Scarlet Nexus demo is out and it's complete anime

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Humanity

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#1  Edited By Humanity

My general thoughts after playing through both campaigns of the demo is that it's awkward and clumsy.

Scarlet Nexus is an action game that places heavy emphasis on different abilities being used as direct counters to different types of enemies. My combo string of X, X, X with a Y added somewhere didn't change throughout the demo but this game is heavily focused on the telepathic "brain" abilities of your character so that you're typically not even engaging in the full combo. Every battlefield is scattered with random garbage like trash cans or benches that you can use to hurl at your enemies. You are incentivized to combine telekinetic attacks with melee to string together combos for big damage. Throwing a bench at a baddie lets you do a melee follow up that dashes at it from a distance, and after the melee you can then do another telekinetic follow-up that combos into another melee slash. So on and so forth. This is meant to be your bread and butter for defeating larger foes - hit them with objects, close the distance with melee, hit them with objects again.

This UI honestly looks way worse than it is
This UI honestly looks way worse than it is

All of this feels kinda mushy and stilted. Scarlet Nexus makes liberal use of my least favorite type of control scheme which is the nested menus of RB+XYAB for powers and then RB+Left Stick to switch enemies etc. In a fast paced game where you do have to actively dodge and evade several enemies at once, it's awkward to have to trigger these inputs, especially as a lot of these abilities need to be quickly turned on and off in order to not deplete them. Likewise the telekinetic throw is contextual and highlights objects in your field of view automatically but is mapped to the right trigger. So you're attacking but have to hold down a trigger and see a meter fill up before the thing you've picked up begins to fly through the air and it's all just a bit mushy. Dodges are also weird and the camera in general feels a bit close for me to clearly read enemy tells. It doesn't help that most of these enemies are strange plant things that don't exactly telegraph their attacks all that well.

No Caption Provided

The abilities come from your two sidekick characters who lend you their powers through a "psychic cable" of sorts. A lot of it is your general elemental buff type of business like electricity or fire augmentation to your existing weapon. Some of it is a bit more creative like turning your dodges into teleports or giving you clairvoyance to see invisible enemies. The male and female protagonist get different sidekicks (who I assume change up through the campaign) so I got to experience a lot of different powers. A lot of these powers are directly tied to enemies though and you are forced to use ability A to counter enemy A. There is this bull that covers the ground in lava or something and you have to pop on your "shield" ability that negates damage or you very quickly die. There are invisible plant things that you need the clairvoyance eyes to see and attack, fast hornets that you need bullet-time to even hit, or boxy plants that hide in their armor and you need to turn invisible to lure out. If nothing else it promotes power use instead of just mashing the melee on everything, but through all the effects it can be difficult to judge whats even happening at times.

Enemies are weird plants in heels I guess
Enemies are weird plants in heels I guess

The whole thing is highly stylized and super anime. There is even a JROCK song and full anime outro. The demo had these comic panel cutscenes with characters talking at one another which feels a bit cheap but maybe this is only for the demo (the game makes sure you know the demo is not the finished product but lets not kid ourselves). I watched all of these cutscenes for the female protagonist and then skipped them on the male playthrough. None of it really drew me in and there were already the same age ol' anime tropes on display but maybe it's better when experienced from the very start. Game itself looks nice and is very flashy when it comes to attacks. Level design seems to be a make or break element in all of this. Each character has a completely different area that culminates with the same boss fight. The male protagonist had a slightly more interesting city element before turning into more dilapidated construction sites that constituted the entirely of the other characters section.

I guess my final takeaway is that based on the demo I don't think I will buy this, but if it ever comes to Game Pass I'd probably give it a go for a few levels. I was hoping it would be one of the first "next-gen" titles but having played it I would say it gives off that impression. I think they are trying to do a lot, and maybe don't necessarily have the chops to pull it off, not in the gameplay department anyway. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Astral Chain which also featured anime characters with psychic abilities fighting weird monsters in a future setting. Scarlet Nexus just didn't feel great to play but maybe it's the effect of getting dumped into a demo instead of slowly building up to all the powers they introduce one after another? I'm somewhat curious about some of the anime nonsense already getting introduced in the demo like these teen looking adults having to take pills that stop them from aging so they can continue to fight the plant menace.

It's on the Xbox if you wanna give it a try.

