RPG Review: Scarlet Nexus

After watching the first episode of the extremely cringy anime series, I decided to get the game ironically cause there was a Steam sale. Fortunately, I unironically enjoyed it so here’s a positive review of Scarlet Nexus! 😀 Some spoilers ahead so be warned. Also my husband’s comments will be in blue.

The story takes place in a future far away where human were forced to live on the moon due to global warming a change in the earth’s environment making it uninhabitable. While they were chillin’ in space, a comet flew by and dropped some radioactive ooze on everyone and started turning them into body horror monsters. This was all happening simultaneously as they decided to try to re-inhabit earth once more.  They sent a team of researchers down there but then were like hmm what if we just push all the monsters on earth and let them deal with it so we can keep the moon clear. They ended up doing that with their advanced moon technology and also creating a barrier around earth called the Extinction Belt and anytime anything went through this belt it would be instantly turned into the monster.

So like many years go by and earth slowly starts to rebuild while fighting off these fiends. As usual there’s government conspiracies where one government called Suoh wants to brainwash people to follow orders and be their go-to army and Seiran who wants to do more research on the monsters to create a monster army instead. Innocent people get caught in between and start turning into monsters, are forced to join the OSF (the psionic army basically) from a young age and take drugs that keep their bodies youthful for years so they can continue fighting.

This all comes to an end when one dude has had enough of all of this shit, and turns into Kaius from FF13-2 where he continues to travel through time to try to save his long lost love (also NTR love because she was engaged to his friend) Alice. (So instead of HMPH YUEL we have a HMPH Alice here. 🤣🤣🤣). Our game begins with either the protagonist Yuito or Kasane who are brand new OSF recruits with a special psychic power called Red Strings that allows one to travel through time.

So first of all, I love the battle system in this game. I normally don’t give a flying fak about any battle system because ultimately I am here for the story and cut scenes and nothing else really matters to me. This time though I LOVED the battle style. Maybe it’s my inner chuuni or animu fan that loves all the cut ins during the SAS switch, or maybe I just love the idea that I can basically throw bicycles and vending machines at things, or the sound of windows smashing as I destroy the lightbulb on some deer monster’s butt. I don’t know but it felt so good and especially during the Brain mode where both protags are yelling shit like “I’m unstoppable I’m gonna kill you all!!” somehow was weirdly satisfying when I used it particularly during any enemy/boss struggles.  So battle system gets a huge thumbs up from me and you can play both on keyboard OR controller. Unfortunately the controller uses NA style Yes & No buttons (X for yes O  for now) which is the opposite of Japan and what I am used to so I ended up just playing on keyboard with wasd etc.

It took a little while to really get the combat system to gel. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I feel like we didn’t really get a grasp for it until doing the NG+. I think what basically happens is the game gives you a ton of options faster than you can truly digest them. So for example, if you start with Yuito’s route you’ll have Hanabi, Tsugumi, Luka, and Genma as your party members, but there’s also some random times early on when you’ll have Kagero or Shiden in your party, who then don’t rejoin you until close to the end of the game. Since you’re probably still trying to wrap your head around everything (and I do truly mean EVERYTHING, ranging from the controls to the storyline to the maps to the stat system), this quick little level with those two pretty much goes in one ear and out the other. Then because we spent the next 20 hours using the other characters, when the parties combined we basically ignored them since we weren’t used to them.

Once we got to the NG+ though, because we know how the story plays out, how the controls work, etc. the only thing that we had to think about was getting used to how all of Kasane’s party members’ skills worked. Now we could tell for example “omg the enemies are MELTING when we backstab with Kagero” since we had the experience from the first playthrough to gauge against. I would also note that this didn’t make the game “hard”, I think it was maybe more like it had a bit of a learning curve based on how everything is paced and the relative dearth of “hard numbers” to compare against. And again, once the combat system finally clicks for you, the combat gets really fun as you plow through everything around you because you now truly understand how to combine powers, which enemies have which weakpoints, how to use environmental hazards against them, and so on.

Next I honestly liked all the characters. They truly gave them their own stories and feelings which you got to know more of as you did the various bond episodes with them as well as their tidbits here & there during battles. The only character that probably annoyed me if anything was Shiden, they made him WAY too tsun and full of himself. He acted like an immature high school kid but his real age was probably in his late 20s and early 30s like grow up my dude stop getting mad at someone literally half your age. It’s hard to tell the ages of the characters since they are on youth drugs but if you look at the artbook and look at how long they’ve been in OSF you can make a rough estimate of probably how old everyone is.

The bond system was a lot of fun to me and honestly I wanted it to go further? Like hell just give me that visual novel romantic ending even as a side story I don’t care!! LET ME ROMANCE YUITO HE’S SO ADORABLE AAAA. 🥰🥰🥰 The game puts a big fat brick wall between characters getting too close to romance (especially Hanabi since she even admits she has a crush on Yuito to Kasane.) So it’s fine, I will just headcanon ship and in my head canon Yuito and Kasane are the OTP. They even have the red string of fate connection at the end!!!!!! They’re also the only ones who give each other special gifts in a cut scene so tbh nobody can change my mind lmao sorry Hanabi you will just have to be childhood friend-zones forever.

