Analysis Scarlet Nexus

Bandai Namco Studios’ action RPG has captured us for its plot, for an original combat system and for being a true visual delight.

When you finish Scarlet Nexus and see the extensive credits (not so extensive, yes, like some AAAA productions that we have seen in recent years of mainly North American studios) it is clear that the work of Bandai Namco Studios , although somewhat off-center, it is ambitious. It is intended to be born as a transmedia intellectual property , accompanied by an animation series that will premiere on July 1. This ambition can be seen above all in the visual section of an action adventure with RPG touches that is very focused on the narrative that is strongly committed to spectacularity , but also in some good mechanics and in a plot with elements of thescience fiction and cyberpunk that catches you until the aforementioned credits appear.

Video analysis

A story loaded with gimmicky blows

The world that arises is very interesting for any fan of science fiction. In the future, what remains of humanity lives secluded in large cities under the threat of the Alters , strange creatures from the sky that feed on human brains. To combat them there are the FSA (Forces of Suppression of Alter) , an army made up of people with even more intense powers than those of the rest of the population. However, those powers fade with aging, so the government supplies soldiers with anti-aging medicines: even though some psionics may look like children, they may have decades behind them.

The parallel and intertwined stories of Yuito and Kasana allow us to learn about story events not explained in the other campaign and learn more about the world.

The players put themselves in the shoes of Yuito or Kasane , two protagonists with different backgrounds and parallel stories who have psychokinetic powers and who will be accompanied by other members of the FSA in their plots. In this context, a highly inspired plot is proposed, in its themes and / or in its structure, by popular works of science fiction and cyberpunk and by manganimes such as Attack on Titan . All this with an unmistakable shonen touch ; there will be those who will throw back the over-explanation, the exaggerated performances and the characters, in principle, anchored to tropes that are clearly identified.


The story itself can be called crazy. The amount of script twists are out of hand, some of them being effective and others a bit over the top, but they do their job: keeping you glued to the screen. It is a plot that does not stop releasing interesting themes that reflect the world in which we live (government surveillance, censorship, discrimination, treatment of the aging population, freedom) and others typical of shonen (friendship, camaraderie , responsibility) that are treated with disparate effectiveness. The argument does not stop opening new doors, new conflicts, without closing the previous ones, but as we move towards the end they are closed in a satisfactory way, as if a complex puzzle was solved, ending the feeling of not having a clue of what is happening.

As important as these general themes is the development of the characters themselves , more of the squad mates who accompany us in the adventure than of Yuito and Kasane themselves. That’s where bonding episodes come in . The structure of the game is linear : between each chapter of the story there is a rest phase where we can chat with the rest of the squad in the lair. When you give them gifts (think of a system in between that seen in Persona 5 and that of Fire Emblem: Three Houses ), their affinity level with the protagonist increases, and little by little those bond episodes are unlocked. Most take place in non-playable scenesOthers have sections where we go back to levels that we have explored in the main plot, and in all of them we are allowed to get to know these allies little by little , explain their behaviors and learn more details about a very well drawn world .

The bond episodes delve into each of the characters that accompany us on missions and are necessary to take advantage of their powers in battles.

As we said, the plots of Yuito and Kasane are parallel, although intertwined , and you can play the one that the player wants first. In their campaigns, shared events are seen from different points of view, there are phases that are only in one of the two and different colleagues are known . While it is true that most of the levels are the same with slight variations, to understand the details of the story you have to play both. And despite the repetition of phases , it does not become repetitive for two reasons. The first, that delving into other parts of the argument is of sufficient interest to replay the title. The second, that at the end of the first campaign (we took about 25 hours) we unlock a New Game + that allows us to start the second with the level and objects acquired, making the first bars of the title a walk.

If we have dedicated so much space from the analysis to the story, it is because it is the most important thing in the game . Yes, there is combat and there are some decaf touches of RPG customization, but the adventure is based on its history. A good part of the almost 40 hours that you will spend in front of the screen will be watching scenes. Presumably the decision is due to budget constraints, but in most of the set they are not traditional film scenes , but are presented as vignettes with slight movements that, although they look very good, there will be someone who can. make too static and long.

Although there are some cinematic scenes, most of the scenes are developed as moving vignettes, yes, with a lot of style.