As a pure sidenote - for all the work Microsoft put into revamping their console store, it is still seemingly impossible to find something unless you straight up search for it. I looked for Scarlet Nexus in New Games, Free Games, etc and could not locate it. This always happens with demos and I still haven't figured out where they hide them.

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SethMode

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#2  Edited By SethMode

@humanity: Pertaining to your last paragraph, is this on the the Xbox PC app because boy this this game is literally everywhere on the Xbox One X interface.

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deactivated-63f899c29358e

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It certainly seems too anime for my tastes so to speak, combine that with, as you describe it, a clumsy and awkward feel and I'm pretty sure I'll skip this one.

As for the Xbox store, there is a Demos section, you can most likely find it there.

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Efesell

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This is the God Eater and Code Vein team I'm pretty sure and frankly I'm down to follow them on their weird anime games going forward.

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Humanity

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#5  Edited By Humanity

@firepaw: @sethmode: I am speaking about the console native store. I am using a Series X. On my home screen the advertising squares are showing the newest NBA game 2k21 or whatever and Apex Skins. When I enter the store there is no Demo section. Home shows Deals and subscriptions and New games. The Games tab has everything from Add-Ons, Coming Soon, Top paid, Top free etc. There is no Demo section anywhere. The Demo itself is categorized as "Free" but when I enter Top Free it is also nowhere near the top and scrolling 3 screens down I also did not find it. I am in the EU so maybe there is some regional disparity with the menus but yah, like I'm not seeing it anywhere.

EDIT: I dug around some more and I finally found the demos section buried several levels down in the Games menu. Hopefully I will remember this for the future cause I'm pretty sure a long time ago I had found it once but obviously forgotten.

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brian_

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I've only played through the tutorial so far. Namco's action games always just feel a tier or two below the thing they are trying to mimic when it comes to their gameplay. I think this one probably feels the best in terms of what I've played from them in recent memory.Probably because it's not necessarily mimicking one game directly that I'm aware of. But it still feels like it's just "off" enough in that Namco Bandai way, that it just isn't fully satisfying my very specific standards for stylish action games.

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Humanity

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@brian_: It's hard to tell what they are going for. It's technically character action but there is that heavy reliance on abilities instead of actual "moves" and combos. Throwing stuff is vaguely reminiscent of Control, but in that game picking up objects and throwing them felt fast and impactful compared to the way Nexus has you charge them up. The color coded abilities almost remind me of ReCore? In that game you also did basic damage with your character but used your color coded bots as specials. The movement is ok but kind of sluggish in comparison to anything else in the genre and the dodge feels especially bad. I would go as far as to say that Nier Automata, as barebones as it was, felt more fun and frenetic to engage in combat than Scarlet Nexus does.

Despite all that naysaying I think you are absolutely right in that it's FINE but seems to just fall short of the mark where it could be genuinely engaging and fun. There were moments were it felt neat but they were moments.

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FacelessVixen

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So, Xbox exclusivity for a week, then the PlayStation consoles starting on the 28th, and a demo for PC is looking unlikely.

I'll come back in a week if I remember where my PS4 is.

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I played as the male character, Yuito, and initially got big NieR: Automata vibes from the level design, sounds, and color palette. That impression left me feeling disappointed by the combat initially. I agree that it feels stilted. Yuito's X, X, X sword combo has these dramatic pauses, so you can't really mash it out like 2B's light attack in NieR: Automata. Those pauses make it feels more like he swinging a heavy weapon despite each attack coming out fast.

Combined with the need to charge the psychokinetic attack, combat felt weirdly incongruous at first: everything looks fast but feels slow and deliberate. Eventually, I focused on chaining the follow-up attacks, which worked better with the fast-slow rhythm than button mashing. I also I loved when the game introduced the special object attacks on left trigger.

I agree that the camera is too close, the lock-on is clunky, and the teammate ability cooldowns are tad too short. Maybe the durations of the latter can be improved in the skill tree? I also don't like how much augmented reality stuff there is cluttering the screen.

Changing how I approached the combat made my time with the demo a lot more enjoyable. I appreciate what they're going for, but I'm not compelled to pay full price for it based on what I've played.

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@efesell said:

This is the God Eater and Code Vein team I'm pretty sure and frankly I'm down to follow them on their weird anime games going forward.

Same, tbh

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FacelessVixen

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Well, I found my PS4 Pro and played the demo.

