Let’s be real. Red Nexus don’t have the best marketing campaign yet. Did you know that it will be out this week? Exactly on Friday. Unless you have a Google calendar alert or an Amazon delivery notification, chances are you’ve one hundred percent forgotten about it. The box art isn’t very interesting; it’s kind of drab, doesn’t scream Japanese RPG, and your eyes kind of ignore it. But if you look past that and pick up a copy, you’ll find yourself totally delighted. My goal is to keep this review as free of spoilers as possible, so here goes.
Scarlet Nexus Review – Belt of Extinction
In 2020, humanity is shutting itself in cities filled with makeshift shelters. A supernatural entity called Other is worthy of a mysterious red mist in the sky known as the Extinction Belt, with the intent to eat human brains. The government’s Other Oppression Forces Division (OSF) recruits those with special abilities to keep citizens safe and combat threats. Player will choose to start Red Nexus with Yuito or Kasane, then replay the story from another character’s point of view after the first game is over. For the purposes of this review, it should be noted that I chose Kasane Randall, the adopted daughter of the powerful Randall family who joined OSF with her older sister Naomi.
Kasane immediately realized that something was wrong with Suoh. There’s an internal struggle going on, a sketchy back alley deal, and a life-changing event that might destroy it. As he begins to discover the truth, Kasane and members of his platoon cross paths with Yuito and his group on several occasions, not always pleasantly. There are plot twists and turns that are only fully appreciated in your second playthrough where the player can connect each of the red strings itself.
The traditional cutscenes that JRPG fans expect don’t happen very often Red Nexus. For example: scenes where everyone is in the same room tend to be static images with pop-up windows depicting a talking head. While this makes sense for cutscenes where the characters use the brain’s messaging system, it takes away the experience when everyone is together. I can’t be sure if this was a plan from the start or a concession made due to the working conditions of the pandemic. It took me a while to adjust to this style. While this isn’t my preferred way of going for JRPGs, it has grown on me and didn’t bother me more than 30 hours as it did in the beginning.
Scarlet Nexus Review – SAS Connection
Where Red Nexus what really shines is its mixed combat system. As gravikinetics, Kasane and Yuito can move environmental objects to do heavy damage in addition to their basic weapons. This standard attack fills the MC’s Psychokinesis (PK) gauge, the fuel needed to throw objects with an R2 trigger or perform special attacks with L2. When combined with SAS allied forces, MC deals higher damage and can inflict status effects. One of my favorite combos is using Kyoka’s duplication power in conjunction with Shiden’s electrokinesis. If I play my cards right, this attack more often than not allows me to trigger Brain Crush. Brain Crush attacks annihilate enemies with special animations that I never get bored of.
There are two other specific actions to note. The first is Brain Drive. This mode activates automatically once the gauge is maxed out and sends Kasane into a highly focused battle mode. Temporary buffs here can increase attack, speed, and even experience gained. But Brain Field is the place to be. Inside the Brain Field Kasane channeled her power to the nth level dealing powerful blow after blow. Kasane can pull multiple objects together as one heavy hit or throw a single item for more danger than off the field. Since he was a psionic, this was his world and everyone in it had better be careful. You need to pay attention to him; if he stayed in Brain Field too long it would kill him and Game Over. You want to activate Brain Field when you face a formidable foe. I recommend keeping some consumables on hand just in a measuring cast you’re not ready for when you need them.
Looking for new moves or ways to increase your effectiveness? Don’t ignore the Brain Map. The five branches of this skill tree system are: Enhance, Expand, Support, Brain Drive, and Brain Field. Like other RPGs, Brain Points are earned as you level up and it’s up to you to unlock the path that best suits your play style. I maxed out my Support and Brain Field segments first, trying a few others to unlock important moves like the double jump and aerial running. The sooner I can rid myself of that annoying Brawn Yawn, the better. Maximizing my Brain Field output had me swinging the alligator by the tail in no time.
Scarlet Nexus Review – Super Friend
To get the best out of the platoon, Kasane wants to regularly use his teammates on the field and woo them with rewards. Increasing the bond between your MC and friends unlocks new abilities and perks. The Standby Phase is the best time to get to know each other. If a pink link icon appears instead of the normal talk icon, you have Bond Episodes to enjoy. Depending on the character, this can be a serious or fun scene. Gifts purchased from the shop or found through exploration can be given away while in a hideout and are a great way to push you closer to leveling up that bond. What I love here is the attention to detail; whatever items I give my cohorts will appear in their respective corners in the hideout.
I have some doubts with Red Nexus. The first was by the barrier that was formed during the Other’s encounter. When Kasane gets too close to the barrier, she tends to “disappear” from the camera and I don’t know where I am. I’ve been stuck in a corner and somehow between the barriers with a throwing object at my feet that I can’t see to target and throw. Not the most pleasant place to find yourself during a boss fight. The second is that I once again played a game where the English voice director didn’t ask the actors to learn the correct pronunciation for some Japanese names. It’s 2021. Localization should be better. We have the ability for people to practice this kind of thing and it’s totally unacceptable and honestly a little disrespectful.
After finishing Kasane’s version of the story and getting ready to experience Yuito’s side, I really appreciated the story. Japanese sci-fi has long been a genre I enjoy. Last year’s players were spoiled with 13 Guardians, and Red Nexus has delivered another beautifully woven narrative that is worth playing with. Don’t sleep in this game! JRPG July is just around the corner and the perfect time to spend 60 hours playing video games.
The Scarlet Nexus PS5 review code is provided by the publisher. Version 1.001 was reviewed on PlayStation 5. For more information on ratings, please see our Review Policy.