No way Yuito sucks, he is dumber than a box of rocks.  Forget just “uguu Yuito won’t recognize my childhood friend feelings for him uguu” stuff, dude is totally oblivious even when characters teach him stuff he should already know like “this is the tomb of your ancestor, who founded this country.” THAT SAID, he is not even remotely the worst boy because the other boys are SO MUCH worse than him cough Shiden cough Nagi cough Wataru.

I totally would have shipped this if it wasn’t so short lived 😦

One final thing I want to add that I really liked was the music. The music is so good I ended up buying the Steam addon that comes with the sound track because it was that good. Musubi’s and Seiran were my top 2 bgms as well as Togetsu’s and the hideout music. I maxed out the BGM volume during my game play because it was just that good. 🎵

Baki-chan: Gotta catch em all

While I overall enjoyed the game there were a couple things that bugged me. One thing was I feel like at the end they never truly explained what Karen had done in order to make himself not exist while making Alice be alive and while not creating any new time paradoxes. Too much deus ex machina at play here which was kinda crappy seeing the same outcome from both routes. I also hated how I really couldn’t tell what level of bond I was with each character and I had to just guess and buy tons of presents and shove like 20 colas in Arashi’s face until she maxed out. I hated how some of the presents really required you to grind rare items in completely low level areas. It’s one thing if the game at least scaled the enemies so you could gain exp to fill out your Brain points. But no, I am level 65 fighting level 45 guys in this area just to be able to get the items required to buy this one present. It’s even stupider too that all my character bonds are level 6, but team bond is level 5, because team bond is based on the amount of different presents you give…which once again goes back to the annoying grinding. I ended up not bothering because it was too annoying. And finally I just want to say the museum/laboratory is the WORST MAP in the whole game. All the stupid keys and doors are a god damn maze. (ノ# ゚д゚)ノ ┫:・’∵:.┻┻:・’.:∵

My main criticism of the game is how opaque a lot of the systems in it are. The biggest offender by far is the bond level system. First off, it took us a while to even understand that the team bond level was not tied to the character bond levels! We assumed that maybe it was an average or perhaps was pegged to the lowest character bond level in your party, but after googling we found out that it’s independent of your individual characters’ bond levels (oh and also, your characters have XPlevels as well, which is also totally independent from their bond levels). Ultimately, the way that it works is that the character bond levels are based on a combination of gifts received, being an active member in your party, and completing their bond episodes, while the team bond level is solely based on UNIQUE gifts that each party member receives. Now this makes the team bond requirements fairly easy to track (just look at the gifts in the store and see which party members don’t have them checked off), but we generally had no clue what was going on with how to max out the characters’ bond levels since there was nothing to track. You can look at their XPfor example and see “oh okay they have 50k for the next level and each monster in a high level area gives about 3k”, but there’s nothing saying like “okay Luka needs 100 more waifu points to reach level 6, so I can give him either 4 creates of protein powder or 10 muscleman posters.”

As a more minor complaint, the sidequests in the game are probably the worst I’ve ever seen. They are sub-MMO bear ass level. Every sidequest in the game is a random person in a random location who simply asks you to kill a few enemies in a specific way, then click the “quest complete” button in your quest log (we got really confused at first about how to turn these in, since surely you’d have to talk to someone, right?) which will reward you with no XP and just a completely trivial item (like a consumable that you’re already overflowing on, an ugly cosmetic that you don’t want to wear, or a plug-in that doesn’t provide a useful stat.)

For anyone starting this game, story wise I feel like a lot more info was given to us in Yuito’s route so I feel like his route should be played first, with Kasane’s 2nd. I feel like there’s a lot of important story premises in his that are skipped over in hers. That said, Yuito route is absolutely hard mode. I STRUGGLED on some fights with him because aside from being new to the game Yuito’s team sucks. I ain’t gonna lie – the best SAS abilities are Shiden, Arashi and Kagero. Tsumugi, Luka and Hanabi are pretty mediocre and only used in specific situations. Gemma is pretty useful but again, still not as great as Kasane’s team. Kasane is also slightly more ranged than Yuito which makes attacking a lot easier especially on some of the monsters who love backing up over and over from you. Fighting Kasane’s team was insanely hard the first time because Shiden kept stunning me with the lightning and Arashi was so god damn fast I just couldn’t catch her. Meanwhile when I was Kasane, fighting Yuito’s team was piss easy because Hanabi and Tsugumi were a joke and once you broke through Gemma’s shield he barely moved. So yes, the game is much harder on Yuito’s side than Kasane’s 😂 but even with that in mind, I would still play Yuito first as I feel like he’s got way more things in his route than Kasane does. Kasane’s one thing that isn’t in Yuito’s is just “what happened to her sister”.

While I do think this is partly because of my earlier point about how the game does have a bit of a learning curve, Yuito’s team is absolutely worse than Kasane’s team. The best example of this is how Hanabi’s power basically just adds some extra damage and a DOT to your attacks, but meanwhile she was almost certainly adding way less damage than Shiden, Kagero, or Kyoka while also not providing the added tactical advantages that those characters have.

Overall I would definitely recommend this game to those who love rpgs or honestly just enjoy a fun character game.As usual you can check out my twitch highlights archive (but be warned there may be some spoilers.) And remember, don’t watch the anime, it’s honestly terrible in every way lol.