Scarlet Nexus | We tried Bandai Namco's new Action RPG

Scarlet Nexus | We tried Bandai Namco's new Action RPG

We had the opportunity to try Scarlet Nexus for a few hours, the new action RPG developed by Bandai Namco Studios and, without too many words, we can claim to have found it damn intriguing in many ways. Our test took place on a practically definitive version of the game and which allowed us to choose which of the two protagonists, Yuito Sumeragi or Kasane Randall, to play the first three acts of Scarlet Nexus.

The new work by Keita Iizuka and Kenji Anabuki, both already known for having worked on the iconic Tales series, takes shape in the futuristic New Himuka, in a future where humanity has begun to study and exploit substances present in the human brain to develop extrasensory powers. The Other Suppression Force, a team of soldiers chosen by supernatural powers, is in charge of recruiting, and training, subjects who show affinity with this type of powers, engaging the SAS within them to fully unlock their potential. The ultimate purpose is to defend humanity from the fearsome Others, fearsome creatures that threaten humanity.

In our test we have chosen to undertake the path of Yuito, postponing the analysis of the differences, and connections, between the boy's story and that of the mysterious Kasane. Scarlet Nexus begins with the preliminary test carried out by OSF on new candidates, grafting the SAS into their body to unlock their real potential in compatible subjects. As expected, Yuito survives the test, acquiring psychokinetic powers that allow him to control objects with his mind.

Without going too far on the plot, the first chapters act as a great tutorial not only to introduce the player to the basic mechanics of Scarlet Nexus but above all to tell through dialogues, and text messages, the background of the protagonist, of the various supporting actors that he will meet and of the game world. Although, as per tradition, the dialogues between the characters turned out to be verbose and dilated, we appreciated their ability to always provide interesting information in order to learn more about the various aspects of the story, managing to return different forms of empathy towards the various characters from the early stages of the game.

In terms of gameplay, Scarlet Nexus proved to be really convincing, showing us in a few hours a potential that we hope will remain, and be consolidated, in the final version of the game. The protagonist, together with any partners in case a party of several characters has been formed, will be able to move freely within the various macro-areas, opting to head quickly towards the main goal or choosing to get lost in the exploration of the various locations, buying and selling objects, chatting with the inhabitants and discovering further aspects of the game universe.

The freedom offered by the game in these situations is not comparable to that of an Open World but perfectly returns the typical feelings of the JRPG from the beginning of the millennium, with large maps full of elements to interact with.

The combat system, on the other hand, undoubtedly proved to be the most interesting aspect of our test. An easy system to learn but complex to master which, in some ways, recalls what was seen in the recent drift undertaken by the Final Fantasy series. The two protagonists of Scarlet Nexus will have at their disposal the classic range of skills composed of attacks of different power, dodging and jumping, all in the pay of creating the most varied and effective combos.

The distinctive element, however , arises from the possibility of exploiting the telekinetic powers of the protagonists who, thanks to a reasoned charging system, graft a whole series of really interesting strategic components into the combat system. Hitting an enemy with melee attacks, in fact, will constantly charge a purple bar, which will allow you to exploit the powers of Yuito and Kasane, to hurl the objects in the game areas at the enemies.

This action will not only inflict considerable damage on enemies but will allow you to immediately distance yourself from your opponents by adding a defensive element that should not be underestimated. In addition to being able to hurl almost all the objects present in the game areas at the opponents, it will be possible to interact with particular elements, generally heavier, which will trigger a short quick time event which, if completed in a positive way, will allow to inflict a large amount of damage to enemies.

Finally, depending on the characters that will make up the party, it will be possible to absorb part of their powers to modify the element of Yuito and Kasane's attacks, being able to exponentially expand the strategic component of every clash that will be faced. It goes without saying that when you begin to master all the components of the Scarlet Nexus combat system, the clashes will become a riot of dynamism and strategy where the player will be asked to constantly alternate melee and ranged attacks, borrowing the right powers from allies to exploit the weak points of the opponents and dominate the clashes.

The boss battle that we were able to face at the end of the first chapter was a clear example: a creature of decidedly imposing dimensions that, being weak to fire, required us to take advantage of the melee attacks imbued with the power of our ally to counter his constant offensives waiting to be able to hurl pipes suspended on the beams of the construction site where the battle was taking place at him. The dynamics of the clash have always turned out to be tight but they forced us to think quickly about what to do as throwing head down against the creature would simply lead us to a quick death.

In Scarlet Nexus there are obviously all those elements suitable for managing the various characters, typical of the RPG genre. A skill tree, renamed for the occasion Brain Map, will allow you to spend the skill points obtained by leveling up, to enhance physical attacks, telekinetics and the statistics of our character, opting to maximize the style of play closest to the player's needs .

Having tried Scarlet Nexus in streaming, we do not have enough elements available to tell you in detail about the technical sector of the game. The artistic sector of the new Bandai Namco production, however, entranced us with a mix of different styles that immediately brought to mind the atmosphere of the never too praised Astral Chain.

Urban architectures are mixed with a plethora of technological elements which, through the diffusion of luminous holograms, work to direct traffic, show commercial activities and provide indications to the player on where he can or cannot go, while the natural areas mix traditional Japanese landscapes with small futuristic elements. The final result, so far, has proved to be inspired and captivating and we hope it will be able to surprise constantly for the duration of the adventure.

The characters are well characterized, animated in a convincing way and permeated by the same style that distinguishes the architecture of Scarlet Nexus, with clothes that mix traditional kimonos with modern elements based on technological grafts and metallic materials. Finally, the enemies seemed intriguing in the forms and disturbing enough to remind us of the creatures that populated the first chapters of the Devil May Cry series. To tell you that we found it grotesque to face a vase of flowers, about two meters long, marching towards us through the sinuous women's legs that fit high-heeled shoes, I think it is enough to give you an idea of ​​where the designers have gone behind. Scarlet Nexus.

Ultimately Scarlet Nexus left us some very good impressions. While not inventing anything new, the new Bandai Namco production manages to mix winning elements taken from different genres, amalgamating them with a story that, in its early stages, made us want to want more. Obviously it is still early to launch into hasty judgments but if you too have been intrigued by our preview, we recommend you try the demo that Bandai Namco will make available for Xbox Series X, and Series S, starting from 21 May 2021 and for PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, starting May 28, 2021.

You can pre-order your copy of Scarlet Nexus directly here.

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