Click the logo for an P.N. 03 trailer (2:18, 12.0MB MPEG)
One of the games has to be the least popular of the "Capcom 5" - the five hyped titles that Capcom pledged to GameCube, only to slowly back out by "clarifying" that only one of the titles would be exclusive to the Nintendo console and then continuing to really stress the possibility of porting the other four. Resident Evil 4, the big exclusive gun of the bunch, has its name to rely on, featuring more zombies, more viruses, and another guy in a Japanese game donning a frilly jacket. Viewtiful Joe has its Jojo's Bizarre Adventure aestheticism, Killer 7 its pronounced use of the color purple and a retro-chic design where you can practically hear the jazz soundtrack, and Dead Phoenix is embroidered in an enigmatic fantasy setting. And what does P.N. 03 have? Monochrome robots.
But of course, it looks like that's all part of the plan and style of the game. Produced by a veteran of the Resident Evil series, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, P.N. 03 (short for Product Number 03) evinces the story of Vanessa Z. Schneider, a self-hired freelance bounty hunter who specializes in cyborgs and robots, which will do well for this mission. The CAMS (Computer Arms Management System) neural network goes haywire and the humans are being slaughtered by robots. And what's a Capcom game without a character with a troubled past? In this case, Vanessa's parents were also slaughtered by robots and now it's another chance for payback.
The original vision of the game was to have Vanessa utilize a giant gun, but then was rethought into her wielding dual pistols, but there was probably too much similarity between that and a certain other third-person Capcom title, so now she fires bolts of energy out of her hand. Vanessa will also do little dance moves while firing shots or even sometimes while standing still, and this dance-groove theme reflects the combo- and chain-based gameplay, where you must destroy enemies in succession. The more you kill within a timeframe the more points you get. Sounds like Space Channel 5 meets GunGrave, doesn't it?
The points are used to purchase new suits, of which there are over a dozen, and each one has a different color and different attributes in four categories: barrier (defense), palm shot (strength of the weapon), automatic (rapidity of shots), and energy, which is used for devastating room-clearing special attacks.
Initial response to the Japanese version has been split, with some comparing it to Sega's GUNVALKYRIE. First of all, the control scheme may take a little while to get used to since Vanessa can't move while shooting, though she can perform a handy array of dodge maneuvers. The aforementioned colors, which appear to be drab (usually gray or brown), may be off-putting, but it looks like the creators wish to convey a detached and mellow mood, since the game is based on mostly indoor environments and chaining kills together.
So how will the American public react to P.N. 03? Unfortunately, all the other games that seem to bear a little similarity to this have been commercial failures (Space Channel 5, GUNVALKYRIE , GunGrave) but the more public-friendly name of Capcom and a “From the producer of Resident Evil” tag should help move copies. The game has been out in Japan for about two weeks and while an official American release hasn't been announced yet, Nintendo is listing it for an August release.
· · · Sqoon