Scarlet Nexus was an exciting title from Bandai Namco, which established an intriguing world and some great characters. It’s clear the Tales series creators have high hopes for this new IP, which had an anime series released concurrently.
The ending of Scarlet Nexus leaves the door wide open for a sequel, and its sales performance will surely be the decisive factor. I personally hope it won’t be the last we see of Yuito, Kasane and company, and I’m quietly confident there’ll be more to come in future.
With a few SPOILERS from the original, here are some of our hopes for a Scarlet Nexus sequel.
- RELATED: Scarlet Nexus Review
A more coherent plot
Now, I’m not saying I disliked the dual narrative, or even that they should avoid this next time around. I liked the story overall, but a reasonably common criticism of Scarlet Nexus was that the differing plots didn’t mesh together seamlessly.
As I said in my review, Bandai Namco tried to have their cake and eat it by leaving out many events on each side, before ultimately trying to explain it all within a single playthrough anyway. It ended up a tad disjointed, requiring lots of exposition to fill in the blanks from whoever’s route you didn’t pick.
Furthermore, the amount of general world-building left some of the plot twists falling flat. For example, the revelation that humans actually came from the moon having fled Earth beforehand didn’t really land. The problem here is that the lore wasn’t well enough established. The details of the Extinction Belt, Yakumo Sumeragi and the Spring of Extinction had only been given to us in exposition dumps themselves, so it hardly blew my mind when further information was revealed.
The world is hopefully set up enough that the latter won’t be as much of an issue again, but I still think the Scarlet Nexus sequel should make a choice. Either keep its two narratives closer together, like Tales of Xillia, or demand that they are both played for the story to make sense, like a NieR game.
With the multitude of powers available to each platoon, I considered it a huge missed opportunity that Scarlet Nexus didn’t test us with some stimulating puzzles within its dungeons.
Simply teleporting through a door or blasting its panel with electricity was so basic that these obstacles barely needed to be there. Psychokinesis couldn’t help remind me of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s magnesis power, which was often used to great effect. I kept hoping I’d be required to put a bridge in place with psychokinesis and run across it with hypervelocity before it fell, or something along those lines.
Scarlet Nexus is an RPG focused wholeheartedly on its brilliant action combat but mixing up the dungeons with some mental tests – requiring a different kind of brain power – would have been great. I hope the Scarlet Nexus sequel inserts some of these.
One of the low points of Scarlet Nexus was its sidequests. These could barely have been more mundane if they tried. There was nothing to invest in; just bog-standard requests to acquire a certain number of items or defeat a certain number of enemies in a particular way.
These are becoming a real annoyance of mine within the genre, with lacklustre content added simply to pad out the game without adding any fun. At least in other RPGs, tedious sidequests often have some character interaction and dialogue that gives you a little something back. Scarlet Nexus didn’t have anything going for it – meagre rewards and monotonous tasks.
The Scarlet Nexus sequel should cut these altogether, or add some worthwhile narrative to them. It could be a good place to throw in some puzzles if Bandai Namco would rather keep the main dungeons focused on doing battle. Otherwise, I’d rather see these replaced altogether with more playable bonding sections.
This one’s obvious, but any Scarlet Nexus sequel will need to keep things fresh with some novel powers. There was already a good selection of SAS abilities to share, but a few more couldn’t hurt.
Naomi’s precognition sounded interesting, which could have operated somewhat similarly to the Monado in Xenoblade Chronicles. Nagi’s aerokinesis would have also been pretty fun, and we know in the world of Scarlet Nexus different people can end up with the same powers, so there’s hope we could utilise these the next time around.
Let’s face it, the possibilities are endless – hydrokinesis, enemy manipulation, frickin’ laser beams. My preference is to keep some familiar powers like hypervelocity, duplication and psychokinesis alongside some new ideas.
Controlling other party members
I’m actually torn on this one, as it was pleasantly simplistic to only worry about controlling one character at a time, especially since all powers in the party could be used by your chosen protagonist via SAS.
