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Scarlet Nexus review
by Head

If it were possible I would give this game a rating between "recommended" and "meh".
The graphics look great even on a low end pc. I absolutely loved the SAS, but the enemies were too easy so the SAS felt it was OP all the time. The story is catching and it was the main aspect of the game which kept me coming back to finish the game (at least Kasane's story line).
The big downer of the game was how its combat was implemented in the game. The enemies felt lifeless, boring and not at all intimidating. Game-play has lots of cool moves and nice variations of combos to perform along with the SAS. Psychokinesis attacks though, whenever I executed a PK attack (RT) it felt like its breaking the combat's rhythm, and it kinda sucked the fun out of it.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time playing the game very much. I tried playing Yuito's story-line but I couldn't go on because of the combat game-play and boring enemies.

Other reviews5

Combat has a multitude of fun system to play around with, altough boss fights against humans can feel a little stiff due to the absolute lack of hit stun.

The story goes wild, the OST is pretty great and the presentation is really good when it decides to leave boring Urban levels.
Scarlet Nexus is a surprisingly large game with varying quality. The game shares a lot of similarities with other “anime” RPG’s of the past few years, notably Tales of Arise and Astral Chain. I 100% completed the game, both Yuito and Kasane’s stories and all achievements, and I think only part of the game is worth your time.

 There are 12 “Phases”, and Yuito and Kasane have their own stories for the first 9 Phases of Scarlet Nexus. Yuito’s story is the stronger of the two, with more satisfying combat, a more cohesive story, and access to better abilities. When your party comes back together in Chapter 10, Scarlet Nexus’ gameplay begins to shine. With the full kit at your disposal, the gameplay is extremely engaging and satisfying, the chemistry between characters picks up, and the story finally focuses on the main conflict. Chapter 10 and 12 are also the longest and most gameplay heavy, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the fully-powered gameplay. Up until this point, you get interrupted frequently with cutscenes, never letting you settle into the combat. I was ready to “Not Recommend” this game when I finished Chapter 8, but the final chapters changed my mind.The final chapter also includes some stellar boss fights that make the most of these mechanics, music, and characters.

 Unless you really enjoyed your first ~30 hour playthrough and are hungry for more, there’s very little reason to play through it again with the other protagonist. Kasane’s story has very little additional insights, and there is no secret ending that gets unlocked when you finish both. There are some additional combat encounters, achievements, a couple cool setpieces, and a bit more character development, but it took an additional 20 hours and barely felt worth it.

 Throughout the game, you’ll have chances to play “Bond Episodes” with your companions. These are meant to be played as they become available, as they tie into the story, but can be skipped if you don’t care for the supporting cast. I enjoyed them, and thought each character had great development, if a bit trope-y. They did tend to come in waves between Phases, leading to lengthy intermissions from the main story. Sometimes this didn’t make much sense and was disconnected from the sense of urgency present in the main scenario. I also disliked the “gift giving” you had to partake in, as it was mostly just navigating through menus and watching the same “thankyou” animation over and over. Each character has a culmination in their arc at the end, which was an unexpected but very welcome finishing touch. The story would have felt anti-climactic without them, as they're very much a part of it.

 The presentation is good, but not perfect. The music ranges from generic to “biopunk electro-swing”. The visual design, while a bit hard to see clearly in some busy encounters, is pulled off well. The “brain-punk” world design is interesting, and the monster design was good, but not varied enough. The cutscenes are about 80% comic style stills with voice acting ontop. I would have liked to see more done with the concept, but it’s kept fairly basic throughout. The other 20% are very smooth 3D animated cutscenes. The english voices were passable (with a couple remarkable performances by Karen and Arashi), and the translation didn’t have any glaring issues, just a few inaccurate subtitles. On my rig (GTX970 i5-4670k), performance was an issue at first and it took some time digging into settings to get the video to stop stuttering (1440p60fps) and to get the audio balance right (SFX were way too loud, preventing the music from being heard). There were some other technical issues, like the lock-on camera not behaving, and the minimap is rotation-locked, but the map menu cannot be. I appreciated the fact that dialogue during gameplay never got cut off or interrupted, so I could play at my own pace and didn’t have to stop and listen for fear of triggering an encounter up ahead. It's a thoughtful bit of level design I wish was more popular.

 My only complaints from a gameplay standpoint are that it felt like the damage balance was off. Enemies hit way too hard, and the “armor” equipment barely did anything. The fights vs humans always felt unfair, with projectile attacks impossible to see coming. I would have welcomed the ability to interrupt long attack animations with a dodge, as the most powerful and visually satisfying attack combos always leave you open for attack.

 If you’re a fan of other flashy anime action games like Astral Chain and Tales Of, you’ll likely enjoy Scarlet Nexus. Unless you really fell in love with the world and characters, I wouldn’t recommend doing the second playthrough, as it doesn’t add anything substantial to the experience. Crank up the music and get in the flow of combat, but don't forget to take a breather now and again to catch up with your companions.
I liked the story but there are a lot of problems. The idea of two separate stories is a bust; everything of importance is answered in the first playthough. The environments are so very boring and linear and they make you repeat them ad nauseam.

Date Completed: 2021-12-10
Playtime: 36h (22h first playthrough)
Enjoyment: 7/10
Recommendation: I'm on the fence. If you do, skip the second playthrough.
Don’t care about the story every second forwards.