Scarlet Nexus is another JRPG that leans heavily into relationship mechanics. These are known as bond levels, which are crucial for unlocking everything Scarlet Nexus has to offer. They may not be as deep as those found within the likes of the Persona series, but should not be neglected if you wish to experience the game’s full content and some of the best skills.
Here’s a full guide of everything you need to know to max all Scarlet Nexus bond levels.
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How do you increase bond levels?
Bond levels are boosted in three main ways:
- Bond episodes – these become available early in the game, and new ones appear in each standby phase. Generally there are around 3 or 4 bond episodes per standby phase, and are denoted by a pink icon when approaching a character in the hideout. Alternatively, they can be started via Brain Messages, by replying to a message that has the pink bond icon next to it. These considerably increase your bond, though a bond episode alone is not quite enough to raise a full bond level alone.
- Gifts – best obtained in the Exchange section of the shop, but can sometimes be found or rewarded for completing quests. Whilst selecting the gifts, any characters willing to accept it will be lit up. A tick indicates the gift has already been given, and a heart indicates they particularly like the gift – a red heart shows they loved it, so these gifts increase bonds even further. Simply talk to a character in the hideout at any point and select the Gifts option.
- Put a character in the active party – there are two slots for active party members to fill, and those battling alongside the protagonist will edge their bond closer to the next level.
If your bond increases following a gift or a bond episode, it will automatically trigger a brief dialogue exchange and a bond level up. If it’s ready to level up after spending time in the party, this will happen automatically the next time you speak to them in the hideout – they’ll have a pink icon above them even if no bond episode is available.
Is it worth maxing all Scarlet Nexus bond levels?
All individual bond levels with other party members are definitely worth maxing. The SAS abilities will power up with each level, eventually leading to some awesome rewards that are well worth the effort. These include powerful attacks called Combo Visions and Assault Visions, the chance for a character to appear and block an attack, increased period of SAS activation, and several other bespoke skills that are individual to the character in question.
Not only that, but the actual bond episodes themselves are a great opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the characters. I generally found everyone had a strong relationship arc on at least one side or the other. For instance, Kyoka and Arashi’s arcs were far more interesting on Kasane’s route, whilst I found Gemma and Hanabi better on Yuito’s side. Others simply work excellently together, like Tsugumi and Luka.
You’ll also spruce up the hideout, as every new gift given to a party member will be added to their individual area. By the end of the game, the hideout is positively brimming with plant pots, gym gear, guitars and pictures. If you are playing as Yuito, he’ll get a different Baki doll from every individual party member at level 6. Kasane will receive a bespoke decoration from everyone, and these gifts are placed on the mantlepiece.
How many gifts does it take to increase bond levels?
Whatever happens, you’ll probably need to stand there relentlessly showering your teammates with gifts in order to reach the maximum bond levels. Unfortunately, there is no way to give multiple gifts in one go, which I consider the most infuriating and incomprehensible mechanic in the game.
This question doesn’t have a specific answer because it also depends how much the characters have been in your party. However, as a rule of thumb, you need at least ten red-heart gifts to increase a fresh bond level to the next one. If there is a bond episode in between, this will be far quicker, but it’s a tedious process. Keep giving those gifts, and you’ll get there eventually.
When it comes to obtaining gifts in the Exchange section, be smart with your resources. If you are running low on the materials for red-heart gifts but are inundated with materials for yellow-heart gifts, you may be better served grabbing a load of these rather than running out of items you may need later.
How do you check your current bond status?
In the SAS section of the menu, you can select each character and check what level your bond has reached, along with a summary of the abilities you’ve earned. You can also look ahead to the next abilities that’ll be unlocked in the future with further bond levels. The characters actually have a number next to them in the Party section as well, which quickly provides the current bond level.
Unfortunately, there is no way to check how close you are to the next bond level. This is pretty frustrating, as you could end up like me – stockpiling on gifts to save time revisiting the shop, and then ending up with a bunch you don’t need. A progress bar would have been very welcome here.
How do you increase Team Bond Level?
Team bond levels are a strange one, as they don’t always seem to follow conventional rules and I’ve seen many people insist this is glitched. In brief, these simply level up by giving gifts and boosting individual bond levels. It doesn’t exactly take a linear, gradual path – you can get stuck on level 2 for ages, and then suddenly jump quickly to level 4 when you give a few gifts to characters who haven’t received them before. The gifts with red hearts will increase Team Bond Level far quicker but ultimately, just like individual levels you should just focus on giving as many unique gifts as you can.
