SCARLET NEXUS is here, and while we’ve already gone into a few reasons you should be playing it, you might already be looking for a little more practical advice. We’ve already dumped a ton of hours into Bandai Namco‘s brain-twisting new IP – here’s our best tips for getting the most out of your time with Yuito or Kasane.
Pick your path
SCARLET NEXUS features two protagonists. You can go with Yuito Sumeragi, son of a highly esteemed and powerful family who combines his psychokinetic powers with swordplay, or Kasane Randall, who focuses more on ranged combat. Although the game still follows the same overarching plot, the characters will follow their own path to the end, converging multiple times as the mystery unfolds.
It doesn’t just affect the plot, though. Each protagonist has their own squad of party members, and as your party determines the powers you have available, you might want to make your decision based on that.
- Pyrokinesis – apply flame element to attacks.
- Sclerokinesis – immunity to damage for a short period of time.
- Clairvoyance – ability to spot hidden enemies and weak spots, potential to deliver powerful counterattacks.
- Teleportation – lets Yuito blink around the battlefield, damaging enemies before they can get their guard up.
- Electrokinesis – like pyrokinesis, but with electric.
- Invisibility – become unseen by enemies, deliver powerful backstab attacks.
- Hypervelocity – increase movement and attack speed to an insane degree.
- Duplication – doubles objects thrown with psychokinesis.
Both playstyles are fun in their own way, and you will get a little taste of the other powers no matter which route you choose – so go with the one that looks more exciting for your first playthrough and give the others a try later.
No matter which protagonist you choose, you’ll always have access to the versatile Psychokinesis power. This allows you to throw bits of scenery around with your mind, which, don’t get me wrong, is great. But you know what’s better than that? Throwing flaming bits of scenery around with your mind. Turning invisible to sneak around a group of enemies so you can drive a bus into them, or launch a train down the line into their path.
The Struggle Arms System is SCARLET NEXUS’ way of giving you more powers. By tapping into it, you’ll be able to copy the powers of your teammates and combine them with your own to devastasting effect. Use these powers liberally – they’ll give you the edge and can be used to exploit enemy weaknesses.
The powers you have available to you are determined by who’s in your party. At the start of the game, your options will be limited, but as it progresses you’ll have a bit more flexibility and can build the group around your playstyle.
One last tip for SAS – you can toggle it off by pressing the same button you used to turn it on. This can save you some valuable recharge time, as it’s easy to let the bar run down when you’re out of battle.
Make use of the Exchange option
When purchasing goods from the shop, you have the option of spending Kin – the game’s currency – or exchanging data you’ve accrued through battles and exploration for many of the same items. Early on in the game, things like cosmetic items and new weapons can be pretty expensive. In my experience, it’s much more economical to trade some of the data items you collect by killing enemies for what you want.
Making use of the Exchange feature can save you a fair bit of cash, leaving you with extra funds for restorative items or immediate upgrades down the line.
Bond with your party members
SCARLET NEXUS can be a bit slow to gain momentum, but when it does, it takes off at breakneck speed. The story is thrilling, packed with betrayals, dark twists and compelling character development. As a result you can kind of lose sight of Scarlet Nexus’ Bond Episodes – the moments between missions where you can get to know other characters on a deeper level.
I know it doesn’t sound as exciting as taking down nightmarish Others with explosive psychic powers, but bonding with your team can actually increase their effectiveness in battle, expanding their abilities through SAS whilst giving you a little bit of their backstory and motivation. It can also boost their helpfulness in other areas, too – strengthening your connections will increase the chance they heal or revive you during battle, for example.
You can tell when a Bond Episode is available – if the party member is in the Hideout, they’ll have a pink-ish chain icon over their head. Other characters may also send you a Brain Message which you can view in the menu – replying will prompt the Bond Episode.
You can increase bonds with your party members by fighting alongside them or giving them gifts, which can be acquired from the shop or out in the world.
SCARLET NEXUS is actually a bit more linear than it looks. There’s typically only one way to your mission objective, and though levels provide stunning backdrops to the game’s exciting combat, they’re pretty easy to navigate. That doesn’t mean there aren’t rewards for curious players, though – if there’s a back alley or a twist in the map that leads to a dead end, there’s usually an item tucked away at the end.
Exploring everything will provide you with a steady stream of healing items – very useful at the game’s outset, before you’ve gathered plenty of money to buy them with –
Use special Psychokinetic objects
Alongside the regular objects you can launch in combat, there’ll occasionally be special opportunities. These objects are highlighted with an “LT” icon, and can naturally be used by holding down the left trigger.
Special Psychokinesis attacks can deal more damage and even inflict status effects on your enemies. Drive a bus through a crowd before slamming it down on the survivors, dump barrels of oil and water out, tear vending machines in half and sandwich something between them.
These attacks do require the completion of a QTE to execute, but they’re never especially complicated. What I would suggest is taking your time when you launch them – it’s easy to press the wrong button and waste the opportunity. Don’t touch anything until the prompt comes up!
Pay attention to the loading screen
SCARLET NEXUS is very unique in that its loading screens are actually populated with useful hints for the situation at hand. Die in a boss fight and the game will give you a tactical tip that’ll help you overcome it next time. It’s a small point, but the difficulty can spike unexpectedly at times. It’s easy to get carried away with button-mashing and car-launching, which can really do you over sometimes.
The combat has a few unexpected nuances to it – enemies have tells and telegraphs before they deliver certain strikes, and bosses can require tactical power deployment to overcome. The loading screen does a good job of pointing you in the right direction, with targeted tactics for the fight you’re struggling with.
Explore populated areas for sidequests
It’s not all abandoned hospitals and hostile train stations – there are plenty of interludes that give you the opportunity to explore places filled with civilians. These can reward you with consumables too, but you can also discover sidequests that usually involve killing targets in specific ways. It’s basic stuff, but the rewards can be solid, sometimes rewarding you with new weapons for your team.
This can save you Kin and Exchange materials, which can then be used for more useful purposes. Like making Hanabi smile with a gift, for example.