Long story short: I'm more positive towards this game than the current majority here is. The Nier Automata comparisons don't completely sit well with me even though it's not technically wrong. I'm interested in seeing how the two protagonists will cross paths. And I really hope that the PC version doesn't have the same performance issues at launch with CPUs with more the four cores as God Eater 3 and Code Vein did because 30 frames is hard to go back to.

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Nodima

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Curious how those who were in this thread originally fared with the actual game, figured I'd bump it with my impressions after around 4 hours and 2 phases of the Kasane campaign.

First of all, goddamn this is a lot of animé. Having recently gotten back into Japanese games in a heavy way during the pandemic, I'm realizing that Yakuza, 13 Sentinels and Final Fantasy VII-R might all fall into tropes in various ways but there is still a stark contrast between good animé writing and boilerplate animé writing - Genshin Impact might've even been better than this. This, so far, is already so mired in the latter I'm not sure if it'll be able to recover. I'm fine swapping the language to Japanese, lowering the master volume and turning this into a podcast game - that's what helped me get back into heavily Japanese / Southeast Asian games in the first place - but I am thumbing through this dialogue so damn fast at this point...

Phase 2 spoiler: and that's a real shame, because what happens to Naomi at the end of this Phase was genuinely shocking, if not narratively certainly in terms of visuals and its implications for the world of Scarlet Nexus. Just as I was feeling like taking a break, suddenly I was all in on spending at least a couple more hours with the game today...only for the tone to immediately swing completely in the other direction, with a random character randomly taunting my party and entering a random boss battle only to then apologize for the encounter immediately afterward, completely resetting the tone of the game to neutral just a minute or two after I was feeling a genuine connection with / interest in where things were going. That sucked!

It's also just weirdly jilted more generally - afterward, in the stand-by phase, you're offering two bonding episodes with party members you barely know, both taking place at the same location but you just activate them from the text menu and watch the cutscene. One features a conversation dealing with the emotional fallout of a devastating event, but turns out nothing's wrong! The other's all about...the usefulness of various herbs in cooking? Like Justin McElroy jokes about during the Besties' episode on this game earlier this year, these characters are largely inscrutable and it's impossible to tell what this game wants from me.

As for the combat, I'm less ambivalent about it but I can't tell if it's ever going to fully click. Despite being lock-on heavy, the lock-on doesn't seem to actually fully lock-on? It seems like all it does is focus the camera, while Kasane is still free to flail randomly. Like @humanity said, these enemies are often hard to read, and the balance feels a bit off as nearly every enemy attack seems to cancel or stun lock your character while the same requires a very specific set of conditions for even basic enemies. Enemies also hit like a sack of bricks and you're only allowed to carry 10 health items at a time, which creates an artificial sort of stress considering there's a save point/item store roughly every 3 minutes (which fully heals your party, almost as if an apology for the constraints on the health items themselves).

That said, despite being somewhat illegible, when you get into a good rhythm with a group of enemies you've got a decent enough read on, it does feel pretty good swapping psychic connections and slamming big metal things into big, weird nature overtaking industry type creatures. It's not always easy to remember to hotswap and deactivate abilities as often as the game probably wants, but it doesn't feel unnatural thanks to Ghost of Tsushima having a similar control scheme for its ghost weapons and sword stances. And all that aside, both Austin Walker and the Besties Boys really went to bat for this game earlier in the summer, and despite finding the storytelling completely mediocre and absurd something about the mediocre absurdity of the real world makes this bizarrely comforting!

So...I'm gonna keep plugging away for now, at least until the combat stops feeding new ideas and concepts and begins to feel stale. I'm also weirdly fascinated by how desperate eastern games appear to be all games at once, so I'm curious to see just how broadly this hybrid of like five different games winds up spiraling out of control. This is a game with a close window button that prompts a window asking you to confirm you want to close the previous window, and that's an interaction you have every five minutes or so! What the fuck?!

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Humanity

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@nodima: I was kind of looking forward to this game before release, but that also had a bit to do with no other games coming out around that time. Admittedly I've put this game on a bit of a back burner until it comes to Game Pass which I'm sure eventually it will. I watched a lot of Twitch streams of it and they pretty much align with a lot of what you wrote. Lots of very boilerplate anime dialog, disjointed tonal shifts and just a general feeling of going through the motions. I can see this being, as you said, a really nice time filler somewhere down the road.

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Efesell

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It ended up being one of my favorites of the year so far, although it's definitely a late bloomer mechanically since combat only really opens up when you have a deep roster and add to that I think I chose the more difficult character in Kasane.

