Reviewing Scarlet Nexus has been a challenge. One of the most awaited games of the year, this one was supposed to compete with the now delayed Ghostwire Tokyo and suddenly Scarlet Nexus has the entire market to its own. An ambitious project, Scarlet Nexus tries to accomplish a lot in both terms of storytelling and the RPG genre. However, it doesn’t stop there as its developer Bandai Namco also added a weekly Anime series into the mix.
How does a reviewer review such a combination, do we finish the game and then watch the anime? Or finish watching the series and then dive into the game? I decided to do neither as I played the game just enough each week to make sure I had played what was coming up in the next episode. The challenge was real as Scarlet Nexus is quite a fun game and the plot has several mysteries that gnaw at you and encourage you to keep playing. Persevering though is part of the job description, I guess?
As a game, Scarlet Nexus is an RPG with both action and mana elements. The action is swordplay or knifework depending on the character you choose (Yuito or Kasane) and the mana are special powers that are unique to each character. The choice of the protagonists is not just a basic gender swap but the story here changes entirely as each character has a unique backstory.
In the nation of New Himuka, where Scarlet Nexus is set, YuitoSumeragi is part of the most noble of families and Kasane Randal is an adopted daughter of one of the biggest business families while the former is treated like a prince the latter is unwelcome in most settings. However, the two do have the same special abilities.
The extremely strong narrative is Scarlet Nexus’ backbone as this game is gripping, the combat is fluid and varied as it allows you to combine powers with others on your team to devastating effects. As you fight aliens called ‘others’ and people you thought were on your own side, you dabble with the very red strings of fate that are unique to Japanese culture. Scarlet Nexus has everything from complex space and time anomalies to blackholes that can destroy the world, and it is set in a complex world where braintalk (telepathic conversations) and big brother like gigantic propaganda screens are the norm. This is an illusory techno utopia fuelled by both fantasy and Japanese culture that you need to right. Give it a try if stories like the Matrix and Blade Runner interest you. I definitely enjoyed it every bit.
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