Attracting the attention of JRPG game lovers around the world since it was introduced at the Xbox Series X event a few months ago, there is a high degree of curiosity of course to see what Bandai Namco will offer on the Scarlet Nexus. We are talking about a title with an anime visualization style that wants to take advantage of the extra performance of the next generation consoles at the start of the product’s existence, while being built on the names of those who were responsible for several Tales series in the past. It is undeniable that there is a high level of interest and curiosity to dive deeper and of course, unravel the mystery further about what the Scarlet Nexus really is.
Brain Punk Action RPG!
Scarlet Nexus is said to be built on two basic concepts: Scarlet means “Red” and Nexus means “Relationship”. With a combination of the two, Scarlet Nexus is built on a visual concept where objects or humans are connected by red lines. This is then translated into gameplay, where your main character will be able to “borrow” the abilities of other characters through a red tube embedded in their back. This is where the “red line” visualization in Scarlet Nexus comes into play. Throughout the game, the term “red line” or “red rope” will also come up several times, making it a significant term in the Scarlet Nexus story itself.
First, because Brain plays an important role in the Scarlet Nexus story. That in a city with super futuristic technology, the brain and its development are essential, including the reason why the main character, who you will use later, has special psychokinesis abilities to destroy the monsters that exist. Second, that the world they formulated – with the visualization of a modern Japanese city in the 90s era with high aesthetics, does leave a strong Cyberpunk impression. Therefore, they chose to combine these two terms and gave birth for the first time, a concept known as “Brain Punk”.
Another consideration also comes from the flexibility of the term Cyberpunk as a genre that is focused on the word “Punk” which means resistance. Cyberpunk in the past, for example, gave birth to other theme branches such as Steampunk or Dieselpunk in accordance with the theme of the story that was carried. Given that the brain plays such an important role in Scarlet Nexus, it becomes rational to define this game with this new term. They say that the world of Scarlet Nexus is in the realm of alternative reality where humans have managed to find a substance in the brain that has resulted in civilization growing and advancing so rapidly.
The main setting that will become your playing arena will be a country known as “New Himuka” – a futuristic country so big and wide that the concept of “abroad” doesn’t exist in this one world. In it he will contain several large cities, such as those named Suoh or Seiran, including a location that will become the source of the opposition called Togetsu. All the technology that lives in New Himuka will be based on brain power, just like the theme they talked about earlier. That the brains of all humans in it are connected to each other in a network called “Psynet” which functions like the internet in our world.
The Psynet network will then connect New Himuka people with the various services they need, from infrastructure, health services, to businesses searching the internet. But as can be predicted, the fact that every human brain is connected to each other is actually a nightmare recipe that Scarlet Nexus will use as a basis for presenting and encouraging stories. An interesting one? This game will not be specific in what year the Scarlet Nexus event actually took place, given the way the world already works with a different method from what we know in the real world.
In New Himuka, you will play the main character named Yuito Sumeragi, a new member of the OSF who is designed to destroy the monster named “The Others” that haunts New Himuka. However, along with his journey with OSF, Yuito will begin to question the way New Himuka works, especially about the advantages versus disadvantages considering how society is built on brains that are connected to one another. Scarlet Nexus, also called Ochiai, will reflect a little on what is happening in the real world, such as criticism of social media and efforts to define “loneliness” in the middle of an interconnected world like this. So just like the name that he stretches, the relationship between characters will play an important role in Scarlet Nexus.
Talking about the main character’s motivation – Yuito, he first joined the OSF (Other Suppression Force) because he himself was saved in a precarious condition. His desire to save other people actually becomes an opening door to understand the mystery in New Himuka. Regardless of the important name of his family – Sumeragi, which in fact has a big role in building New Himuka into a giant and futuristic country, Yuito prefers to join the OSF as a new soldier and jump on the front lines. This decision he took amid expectations of other family members, under the banner of Sumeragi, that he should become a bureaucrat or a politician.
The “Disaster” – The Others
In the world of Scarlet Nexus, the main threat comes from mysterious monsters known as “The Others”. However, unlike similar games where these monsters are a threat, the humans in Scarlet Nexus have started to learn and live “side by side” with The Others.
They fall from a unique location in space called the “Extinction Belt” and live based on the instinct to eat and engulf more human brains. Their consistent existence makes them appear like natural disasters that can no longer be prevented, such as earthquakes. Instead of fear and panic, the New Himuka humans began building a warning system (like a weather forecast) to determine when and where the Otehrs would fall and thus, secure themselves before it happened. Humans no longer have to die because of The Others, especially with the OSF who are now actively fighting them. In New Himuka, humans can still live normally regardless of this condition.
For monster designs, the team left the responsibility to artist Masakazu Yamashiro. Being his first video game project, Yamashiro has the ability to create a “disgusting” impression for everyday objects we encounter by fusing them with organic elements, which then gives birth to a creature that is difficult for humans to perceive themselves. From the first glance, only from the visual side, you will be able to understand that The Others work with a system and logic that is much different from us – humans. The team also ensures that if you look at The Others in detail, you will be able to see what parts make them up, from object parts to plants to human body parts that are integrated in them.
First of all, Yuito will have a bar called PK Gauge. As you can predict, PK Gauge serves as a resource that needs to be sacrificed in order to execute psychokinesis attacks – which will enable it to hurl objects towards The Others using a simple button. You can look at it like a range attack, with the opportunity to lock-on action if you want to target specific The Others in a busier combat scenario. The rest? Yuito will be able to execute melee combination attacks at short range by pressing the attack button repeatedly. Of course, you can jump manually to carry out an air strike if you wish. Like other action RPG games, Yuito can dash to avoid enemy attacks.
Scarlet Nexus will give commensurate rewards if you can consistently combine existing psychokinesis attacks and standard melee attacks. For every psychokinesis attack that comes in, you will get an increase in damage for the next melee attack that you execute afterwards. Holding down the psychokinesis throw button will also open a variant of the throwing attack that is stronger in terms of damage, drains more PK Gauge resources, but has the opportunity to produce a temporary stun effect for the enemy you face. How about boss fights? In the scenario shown in the demo, Yuito will have access to larger objects which, if successfully ejected with his psychokinesis ability, will also produce a stun effect. But it must be executed in a certain position, it opens the need for strategy.
Like the concept discussed earlier by the developer, Scarlet Nexus is indeed concerned with the theme of the relationship between characters. Later, he does not have to fight alone, Yuito will be accompanied by other companion characters who will help the combat action and open access to new attack variants. In this demo, Yuito is accompanied by another character named Hanabi Ichijo who will open Pyrokinesis access for him.
Access this companion skill works with a cooldown system, where you will need time before you can use it again. Pyrokinesis now makes Yuito’s melee attacks now have a fire element, resulting in greater damage than usual attacks while making enemies fall under the effect of the “Burn” status which results in damage over time. The height of the companion’s character also seems to be related to the quantity and quality of skill access that Yuito can use later.
This demo succeeded in giving the impression of an intense RPG action sensation for Scarlet Nexus, where fast and strategic battles seem to “accompany” every corner of your journey in New Himuka later. Of course, the extra attention to keep combining the melee attack with the psychokinetic action that happens is something you should quickly record in your muscle memory.