But it's a ton of fun when you finally have all your tools, and I really enjoyed what the story was doing as well once everything fits together.

Just don't do any side quests because they're all fuckin' garbage.

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Nodima

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#15  Edited By Nodima

@efesell: I also chose Kasane, and after re-listening to Austin describe what he likes about the game while playing I think you're right that she's the tougher character to start with. I get the impression if this continues adhering as closely to animé junk as it seems (I'm now entering Phase 6 - yes, the gameplay did start to get quite fun, and the bullshit quite bullshit!) then the Kasane playthrough was meant to be played in NG+ where you apparently start with a bunch of bonuses intended to cut the playtime in half. Being OP would certainly blend better with her attitude towards everyone.

Her campaign also seems like it's built to answer several questions you might have about the story after finishing the Yuito campaign - most of the confusion from Kasane's campaign seems to come from the game refusing to answer questions it asks, whereas I could see the Yuito campaign's questions mostly arising from things Kasane is doing in cutscenes when you come together.

Also, ditto the side quests. Luckily I'd read a similar comment on the Wikipedia page, and the first one I came across was a piddly reward of two or three healing items. To be honest, I'm level 27 now and about halfway through the story it seems and I still have no idea what any of the items are for, haven't come across any plug-ins or new weapons, etc. I might be willing to let the obtusity (wow, this is a word?) of the animé junk wash over me, but it's kind of insane I'm this deep into the game and am still confused about why there's an inventory or attire system at all!

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Efesell

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@nodima: I don't think she's meant to be NG+ or anything, she's just a technical character in contrast with Shonen Anime Sword Man over there. It only stands to reason that his gameplay is gonna be substantially more straightforward.

I think Kasane is the better option to pick overall, especially if you aren't planning on seeing both of them.

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Topcyclist

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@efesell@facelessvixenStrange This thread makes the game sound like it's trash, but the overall take online is positive and it even has a tv show that sums up the plot. I can't bring myself to not think this game is a decent to good effort. I don't know, first time on the net I saw such a down on it a majority. The gameplay felt tight and fun for me, and I was shocked the take was that its so bad. I think the nier automata stuff was fun but could use some of the cool abilities in this game. PS I think people overlook that it's an RPG so 40 hours or so. Unlike American stuff that annoying character in part 1 hour will likely be your favorite at hour 40. It grows on ya but you need to be patient. I also realize most on this thread are really against anime for anime so the storytelling of say cowboy bebop or ghost in the shell is more their speed rather than dbz or other more eastern stuff. I take it as just a medium to tell a story and japan just happens to tell their stories in a manner we have to get used to. I would hold it against the game unless you think the story on paper is really that bad. The twist part you get to in the game 4 hours in is shown in the animated show in like 45 minutes of the show. Lol. FOr people who think the story might not pick up fast enough the show and watching a few eps in fast forward may quell your taste, so you can see if it's worth your time. The plot seems to be interesting from what reviews say but you have to play it past what a normal game takes to just beat it, ie 7 or so hours. not a knock against it, rpg's are most often for taking in slowly much like an afternoon with a long book vs fast-forwarding a movie version of a book. To each their own. I just think the game would be better received if it was more westernized such as a more grounded setting, monsters that are more witcher esk vs crazy weird, had darker more serious chatting dialogue, or whatever twist the knob for our western audience. I agree though that the anime nees was much for me even given I prepared myself (so I see the anti anime crowd's point), I skipped the voice-acted stuff and speed read and let the show fill me in on what I missed. Just can't seem to see the huge flaws in this given so much worst It could be given its budget. Valiant effort IMO and hope the sequel hits and fixes issues others mentioned.

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Humanity

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@efesell: Can't put my finger on it but when I played the demo I vastly preferred the way she played than the male character. Something about her weapons made her seem a lot more agile and free flowing.

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I didn't post about the demo originally, but I did pick this up a while ago after hearing Jeff's positivity about it and seeing the PS5 version on sale at Target.

I'd say the game's main problem is that it takes too long to really get to the good stuff. The combat doesn't really come together until you get certain skills/upgrades, and the characters don't really start to show signs of life until around halfway through a route. The plot does eventually start playing with some interesting ideas, but rarely fully commits and ends up being frustrating in that even at the end it feels more like an introduction to a multi-media franchise than a self-contained story.