The maximum Team Bond Level is level 6. To achieve this, you’ll need to do the following:
- Give every character every unique gift at least once. If there are any gifts in the Exchange section during Standby Phase 11 which don’t have a tick next to them, then you’ll need to acquire it and give it to whoever is lit up but hasn’t had the gift yet
- Maximise everyone’s individual bond at level 6
- View every single bond episode – obviously the quickest way of increasing individual bonds is to do this anyway, but it’s technically possible to level up without them, so make sure you’ve done them all
Why isn’t Team Bond Level increasing?
If you are stuck on level 4 despite having everyone individually on bond level 6, this is likely due to gifts – you must give every gift to everyone who is eligible for the gift, including both Plug-In Parallelization Programs. Many other gifts can be given to multiple people, so make sure you give them to everyone and not just the person who likes the gift the most.
What are the rewards for increasing the Team Bond level?
There are some tangible rewards as well as some passive automatic ones. A higher team bond level increases the rates of Guardian Vision, Assault Vision, and revivals, which are all pretty handy in battle.
As for the more specific prizes, the fairly paltry rewards for reaching each level are as follows:
Level 1 – Nothing (automatic)
Level 2 – Nothing
Level 3 – White costumes for your platoon
Level 4 – A team bond episode is unlocked – speak to any team member to start it
Level 5 – White costumes for the platoon of the protagonist you didn’t pick
Level 6 – A Group Photo is added above the mantlepiece
Are the bond episodes different on each route?
Yes. Every party member has bond episodes regardless of which route you picked, but the events themselves are completely different on each side. The only relationship arc that has direct overlap is Yuito and Kasane’s, which is largely the same regardless of which character you are controlling. However, the opposite relationship is still worth completing on a second playthrough as there are a few minor differences.
Do Scarlet Nexus bond levels have romance?
I won’t go into too much detail here. I’ll just say that whilst there are some clear romantic references, there is nothing explicit within the bond episodes.
If you’re looking for RPGs with some more overt romance, check out the article below for some of the best examples within the genre.
How many bond episodes are there?
Each party member has four or five bond episodes, depending on which protagonist was chosen. Your protagonist’s own platoon will have five episodes each, and the other platoon will have four each with the exception of the other protagonist who also has five. Overall, each route has a total of 41 bond episodes. Here’s a summary of the bond episodes for each party member, as well as the point each episode becomes available.
The following characters have five bond episodes:
Kasane – Available in the following standby phases: 1, 5, 9, 10, 11
Hanabi – Available in the following standby phases: 1, 3, 7, 9, 11
Gemma – Available in the following standby phases: 4, 5, 7, 9, 11
Luka – Available in the following standby phases: 5, 7, 8, 10, 11
Tsugumi – Available in the following standby phases: 2, 4, 7, 8, 10
The following characters have four bond episodes:
Kagero – Available in the following standby phases: 5, 8, 10, 11
Kyoka – Available in the following standby phases: 4, 7, 10, 11
Arashi – Available in the following standby phases: 2, 6, 7, 10
Shiden – Available in the following standby phases: 4, 7, 10, 11
The following characters have five bond episodes:
Yuito – Available in the following standby phases: 1, 5, 9, 10, 11
Arashi – Available in the following standby phases: 4, 6, 8, 10,11
Shiden – Available in the following standby phases: 2, 5, 7, 9, 10
Kyoka – Available in the following standby phases: 1, 4, 7, 10, 11
Kagero – Available in the following standby phases: 5, 6, 8, 9, 11
The following characters have four bond episodes:
Gemma – Available in the following standby phases: 4, 6, 8, 10
Hanabi – Available in the following standby phases: 2, 5, 9, 10
Tsugumi – Available in the following standby phases: 2, 7, 8, 11
Luka – Available in the following standby phases: 5, 7, 9, 11
Are bond episodes missable?
No. It’s recommended you simply complete them as soon as they become available in the relevant standby phase, but if some of them pass you by, they can be completed later on. The earlier the bond levels are increased, the earlier you’ll have access to some great powers.
How many team bond episodes are there?
There are only three team bond episodes, and it’s only possible to see two of them in a single playthrough. One will be available at team bond level 4 involving the platoon of the protagonist you chose, and the other is a joint-platoon episode fairly late in the game. If you want to see the team bond episode for the other platoon, you’ll need a second playthrough with the other protagonist (recommended anyway). Or there’s always Youtube.
That’s everything you need to max all Scarlet Nexus bond levels. If the endless gift-giving is driving you crazy, then rest assured you aren’t alone. But apparently, receiving the exact same corkboard over and over is enough to make a true friendship blossom, so just keep going.
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