A very colorful combat that is opening little by little

The Scarlet Nexus combat begins as a somewhat soulless hack ‘n’ slash to become an action RPG that in the last bars takes advantage of the multiple systems of the game very well. Fighting with Yuito or Katane is very similar since both have psychokinetic powers: while the first has a katana, the second uses flying knives; the boy is more forceful and the girl can attack from a distance. But the weapon is not the protagonist, but a complement to a combat focused on throwing the objects on the stage(garbage cans, cars, streetlights …) to the enemies to break their resistance bar and be able to execute them with a single blow. The combos with the weapons are few, but they serve to optimize, more than the damage, the rate at which the bar recharges that allows us to use the powers.

The system, very simple at the beginning, is deepened from three different areas. The first, the skill tree , in which we are unlocking basic movements such as dodging, the use of moving objects and more forceful blows, but also skills that lengthen the duration of the turbo state in which we enter after spending a certain time and the use of magic of several allies at the same time. The latter is the second area that expands combat. The allies that accompany us on missions temporarily lend us their powers , as varied as invisibility, pyrokinesis, teleportationor hyper speed, to name a few; The more we improve the bond with those companions, the more they will help us in combat, being able to make them save us from blows and make powerful attacks. The artificial intelligence is decent without more, but you can customize its behavior in battle from the menu.

The intelligent use of the powers of the companions will give us a lot of advantage in combat.

The third area in which the combat is deepening is in the design of the enemies themselves. The first third of the game presents us with very basic Alters, but little by little more types are added , such as those that throw water or oil to slow us down, those that hide when we approach, those with hard armor, those that perform powerful sweeps that exist. to dodge at the right time (or avoided powers) … in the last hours of the game these enemies are mixed in battles so that we must pay close attention to what is given priority, the magics of the allies ( different depending on which protagonist we play with) that we use against them and at what moment, to the use of altered states(like throwing barrels of water at an adversary to then electrocute him) and to measure well when to use the empowerment of the protagonists’ powers .

Using the Dualsense on PS5

The use of DualSense in ‘Scarlet Nexus’ is far from testimonial, but useful. The haptic response is used as a substitute for vibration, there is not much detail there and there is some ‘bug’ that has left us the controller vibrating during a long cinematic. The important thing is the adaptive triggers, which with their resistance tell us when we can use psychokinetic powers to launch the items on the stage and make executions.

In short, that despite some final bosses that lower a bar that in itself is not very high and some camera problems that have played us the odd trick, the mix of hack ‘n’ slash with Scarlet magic Nexus works, it is very fun as well as accessible , and above all, it is pure spectacle.

A game with a lot of style

If something comes to mind when trying to define the artistic section of Scarlet Nexus, it is “stylish” . It is a game that visually has a lot of personality: in the design of the cities (small and rigid, yes) full of details and neons, of a good part of the very original enemies where monstrous parts are mixed with everyday objects, of the costumes of the characters … All with very spectacular animations , especially in combat. Of course, the phases where the missions take place, although they offer beautiful places, are very empty and are extremely linear (think of the reactors of Final Fantasy 7 Remakeand you will get an idea). All this, in the new generation consoles, it moves at a very stable 60 frames per second that help to give a dizzying feeling to the fighting, but that are not essential to enjoy the experience. It is not a next gen title , but there are reflections, particles and other effects on those consoles that give a lot of flavor to the whole.

The soundtrack is very varied, going from jazz to more sugary melodies, going through lo-fi hip hop and cyberpunk melodies . There are not many songs that immediately capture our attention, but there are several that sound very original to us . On the other hand, both the English dubbing (in which we have played most of the time) and the Japanese are at a very good level except for some somewhat exaggerated performance, and the Spanish translation is more than correct.

The cities are full of details and characters, although they are very rigid: the inhabitants stay still and there is nothing that breathes life into them.


Scarlet Nexus will be criticized to be a game efectista in several respects: the plot full of twists very sudden dash in a bout that videos more complex looks of what is , in a visual section that inevitably draws attention without be no technical boast. It can also be singled out for an abundance of systems that don’t do much : we would have preferred the cinematics to be more elaborate than the ability to customize characters with add-ons, the inclusion of secondary “missions” that are more like combat challenges or a equipment system that does not give much choice. But that same effectism is what sustains it, the one that makes you able to look over certain situations of the plot, of wasted elements of combat, very basic RPG systems and a level design that seems from another generation. You are constantly aware of all these failures, but the effect takes effect and leaves you glued to the screen until you see the credits. Maybe even a second time.


by Abdullah Sam
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