When the combat does click it feels amazing, but I did have an issue throughout where the combat mechanics felt like they weren't really designed with human opponents in mind. Some of the places the plot goes are ridiculous but in a fun way, and aside from one or two characters I didn't feel like there were too many egregiously bad Anime tropes.

I did start as Yuito before moving on to Kasane's route, and despite liking her more as a character I feel like her story suffers from some serious New Game+ vibes. It's worth a try, especially if you can get it on sale. Just ignore the side-quests.

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Nodima

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Just wanted to come back around and say...I don't think I'm going to finish this.

Without getting too specific, this story has gone all the way around the horn from inscrutable to charming and back again two or three different times by the end of the 8th chapter, to the point that I just can't care about anything that's happening. Enemies aren't friends and friends aren't friends and the paltry cutscene style (for those just reading this thread out of curiosity, think the static images from Yakuza 0) just doesn't serve the scope of this story at all.

But probably the worst bit for me is the writing. I can't tell if this is just lazy translation or the original Japanese is this boiler plate, but this is some of the most circular, verbose and ultimately recursive dialogue I've seen in a long time. Kasane is the only character who seems to have any voice at all, but thanks to conversations constantly devolving into who's more popular or apologetic she's often forced to play along lest she become unrelatable to what I have to imagine most anime-game fans would expect of her. I don't really know on that front, but I constantly hear Austin Walker saying to Rob Zacny some variation of "you know exactly what this is and you know if you like it" while describing some Japanese piece of entertainment and I really, really tried but this just kind of sucks.

Which...is a bummer because I'm struggling to imagine anything this year that would knock the big Other reveal early in the game off my favorite moments in a game from 2021. I love the design of that creature and the absolute bullshit behind its reveal, as well as peeling back what's going on there...it's just all getting buried behind such grindy fight design that the combat's losing its charm and the moment-to-moment story absolutely isn't capable of picking up the slack.

Maybe I'll come back on Easy mode late in the year or something, but after 14 hours and 8 chapters I'm getting a little tired of rolling my eyes at this thing and it sounds like it only goes deeper into the well from here based on some of the more lukewarm reviews out there.

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FacelessVixen

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@topcyclist: For me, it just reinforces my nagging thoughts that those who don't really get Japanese game design should just stay in their lane and stop bringing down the vibe for the people around here who do get it; which I know is selfish and that the notion of seeking a community of similar interests because their opinions would seem "more qualified" compared to the "normies" has its own logical fallacies. But, fuck it. I'll be "that guy" and take the bullet on this one.

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Topcyclist

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#22  Edited By Topcyclist

@facelessvixen: I hope no one rags on you cause I'm sure you didn't mean it in the way people will usually rag against you for. I see it as akin to getting annoyed by your mother and grandmother walking into a room while you're watching the final episode of a show that's at a super emotional scene and they scream, why does he or she still watch this melodramatic crap. Sure they're entitled to that opinion but boy does it bum you out, then you go on thinking in your pool of people that your enjoyment is so singular and secluded and there's something you're missing if you didn't hate the thing as much. It uses to help to understand why a thing had flaws or was bad, but these days I started getting bummed more out since for just about anything you can find a wealth of info on why anything is complete trash. (this isn't about this tread exactly since this forum is presenting their info on their takes as respectfully as possible and in the discussion.) I always relate it to how you can type in ___ is overrated in Reddit and get anything the pound of cathartic hate bone for something you dislike or didn't get. I sometimes gotta remember a thing could also just not work for someone cause at the time it didn't fit their mold, and people forget we change. With so much communication was getting influxes of opinions branched off into positive and negative, where we assume that all the negative ones are all of the opinions when it's just an open discussion, and vise versa with people speaking so highly of say Zelda and we never learn that someone dislikes the open nature or something we thought was well-liked by most. It's a well of opinions of every spectrum where reviews have almost become pointless to me since I can find a perfect opposite for any take. That said, the info about parts of a game and how someone interpreted it is useful and insightful, as long as you don't take it to heart as an opinion overruling your own. Someday many people can come to like European game design or Japanese or whatever. Japanese game design is just so prevailing in games due to a lot of the game market coming from their studios. I just think they enjoy their games the way they make em and we sometimes push to have them more westernized ( generally less melodrama, realistic, grounded, succinctly written, face-paced, etc.) I'm sure they think our games are trope-heavy with big brolic guys saving the world in military gear or space marines saving the world from America, etc. Just crap examples but you get the idea. Seeking a community of similar interest can be fun, but I like the balance of hearing both sides since I'm mostly on the fence. I know the game isn't perfect or good in some peoples sense, but I respect the Moxi since it looks like they stretched a small budget and made something that interests them, though I know they didn't blow their minds thinking up completely original tropes, they have some fun enemies that freak me out in a good way and I heard the comradery in members gets good (later on so many won't see it). When playing a long RPG you tend to overlook the initial hump. Western games tend to frontload better but I enjoy the sense of long play from a good RPG even if I haven't really played one to completion for a while. Rambling so ill leave it at that.

