAS Activiation, the additional plug-in slots are unlocked in the Brain Map and you should aim to snag these are quickly as possible. Additional plug-in slots for your teammates are added by gifting them Plug-In Parallelization Programs, which can be acquired in the shop by exchanging certain materials.
Specialise Crush is definitely worth it. Crush damage is often far more efficient at beating enemies, especially once you’ve nailed your SAS powers and got used to some of the combos above. This is definitely one to add to your arsenal.
Body Enhance is a handy one to consider, as it stops your attacks being interrupted. This is a common frustration within combat, and should be considered if you regularly find yourself being halting during a combo. Otherwise, you can’t go far wrong with the typical Forcefield, Power Enhance and Health Boost plug-ins, which gradually improve as you get through the story phases,
If you ended up with the additional DLC items (included in a special edition at the time of launch) then SAS Application Assist and Increased Survival Rate are both excellent, with neat double-boosts. However, because not everyone will have access, I recommend them tentatively. SAS Application Assist offers a dual increase to SAS power (5%) and SAS length (1.2 times). As for Survival Rate, this increases Health and Defence by 10% apiece. Since this is all within one plug-in, it’s better than having to equip Forcefield and Health Boost separately, though it may not quite grant as big a bonus to either.
Team-mates are best off being stacked with the more typical options. The AI is not particularly good at staying alive against bosses, so equipping multiple Health or Forcefield plug-ins are my recommendation. You can’t equip the exact same plug-in twice, but you could equip Health Boost: Mk VI alongside Health Boost: Mk V, and perhaps a Forcefield: Mk VI. Remember there is no need whatsoever to worry about anyone not in the main party – you’ll only ever need enough spares for two party members.
Plug-Ins to avoid
It’s all a matter of opinion, but there are a few plug-ins that I don’t consider worth the slot. Brain Drive Acceleration sounds good in theory as Brain Drive is such an excellent tool, but the 5% bonus is not enough to justify. Likewise, the Double Edged Sword plug-in drops your defence and is a steep price to pay for the extra power. This can be used if you aren’t getting hit very much, but there are safer ways to increase power, albeit not quite as much.
I personally find Special Bonus Contract – a DLC plug-in giving a 5% EXP and money boost – another one that sounds better than it actually is. Even if you equip it for the whole game, the increased EXP thresholds mean you might only be one or two levels better off by the final boss. Money is barely required during Scarlet Nexus since most necessary items can be acquired in the Exchange section.
- If you have the DLC plug-ins, equip SAS Application Assist, Increased Survival Rate and Specialise Crush.
- If you do not have the DLC package, go with Specialise Crush, Power Enhance: Mk VI and Health Boost: Mk VI (or whatever is the best available), but possibly swap one of the latter for Body Enhance.
- Fit your teammates with stacked Health Boost and Forcefield plug-ins. Two of one, one of the other.
That’s everything you need to achieve a set-up that makes your platoon formidable.
For some more Scarlet Nexus tips covering combat as well as some general advice, check out the article below: