Enter the alternate distant future of Scarlet Nexus, where deranged creatures craving human brains known as the Others fall from the sky and the only thing standing between them and humanity’s extinction, are those with extrasensory superpowers.
Scarlet Nexus is a ‘Brain Punk’ action role-playing game that features a dual narrative that revolves around its two protagonists, Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall. Recruited into the Other Suppression Force (OSF), they are humanity’s last line of defense against the Others. We take on the role of either protagonist, diving deep into an adventure that revolves around the evolution of the human brain, we slowly discover intertwining mysteries that beset this cyberpunk universe – thus brain punk.
An extremely story-driven game, Scarlet Nexus features an immersive narrative and fun character cutscenes that we thoroughly enjoyed during our hands-on preview. Set in New Himuka, a futuristic Japanese landscape fused with cyber-punk and science fiction influences, the dystopian world is filled with hologram displays, flying drones and a brain-connected network that offers a stunning visual experience and unique take on its world.
As we took on the role of Kasane Randall, we met several characters along the way besides our sister Naomi Randall such as Kyoka Eden, Shiden Ritter, Tsugumi Nazar, and Hanabi Ichijo who are all part of the OSF and party you travel with. These distinctive characters, while non-playable, lets players interact, bond and bring around your adventures.
The game isn’t open-world per se, but it lets you travel around its limited areas to talk to NPCs, immerse in its environment, find items and grind monsters if you’re that kind of player.
Throughout the game, there’ll be standby phases where the main story stops progressing so you can interact with your allies triggering bonding events that you can participate in to discover interesting side stories and advance your relationships.
The options to bond with these characters will not only improve your relationships but it’ll also better the powers that you borrow from them during fights. Taking up to two teammates when you travel, these allies support your fights with their unique abilities such as pyrokinesis, teleportation, clairvoyance and duplication.
Mixing these characters and their abilities will play an important role in finding the best combinations for certain bosses or situations, having someone with pyrokinesis will imbue lots of fire damage to your normal attacks and burn your enemies.
The fights in the game are visually extensive and thoroughly enjoyable. With aerial combos, ally supports and psycho-kinetic abilities that allow you to move your environment around to crush our enemies, the game adds way more depth into what would usually fall into a hack-and-slash or button-mashing kind of gameplay.
The overall mechanics of the game isn’t complicated nor complex but still gives players a challenge when it comes to bosses and tougher opponents. The immersive environment and fights are probably what sets the game apart from the other JRPG titles Bandai Namco has previously released such as Code Vein.
As you level up, you’ll receive Brain Points which you can allocate to unlock new abilities, actions and improve your powers. Besides that, progressing into the game will also let you purchase, unlock and discover items such as weapons, consumables and even cosmetics.
The game itself works with a keyboard and mouse, but it didn’t offer the best user experience so we went with the controller instead and felt that it was more optimized so we reckon you should have a compatible one ready if you’re intending to play on Windows.
Scarlet Nexus puts forward a fresh look into a futuristic and dystopian world of Japan that combines immersive gameplay and an interesting storyline. So far, it has the potential to be one of the most compelling JRPG narratives and we cannot wait to see more updates from the Bandai Namco.
The Demo Edition for Scarlet Nexus has also been announced for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One on 21 May and PlayStation 4 & 5 on 28 May, so if you’re dying to try out the brain punk JRPG, put those dates into your calendar immediately because save data created from the demo will unlock several cosmetic attachments and wearable plug-ins in the full release of the game.
If that’s not exciting enough, an animation adaption by Sunrise is also being currently being developed and will premiere in July 2021.
Scarlet Nexus is available for pre-order now and releases on 25 June 2021 on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X|S & One, and Windows PC.