Scarlet Nexus’s combat system is comprised of several mechanics, all of which can be used in tandem. Understanding how each of the following systems works will help you get the most out of the game’s satisfying combat.
Your Weapon Attack in Scarlet Nexus is one of two pieces that make up the foundation of its combat system. It works like it most action games. Press the Square button repeatedly to unleash a string of three attacks with your weapon. Kasane’s third attack creates a spinning storm with her blades that strikes enemies in an area. Yuito’s, on the other hand, ends with a powerful slash that damages a single target.
Both character’s Weapon Attack combos are effective at starting up your offense. Where they, shine, though, when used on knocked down or incapacitated targets. To make the most of these moments, you’ll want to go beyond the basic 3-hit strings. Both Yuito and Kasane can use the Expand tree of the Brain Map to unlock a 4th Weapon Combo Attack Hit. The sword-wielder also has a 5th Weapon Combo Attack Hit node he can unlock.
Taking to the skies is a big part of the Scarlet Nexus combat system. It’s a system available to Kasane specifically and is the key to dealing damage while avoiding multiple foes. After jumping in the air, you can perform a 2-hit attack string with Kasane’s blades by repeatedly pressing the Square button. This will deal damage to a foe in the air while also keeping you suspended until the attack ends.
You can further expand the Aerial Attack combo via the Brain Map by taking the 3rd Aerial Weapon Combo Attack Hit node. Also, after taking the Aerial Dash node, you can take the Aerial Dash Attack node to add another air attack to your arsenal.
While Weapon Attacks in Scarlet Nexus are all about damage, Special Attacks have an added utility layer. Both protagonists can use them within their combos once and benefit from their effects. Taking specific Brain Map nodes can also expand the number of times you can use Special Attacks within a combo.
The primary reason you want to use the Special Attack is its Psychokinesis gauge recovery effect. Compared to Weapon Attacks, the amount of gauge you get back from Specials is more substantial.
The other purpose of Special Attacks is their utility, which differs between Yuito and Kasane. The former can strike multiple foes in a wide area while stepping forward. This Moving Spin Attack gives Yuito a fair bit of range and area-of-effect damage. On the other hand, Kasane’s Special strikes foes in front of her while she takes a bit step backward. This Back-Step Attack allows her to gain distance from foes, facilitating her ranged playstyle and allowing her an extra escape option.
On top of all this, both protagonists can charge their Special Attacks after taking certain nodes in the Brain Map.
Like all OSF members, Yuito and Kasane have a unique psionic ability that allows them to get a leg-up over the Others. Called Psychokinesis, this skill allows them to use their powers to move objects and slam them into their enemies for big damage. There are two types of Psychokinesis uses which depend on each object’s size and properties.
Smaller and more conventional objects, such as debris and bicycles, can be moved by holding down R2. After a few seconds of charging, the object will be thrown at the target foe. The bigger the object is, the more damage it deals and the more enemies it will affect.
Objects that are larger and have special properties can be moved using the L2 version. This takes a longer time to charge and after the initial hit, you’ll be given additional options. For example, a group of chemical barrels can be slammed for an extra hit by holding up on the left thumbstick, Soaking enemies in the process. Another example is buses, which you can ride and steer until you reach your target, after which you can toss them at groups of foes for big damage.
Psychokinesis options and attacks can be further enhanced via the Brain Map. One of the most important ones you can take is a follow-up attack you can perform immediately after knocking down enemies.
Your primary defense skill in Scarlet Nexus, dodging is a cornerstone of the game’s combat system. Like most games, dodging allows you to evade enemy attacks and has some invincibility frames.
An important thing to note is that dodging can only be performed when you’re not performing any attacks. This means you can’t interrupt an animation with a dodge. Therefore, you’ll have to time your attacks and stop your assault accordingly in order to avoid taking damage.
You can also use a technique called Perfect Dodge by pressing Circle during your enemy’s attack. Successful Perfect Dodges will result in a slow-down effect, giving you time to decide what you want to do.
By taking certain Brain Map nodes, you can give both Yuito and Kasane several Perfect Dodge follow-up attacks that allow them to damage foes and turn the tide of battle.
The SAS powers system in Scarlet Nexus allows you to further enhance your combat capabilities. You can borrow your squad members’ unique powers to grant Yuito and Kasane powerful effects such as infusing Weapon Attacks with elemental damage and making them invulnerable.
The SAS powers system is a whole system in itself so we’ve created a guide that analyzes it in-depth.
It’s not an action game in 2021 without some kind of flashy finishing attack. In Scarlet Nexus it’s called Brain Crush and it’s every bit as satisfying as it sounds. By draining the yellow Crush meter underneath an enemy’s health bar, they become stunned, exposing their core. By hitting L2, you’ll perform one of the many different finisher attacks which destroy the core and instantly kill Others. You can have a look at all the different Brain Crush finishers in this video.
The Brain Map has several nodes that add effects to the Brain Crush attack. One of the most useful ones is Brain Crush SAS Restore which will recover a substantial amount of SAS powers, allowing you to use them more often.
Brain Drive is the “going Super Saiyan” of Scarlet Nexus. It’s a state of increased focus that grants both Yuito and Kasane several buffs. This state is activated automatically once the Brain Drive gauge is full. Filling up this gauge can be done by defeating enemies and taking damage.
The key benefits of Brain Drive are the following:
- Increased attack speed
- Reduced amount of Psychokinesis gauge required
- Reduced Psychokinesis charge and lift time
The Brain Drive gauge depletes over time after activation, which is significantly slower when outside of combat.
By using Brain Drive for a certain amount of time, you can gain access to Brain Field, which gives you the ability to move multiple objects at the same time to perform devastating attacks. Once Brain Field becomes ready, you need to hit L2+R2 together.
Be warned, however, that Brain Field puts a massive strain on both Yuito and Kasane. If you lose control of it, you’ll die and it will be game over. Therefore, be sure to cancel it by hitting L2+R2 again.
Brain Drive has a whole Brain Map tree dedicated to it. Some of its best nodes include Brain Drive Auto-Heal, Brain Drive Gauge Charge Rate Up, and Brain Drive Bonus Multiplier Up.