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theonewhoplays

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#23  Edited By theonewhoplays

I tried the PS4 Pro demo with the girl and the combat felt absolutely dreadful. Clunky, unresponsive and like molasses. Maybe it's a performance issue and it feels better on current consoles? The writing felt acceptable, but pretty dry and boring, like CrunchyRoll subs, so not something that distracts from the terrible combat. The cutscene style is awful- even static manga pictures would be preferable, at least they usually convey some personality.

I tried the Tales of Arise demo and while far from perfect I would say I preferred it to this in pretty much every way. The combat (in the demo) was extremely shallow even compared to other Tales, but felt a lot more satisfying and flowed much better. The writing and translation wasn't anything to write home about either, but there were some flashes of charm sprinkled throughout the demo. The skits are done in the same way as Scarlet though, which is a huge shame. Again, static images with some mouth flaps would be preferable to the dead-eyed in-game models. Overall, it seems like a decent Tales game, but I didn't expect it to feel so... cheap? Under the shiny Unreal coat it feels like a 15 year old game, with combat that seems (in the demo at least) less involved than in a PS3 game like Xillia. Still somewhat enjoyable so I will probably pick it up on a sale.

Edit: Feels like I should mention that Xillia 1 and 2 are the only PS-era Tales games I've actually beaten. I tried Graces F and Berseria and bounced off them super hard. But Xillia clicked well enough that I still want to give the newer games a shot.

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Topcyclist

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#24  Edited By Topcyclist

@facelessvixen: I'm also surprised so many are ragging on a game jeff thought was nice. Usually, the chat's in backing on jeff's takes, I'd expect him to not like the new jap RPG for the reasons in this forum much like I thought he didn't like FF7 or FF10 cause of how they are...weird lol. I guess the game is a lot worst than I expected, was surprised the demo seemed nice for what it was. Usually, demos are soo much worst and shorter. This gave me a general idea of what I was getting into, not big-budget AAA but fine for what it was. Gotta look into it more or wait for gamepass, all the reviews online seem positive from critics for the most part but it could be a situation where their use to jap RPGs, this one seems very split, if you can handle jap RPGs or not plus gameplay etc.

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Nodima

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#25  Edited By Nodima

@topcyclist: So I'll say for my part, as someone with some of the longer/more negative posts in this thread (but also really positive at one point!), I mostly enjoyed my time with this game. I didn't even put it down because I was "done" with it, per se. But as @facelessvixen is kind of alluding to, I think, Scarlet Nexus is a very surface level game thematically. I've referred to Austin Walker's discussion of this game on Waypoint in almost every post I've made here because he both convinced me to give the game a shot, but also made it clear why I might fall off. He mentions that he picked the male protagonist because he could tell immediately that he was your standard young male animé protagonist, and that based on attract reels and summaries he essentially knew what that character's ark was going to be. Similarly, you meet generals that allude to alternate identities, small brother/big brother (not necessarily younger/older) dynamics, and so on, and if you know storytelling tropes you know what's going to happen to these people.

Austin went on to describe that for him, especially in Japanese storytelling, this is a sort of comfort food, and I think that's a fair read. I also don't think tropes are inherently bad, but I also have a thing with the way most Japanese entertainment, especially geek/cartoon stuff, is translated into English that I think loses whatever that art was trying to convey. And I think voice acting goes a long way towards causing that visceral reaction in me. Most recently I experienced this with Final Fantasy VII Remake, where my first four hours or so playing in English were absolutely littered with cringe-worthy dialogue and confusing line reads. Once I turned the voices to Japanese, most of my problems were alleviated, but I still found the writing sub, say, Yakuza Zero, or Metal Gear or other games that just seem to fundamentally understand translating the essence of a Japanese game's writing without necessarily translating it verbatim.

I suppose it's not even Japanese specific - I just remembered that I found Genshin Impact absolutely intolerable until I turned the language track to its native Chinese, at which point the vocal tone felt more in line with the bizarre sentence/conversation structure of that game.

Scarlet Nexus has this issue I find so frustrating with English translations in that the dialogue is so, so labored. This is not a 1:1 example of dialogue, but conversations will go something like

"Kyoka, do you not realize that we are your friends?"

"My...friends...?"

"Yes, your friends! We care about you!"

"Are you my friends? Could you ever be?"

"Why else would we have journeyed into this cave with you? I mean, you are quite cute, but certainly that isn't all there is to it!"

"I guess...I could let myself have friends, I suppose."

"Just remember, I might have to kill you one day!"

"I'll hold you to that. Just remember that I'll be the one doing the killing."

"That's the old Kyoka I remember hearing so much about!"

"Eh...am I...am I really so different than myself...?"

To the point that it's just maddening. Not least of which because this is a conversation involving as many as six different characters and yet, other than <insert character trait here>, everyone in the party is speaking from the same collective voice all the time. I could go back and randomly apply a different line up there to each character and, after 14 hours with the game, even I couldn't tell you if I was misrepresenting those characters in that scene or not.

If there were more animation backing these things up (especially considering what does get animated usually looks pretty good!) there'd be something to distract me from how stupid this all sounds given the stakes of the world and these characters' positions in it. Initially there's definitely something hilarious to the concept of two people battling to the death and getting tea afterward, but it's a trope the game returns to so often it quickly loses that oddball charm in favor of a, like, "oh, this game doesn't have any other ideas, does it?" that makes it feel, like the dialogue itself, so belabored and indulgent.

I'd say from hours, oh, 6 to 12, I was all in on this game. I wanted to see more of the glorious (truly demented, maybe the best since DmC: Devil May Cry) enemy design, I wanted to see just how fast and loose this story was going to play with who is on who's side and why, I wanted to see how the combat system expanded, I was honestly super into it. But the game took a turn for me around chapter 7 where I realized how repetitive the gameplay loop was, and I noticed that characters weren't so much growing and changing over the course of this story as getting shifted around a mood board to suit whatever purpose the story required of them at a given moment that it just became this sort of gaping void devouring itself.

So I think if you are used to that sort of thing, and more importantly enjoy it, Scarlet Nexus has a lot to offer. But for me its density was a consequence of breadth rather than depth, and the storytelling is just a little too broad for me to be totally satisfied with it.

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@nodima: Ah, great post, this gives me a better idea than just people saying its trope heavy jap anime bs, etc. I like to think it's also a mood thing as the old GB faithful said. If you're in the mood sometimes simple plots are comfort food. Sometimes your in the mood for something challenging. Sometimes something challenging comes off pretentious for some (see the current hate for Green Knight for example). It's all mood. Additionally, I'd say the way tone is conveyed for Japanese stories is hard to work with how we are used to it in other areas. Like how they flashback when telling you oh yeah I loved that person that's supposed to die or whatever, we know this info from the scenes beforehand but the way of storytelling has them retell you stuff you know. It's just these little things that annoy some newer people to the genre and I can't even defend it more than saying yeah that's that. That dialogue sounded iffy but I could let it slide then you got to the end and mentioned how they all sound like anyone could be saying it. Yeah very true. You have to be able to tell the character through tone and what a person would say. A happy-go-lucky character in real life could get morbid but since it's a story was likely to keep them more consistent for sake of storytelling.

I'll admit not all Japanese work has the issues that make Americans scratch their head. Wonky storytelling and dialogue is everywhere. But the language barrier hits hard. I heard a lot agree that changing to the native language somehow fixes these issues. Glad to hear the game's not that bad thou, it's just got that quality where it has good enough parts you hope for more, like how I felt hearing the buzz on 12 minutes the game and playing it, only to wish it was more satisfying based off the premise. Like your thinking to the creator...there was so much more here and you just did this.

I'll continue giving the show a watch and see if it's worth skipping the story and just playing for gameplay, which I enjoyed (i think the girl is more fulfilling, hint never choose the everyman simple straight forward character if you're looking for deeper gameplay). Since the show is like at most gonna be 4 hours vs a 40-hour RPG, and will give me a wiki-like summary. I don't mind if it's a low budget or running on a treadmill since I just want the gist of it before it comes on game pass or reduces in price. fingers crossed. Been looking for a really fun RPG to just get lost in. FF series use to do the trick although I really only played 9 first then was ok on 7, with 4 being comfort food.