Saying that, in Tales games I rarely end up controlling anyone other than the main character, so this is always an option for players who like to specialise. For the rest, having an opportunity to try out different characters with other playstyles would likely be very welcome. SAS powers could still be shared, but the extra work for the developers may put them off.
This could naturally open up the possibility of local or even online multiplayer, which would be a fun feature to add.
My first gripe is probably linked to the dual narratives again, but the bonding episodes often came at weird times for characters on the opposite platoon. Yuito and Kasane are fighting to the death one minute, but the next they are sitting down for a nice cup of tea with their opponents, barely mentioning a word of the fierce battle they literally just fought.
Obviously the idea was to keep all characters involved – and I’m sure most people expected both platoons to join together later on anyway, but it was jarring and unrealistic. If another protagonist choice is given in the Scarlet Nexus sequel, more care will be needed to stop these inconsistencies.
Further, a gauge to determine how close you are to the next bond level would have been appreciated. I can’t have been the only one who stocked up on gifts to avoid adding yet another step to the monotonous gifting process by returning to the shop, only to end up with a load of them I didn’t need.
Speaking of gifts – my word. Who came up with the gift-giving mechanics?
Talk to a character, select one gift, watch the gift appear, listen to them generically thank you, and repeat again and again. Why couldn’t you simply give multiple gifts in one go? Or even just give them in the menu without having to talk to them repeatedly since sometimes they moved elsewhere in between gifts!
Rant over – this one is incredibly simple but really got to me. Surely this can be sorted out.
A more adventurous soundtrack
The soundtrack of Scarlet Nexus was pretty promising, but never quite delivered on its potential. The futurebeats of Suoh were neat, and I loved the Mizuhagawa Construction Site and Hieno Mountain themes.
Overall, I just don’t think it took quite enough risks. The battle music was forgettable, and it was only really the final boss music that caused some hairs to stand on end during combat (the final phase is awesome).
We’ve been pretty spoiled with some of the all-time best RPG soundtracks in the last few years – the likes of the NieR titles, Persona 5 Royal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Octopath Traveler. Maybe their comparison has me expecting too much, but I’m hoping there’s a little bit more energy added in the sequel. I’m not opposed to the odd Persona-esque vocal track either.
After blasting through Scarlet Nexus twice, I was disappointed to note the lack of a post-game dungeon. In fact, the post-game content in general was basically non-existent, with just a few more boring sidequests which had no meaningful reward.
After a playthrough with each protagonist, I felt unbeatable. Each SAS power was burnt into my muscle memory, and I effortlessly destroyed every enemy in the final dungeon whilst barely taking a hit. I’ll admit I played on normal difficulty, and could have gone again on hard mode, but after two playthroughs this just wasn’t appealing.
What I really craved was a brand new post-game dungeon, complete with a challenging boss battle that really tested my mastery of the battle system. It didn’t have to be anything complex. A gauntlet of tough battles followed by a colossal Other would have done the trick.
Quality of life tweaks
The Scarlet Nexus interface was pretty smooth (except for the damn gift-giving. Arrgh!), but there are a few small quality of life tweaks I’d like to see.
Firstly, SAS Concurrent Activation sometimes left it uncertain which power would be deactivated. This was particularly prevalent when 4 powers were in use, and you’d toggled to the other SAS menu. Some sort of small display to show which power would be deactivated next would have helped.
The fact that the final party had 9 powers for 8 slots was mildly frustrating. Could dual-psychokinesis have been activated with a different button without taking a slot, since we were constantly using psychokinesis anyway? Otherwise the flow of Scarlet Nexus was superb, and it was great to battle with barely any need to access the menu.
Last but not least, a minor quibble about the lock-on. It felt a bit unnatural to use the same button as the SAS switch and could have been changed up – perhaps a quick-tap of R3 or L3 on Playstation.
None of these are really deal-breakers and I’m probably being pedantic. If we do get the sequel, I’ll be happy enough to forgive Bandai Namco for not heeding my requests.
Is there anything else that should be included in the Scarlet Nexus sequel? Comment below.
If the somewhat confusing plot and ending left you scratching your head, there’s a full summary of it here: