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access_time August 28, 2020 at 6:00 AM in Previews by David Poole

Preview | Scarlet Nexus

In the lead up to Gamescom 2020, Bandai Namco gave GotGame access to a special hands-off preview of their upcoming action RPG title, Scarlet Nexus. While we weren’t able to play the game ourselves, we were able to learn a lot about the game in the presentation. Not only did we get to enjoy some gameplay, but we also got a lot of background info about the game from some of the development staff on the game. Feel free to check out what we learned below.

According to the developers, Scarlet Nexus is a “Brainpunk” Action RPG. The reason behind this name has to do with the way the game is themed off of the development of the brain. Scarlet Nexus takes place in an alternate world where science developed the usage of the brain, allowing them to link everyone to a network known as Psynet. The game is set in the country of New Himuka, a country so vast that the idea of “overseas” practically doesn’t exist. Most of the activity in the game will take place in the cities of Suoh and Seiran.

While the game has a 1990’s aesthetic, the game also takes place in the not-so-distant future. Interestingly enough, the year 2020 even gets a shout out, but the developers wanted to make it so there wasn’t an exact place in time. Either way, the setting has a cool retro look to it that makes for a nostalgic world to explore. Of course, technology is still evolving, so there are things like hologram signage and other technological advancements.

You’ll play as Yuito Sumeragi, a young man that joins the 567th class of the OSF, a specialized force tasked with taking out entities known as the Others. The Others have weird and foreign designs from designer Masakazu Yamashiro. They rain from the sky from the ominous “Extinction Belt,” coming down to feed on human brains. After being saved from the Others by the OSF as a child, Yuito decides to join them to protect the people. Although Yuito seems to be a good candidate for the OSF, he begins to question their motives. Are they acting for justice? Is it really all that good for everyone to be connected? He suddenly fights to seek answers, learning more about the world around him.

The OSF has a special connection between members thanks to the use of Psynet. This connection allows them to share abilities and grow stronger in their bonds. During gameplay, this shows itself as large red tubes connecting to Yuito’s back. It’s when these are coming out of his back that he can borrow abilities from his teammates. His own psychokinesis ability is a very valuable tool, allowing him to lift large objects and throw them at his foes. Eventually he’ll be able to borrow other abilities, like pyrokinesis (more on that later).

Aside from his psychokinesis, Yuito also has a powerful sword. Players will have to utilize both Yuito’s sword attacks as well as his psychokinesis to defeat the Others. Of course, the psychokinesis abilities will require energy from the PK gauge. Using PK abilities will deplete it while using sword attacks will refill it. Using both in tandem helps to build up powerful combos, unleashing more damage on your foes. For example, if you start out by launching a PK attack, you can perform a step attack by dashing toward the enemy with a powerful sword strike. You can also perform PK object follow-up attacks, sending a stunning blow to your enemies after a sword combo.

If you get the hang of it, as as you gain new abilities, you’ll start to unleash cool finishers, like lifting two large objects and making an Other sandwich. As mentioned before, players will be able to borrow abilities like pyrokinesis using SAS. Enter Hanabi Ichijo, one of the partners Yuito will have on his journey. Thanks to their brain connectivity, Yuito can utilize Hanabi’s fiery powers in his attacks. As his bond with her grows, he’ll gain new abilities like fire infusion, skill changes, cooldown reductions, and even extended effects. Of course, Hanabi will also be available to have on the battlefield as an AI controlled partner. Yuito can have up to two partners in combat, as well as one in reserve.

With the RPG elements, Yuito and his teammates will level up as they defeat Others. He’ll earn BP (what we assume is “brain points”) and he can spend that on skills in the Brain Map skill tree. Not only can you learn more skills, but you’ll also be able to gain buffs through the use of the Brain Map. We’re not 100% sure how deep this goes, but we can’t wait to see more of it.

The game seems to be performing better since the first time we saw it during the Xbox Series X showcase. Scarlet Nexus is aiming for certain benchmarks depending on the platform. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are aiming for 1080p resolution at a locked 30fps. Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are setting their sights higher, going for native 4K at 60fps. Finally, PC will be the one that players can easily reach 60fps at 4K if they have a powerful enough rig. With a mix of beautiful cel-shaded anime visuals and a somewhat subdued environment, the animation and effects really pop.

Unfortunately, without hands-on impressions, it’s tough to say just how fluid the combat feels. The analog sticks and triggers play a key part in the controls, so we’re curious how accessible the combat is. With the gameplay we were able to watch, it seems like it will definitely take some getting used to. There also seems to be some quick-time events for some of the combat, mainly against the large bosses. With that in mind, it seems like the game is making a lot of progress in development though. Our preview had some English voice overs for Yuito, though some characters were still voiced in Japanese. If things go well, we’ll likely be seeing Scarlet Nexus releasing early next year.

Overall, it seems that Scarlet Nexus is looking promising. Interestingly enough, this may even be the next “Strand game” to come out after Death Stranding. Either way, we can’t wait to see more after the recent Gamescom trailer. What do you think? Are you looking forward to this new Brainpunk action RPG? Let us know in the comments below. Scarlet Nexus is coming out for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. No release date is currently determined, but we’ll likely hear more soon.

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