Scarlet Nexus has just been released on all machines of the moment – except the Switch – and we were able to try it on PS5. Do we have a good representative of its genre or a great Japanese action-RPG that barely stands out? Spoiler: after blowing hot and cold during our various previews, it may well be that the end result is very good.
Scarlet nexus, it is a big project in the eyes of Bandai Namco, who wears here the double hat of developer and editor. So big that the release will also be accompanied by a cartoon that will take the story of one of the two heroes of the game. With its Next-Gen versions the ambitions are therefore great on the side of the Tokyote firm. Well places?
The red wire
As much to say it immediately, if the atmosphere of this Scarlet nexus wants to be futuristic, impossible not to think of the other productions of the publisher, like Code Vein or God Eater when the time comes for the first contact. A manga / anime universe assumed, and rather delightful if you are sensitive to the genre. This time around, the storyline takes place in a dystopian future where humanity residing in cities of disproportionate proportions faces the threat of the Others, half flowerpot, half skeleton, half tentacle, half sexy creatures. You will have the choice between two protagonists, Kasane and Yuito, who will then live an adventure with slightly different stakes, which will ensure a certain replayability once the game is over for the first time. The two fellows are part of the teams that fight the monsters, and will soon be confronted with government conspiracies which could well shed light on the origin of these very menacing who will quickly become very intimate enemies.
If the beginnings will be very classic and summary, by dropping us directly into the aptitude test of the recruits who will make up our combat unit, it will be the opportunity to come across a gallery of characters who are certainly quite strotyped, with twists and traitors. , but also with a delicately punk-neon-neon pink design for the most beautiful effect. Clearly a success. If the whole can be accompanied by French texts and English or Japanese voices, the narration will be done almost exclusively via visual novel type panels, namely still images and the text that scrolls below. Big show question, we have clearly known better, especially for a license that prides itself on having an anime version. The musics are very unequal, with very good, jazzy in Persona or electro in Skrillex, and other much more tasteless stuff. If the universe is very successful, Scarlett nexus in video play, it is not without faults.
May the force be with you
On the other hand, if there is one really very interesting aspect, it is the playability. Our fighters have the particularity of fighting body-to-body with a knife, but also at a distance with magic, and telkinsie, which allows objects to be moved. The goal will therefore consist of enchanting his opponents with his sword and then a bit of everything lying around in the decor, from the simple box to the van that had asked for nothing! The mixture is quite daunting and almost consists of a game of rhythm with the management of its magic gauge. Placing large combos is quite exhilarating, especially when using large objects on the map, with animations sometimes worthy of what the apprentice does in The Power of the Force. But, against bumps, be careful not to miss or you will have to rebuild your power gauges.
Count more on the powers of your teammates, who will either strengthen yours or offer significant bonuses. If the basic enemies are varied enough, with their weaknesses, they will quickly grow in size, and on the side of the bumps, they are impressive. And with three difficulty modes there will be something for all tastes in terms of challenge. In the exploration aspect, it’s a little less joyful, with environments that are admittedly all beautiful overall, but which are alike and where we sometimes get lost. Fortunately, a card is available. The controls are a bit stiff, and the camera often shows itself to be of a different age in the hallways, and in combat too, when many crates come between the lens and the player.
Weave your web
On the RPG side, it’s pretty basic. The menus are very complex, but you will only have a few accessories equipped – sometimes cosmetic – and skills to unlock in a tree that will not be that large. But if you want management, you get it anyway. We talked to you in the gameplay part of the power of your comrades. Well to improve them you will have to forge links with them! During the rest phases between missions, you will need to talk to them, complete missions in their company, give them gifts, and answer their texts to advance relationships and unlock new levels of destruction. This management makes everything ultimately rather complete in terms of time spent in the menus. And if the game is short enough for its genre, since it will take about 20 hours to see the end of it, we can double the bet with a second run by adopting the point of view of the other hero.
Technically, on PS5, it’s very clean. Almost no visual faults, almost no popping, a nice resolution, as is the frame rate, and if the game is also released on PS4 and the 3D modeling is not very thorough, it all looks great. The very fast loading times only add to the playing comfort. There will even be a cross save function for those who should start the game on PS4 … On the other hand, at the level of the DualSense, it is a small disappointment: haptic vibrations and sounds are absent at subscribers. And force feedback triggers are rarely used.