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Scarlet Nexus guide: How to increase bond levels

Learn the difference between bond levels

Kyoka and Kasane from Scarlet Nexus Image: Bandai Namco Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment via Polygon

The characters you fight alongside in Scarlet Nexus are not only your platoon members but your friends. By keeping them by your side in battle, hanging out with them in between story missions, and giving them gifts, you can increase your bond level with them. The higher the bond level, the more useful they’ll be during combat.

Polygon’s Scarlet Nexus bonding guide will teach you how increase your bond level, which actions help to increase bond levels, and what benefits you receive as your relationships grow.

How to increase bond levels

As you play through the story of Scarlet Nexus, you’ll have multiple opportunities to increase your bond level with each character. There are both active and passive ways for you to boost your relationships with everyone.

Bond episodes

Between each mission, you’ll head to your hideout for a standby phase. At your base, you can talk to your team to see what they’re thinking. Sometimes characters will invite you to hang out and this will trigger a Bond Episode.

A Bond Episode in Scarlet Nexus
When you choose a Bond Episode, it will trigger a cutscene
Image: Bandai Namco Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment via Polygon

Bond Episodes may appear as a dialogue option or they may be triggered when replying to a brain message. In either case, you’ll get a prompt that lets you choose a Bond Episode as an option. Once you trigger a Bond Episode, a cutscene will play showing you and that character. These short scenes are passive events that explore the growing relationship between your main character and a platoon member.

Giving gifts

Once you start collecting materials while on your main missions, you can learn how to exchange materials for items in Satori’s shop. While you can exchange materials for most of the items you can buy, exchanges are the only way to receive presents.

A gift information screen in Scarlet Nexus
Gifts that show a yellow heart are perfect for that character
Image: Bandai Namco Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment via Polygon

Once you have a few presents in your inventory, you’ll gain the option to give gifts. Gifts that characters will especially like will show a yellow heart next to that character’s avatar. If the character really likes the gift, they will talk about it once you give it to them. After giving them the gift, they will display it somewhere inside the hideout.

While you can also give characters generic gifts that everyone will like, specific gifts will have a greater effect on their bond level.

Add characters to your party

As you progress in Scarlet Nexus, you’ll gain multiple party members who can assist you with their SAS abilities. At a certain point, you’ll have more available party members than you have active party space. To boost your bond level with certain characters, make them your two active party members.

The party screen in Scarlet Nexus
You can have two active teammates and multiple reserve characters
Image: Bandai Namco Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment via Polygon

While you can add up to four teammates to your usable SAS skills, you can only have two party members. The two teammates in your party will have extended SAS meters compared to the other two you assign. Your party members will also recover their SAS gauge faster.

Bond level benefits

As you increase your bond level with a character, not only will you learn more about them, but you’ll gain upgraded abilities on the battlefield.

The bond level screen in Scarlet Nexus
Each bond level adds new abilities
Image: Bandai Namco Studios/Bandai Namco Entertainment via Polygon

Each new level adds a different ability to support you through SAS abilities.

  • Level 1 is the default level you start at. This level gives you access to each character’s psychic ability as a SAS skill.
  • Levels 2 and 3 differ between characters, but between these two levels, you’ll gain a few new abilities when their SAS ability is active. Guardian Vision is a skill that randomly actives and lets your teammates absorb damage for you. Combo Vision lets you press a special command that calls your teammate in for a special attack. Not only that, but each character grants an augment to your main character when you activate their SAS ability. For instance, Kyoko’s clone ability creates a double of your character in addition to her default ability to duplicate objects that you throw. For Gemma, you’ll gain his default ability to negate damage, but he can also make you immune to status effects.
  • Level 4 grants you Assault Vision. At certain times during battle, teammates at this level will call your name. If you press a certain button combination at that time, they dive in for a special attack.
  • Level 5 increases the duration of each character’s SAS ability. Some characters also add special benefits. For instance, Shiden’s electrokinesis negates any shock damage from enemies when his SAS is active.
  • Level 6 further enhances the active SAS ability by adding unique effects. For example, Kyoka makes two copies of objects that you throw. Gemma’s ability to block damage may automatically trigger even if his SAS ability isn’t active.

You can check each teammates’ SAS abilities by going into the main menu, and then choosing SAS > Confirm SAS effects. When in this menu, you can read a full description of each bond level and see a video preview of each effect.

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