Bandai Namco’s newest IP, Scarlet Nexus, is here, taking players to a futuristic cyberpunk setting and a world full of people with powerful extrasensory superpowers. Like any RPG, there’s plenty going on in Scarlet Nexus, so as you prepare to dive into this new adventure, here, we’re going to talk about a few basic pointers that you should keep in mind to make those first few hours a little smoother for you.
Scarlet Nexus puts the spotlight on two protagonists- Kasane Randall and Yuito Sumeragi, but they’re both the stars of their own separate campaigns. The story of Scarlet Nexus is told through both characters, so as you’d imagine, if you want to get the full experience and see the story completely, you’ll need to play and finish both campaigns. Kasane and Yuito often cross paths with each other, but they also spend plenty of time apart from each other, so seeing the story from both their perspectives to fill in gaps is definitely recommended.
This should go without saying in any RPG (or any number of games even beyond the genre), but it’s important enough that we should discuss it nonetheless. Though you obviously start out in Scarlet Nexus with a pretty basic weapon and don’t have too much stuff to equip to your character, as you go through the game, not only will you be collective more equipment, but will also be able to buy better stuff from the shop. Keep an eye on the stuff that becomes available, because from better weapons to items that increase your max health to those that make you resistance to specific elemental attacks and more, what stuff you have you and your companions equipped with can make quite a bit of difference.
Scarlet Nexus isn’t a particular large game, if we’re only talking about real estate, and it progresses from chapter to chapter in a pretty focused and linear fashion. But even though you’re not exploring large open sandboxes, there’s still room for exploration- which you definitely should take advantage of. Scattered throughout its levels, you’ll find resources scattered about in nooks and crannies or behind barriers or in places that aren’t easily visible, and these resources come in pretty handy. At the shop, resources can be traded in to buy various items and gear, while there are certain items that can only be obtained that way.
No matter which campaign you’re playing, Scarlet Nexus will see you teaming up with quite a few characters throughout your journey (both journeys), and the game has certain mechanics in place to keep you invested in your relationships with those characters. The bond level that Kasane or Yuito have with the various party members determines how well you can synergize with them in combat (more on that in a bit), so obviously, it’s crucial that you pay attention to that part of the experience as well. Any time you have access to a Bond Episode (usually this happens between chapters in transition phases), make sure you do those immediately.
As you’re playing Scarlet Nexus, you’ll often receive messages in the game from other characters. These can be easy to miss, so make sure to keep checking your messages by pressing R1 (or RB on Xbox) and up on the d-pad together to go through any messages that you might not have read. While oftentimes these messages serve as little more than flavour text, every once in a while you’ll get the kind that you can reply to as well, and seeing as replying to messages also increases your bonds with characters, that’s something you should definitely do. In fact, a few Bond Episodes can also be initiated only by replying to messages.
Of course, you can also improve your bonds with characters by giving them presents. This is a JRPG, after all. This works about the way you’d expect it to- during the stage transition phases between chapters, you can roam about your hideout and give gifts to the characters around you, so definitely take every chance you get to do just that. Gifts can be obtained from the shop by exchanging resources, and you can also see which characters will like which presents thanks to hearts appearing on their portraits when you’re navigating the shop. Exchanging most of your resources to then spam characters with presents is a pretty good way of quickly increasing your bond with them.
We’ve spoken enough about bonds- what exactly do they do though? How do they help you in combat? Well, Kasane and Yuito can synergize with anyone currently in their party through the Struggle Arms System, or SAS, which allows you to “borror” the power of one of your teammates and infusing it with your own in combat. So if you teammate is capable of electrokinesis, you can borrow that ability and infuse each of your attacks with electricity. While SAS is active, it runs on a timer (you can see on the bottom right how long there’s left until it runs out), but thankfully, Scarlet Nexus is pretty generous with how long that goes, and with how quickly it regenerates- which means you should use SAS every chance you get, especially in battles against large numbers of foes, or against foes that are weak to any one specific element or kind of attack.
Scarlet Nexus’ combat revolves around a mix of melee attacks using your weapons and hurling objects and debris at your enemies using psychokinesis, but of course, it’s never a good idea to rely too much on just one of those pillars. Every time you land a psychokinesis attack or melee combat, the game will slow down for a fraction of second, and this is the game telling you that you should do an opposite follow-up attack- melee if you just struck with psychokinesis, and vice versa. Take full advantage of every one of these opportunities, because follow-up attacks do a lot of damage. In the brain map (which is this game’s version of a skill tree), you can also unlock the ability do more follow-ups and chain multiple together, so you might want to work towards unlocking those as well.
Speaking of the brain map, something else you’ll want to begin investing in early on is increasing your psychokinesis gauge. Hurling objects at your enemies can do a lot of damage, as you’d imagine, and is often a crucial part of the strategies for defeating various enemies, so it goes without saying that you’ll want to let loose with as many attacks as possible before the gauge runs out. The brain map has two unlocks that collectively let you double your gauge- both of these are pretty costly and won’t be accessible right off the bat, but it’s a good idea to start building toward these early as possible.
Scarlet Nexus doesn’t give out money very freely (especially in the opening hours), which means there might be times when you’re strapped for cash in situations where you need to buy certain items or pieces of equipment. Thankfully, selling cosmetics is a great way to get large amounts of cash quickly. Simply exchange resources for a cosmetic item or two and then sell those if you need money quickly.