After feverishly cranking out three well-received Castlevania titles (Lament of Innocence for PS2 and two GBA adventures) in a little over a year, Producer Koji Igarashi needs a break from all the vamping. Im not Gothic all the time! he says. Luckily, hes working on just the thing to beat the undead blues: next falls Nanobreaker for PS2.
Although fundamentally similar to Lament of Innocence (theyre both 3D action titles, after all), the games characters, settings, and story lines couldnt be more different: Nanobreaker is set in a bleak cyberpunk dystopia where humanity and machinery have melded. I decided to make a futuristic game this time, explains Igarashi, and nanomachines and nanotechnology are often in the news these days, so I thought it would make a fun theme for a game. Its unclear whether Nanobreaker's microscopic mechanisms should be considered fun, though the baby robots here cause serious chaos, mixing with human DNA to create a limitless army of so-called Orgamech mutants relentlessly bent on global annihilation.
Of course, its up to you to thwart this potential robopocalypse, but even your character (who remains mysteriously nameless at this point) isnt entirely human himself. You play as the militarys most powerful cyborg, explains Director Kenichiro Kato. Hes viewed as a weapon instead of a soldier...as a cyborg, hes still suffering from the dark side of human emotions; he doesnt want to continue killing, but hes still not human. Hes caught between worlds. His muddled emotional state and troubled past will unravel as the game progresses, but thankfully, his internal strife doesnt keep him from unleashing cybernetic beat downs.
Your primary weapon is the Plasma Blade, a glowing saber that conceals some stylish secrets. It has two major attacks: slicing vertically and horizontally, Igarashi explains. You can also thrust enemies into the air to perform various combos that cause the Plasma Blade to change form. For example, after a certain combo, it transforms into a gigantic ax that cleaves enemies in two with one stroke.
So, despite a radically different setting and tone, Nanobreaker's underlying game-play sounds much like Lament's: pure, visceral action laden with complex combos. Also, it sounds like Nanobreaker wont suffer from the same flaw that kept Igarashis first 3D Castlevania from attaining perfection repetitive level design. With Lament of Innocence, the maps were divided into many small rooms, Kato says, but with Nanobreaker, each area is much larger in scale...this will be the major difference. Exploring Orgamech-infested power plants and bombed-out buildings will hopefully feel much more organic and open than the endless kill-all-the-baddies rooms of Draculas castle.
Download Nano Breaker
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Nano Breaker follows a true, but overly tired tradition in action games. Here's the basic formula:
Step One: Throw a million enemies at the player.
Step Two: Repeat Step One.
Now, if the action in itself was compelling and fun, then this major flaw would be largely forgivable, but this just isn't the case with Nano Breaker. There's no flow to the combat aside from lethargic, and as a result, there are no visceral thrills to be had. The most innovative thing that Nano Breaker brings to the table is a customizable combo system that allows you to choose what combos your character has at his disposal, largely ensuring you won't be mashing the attack buttons without thought. This in itself certainly has its charms, as it adds a bit of strategy to how you approach combat, but unfortunately, it's not enough to make up for the sloppy design that permeates through the entire game. The erratic camera often frustrates and the poorly implemented checkpoints frustrate even more. The dimwitted AI doesn't impress, and conversely, the gallons of gore that's needlessly spewed about makes it seem like Nano Breaker is trying all too hard to impress.
Nano Breaker is comparable to Castlevania: Lament of Innocence in many ways, but Nano Breaker lacks many of the things that made Lament of Innocence worthwhile: interesting environments, a compelling narrative, and the actual Castlevania license. In these respects, Nano Breaker is completely cliché: the environments are void of interaction, the hokey sci-fi storyline might inspire you to groan at its pure cheese factor, and the star of the show is a hero that's just too hard to like.
There's not much to write home about in the visual department either. Probably the biggest detractor to the graphics is that the environments are so barren and bleak, starring an all too familiar apocalyptic landscape that might make your eyes bleed from boredom.
If you want to be technical about it, Nano Breaker really isn't all that bad; it's just uninspired and trite, un-compelling and absolutely average. It's another hum-ho action title that won't likely entertain unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past five years ' and hey, if you have been, there are a lot of other action games that you need to catch up on in lieu of Nano Breaker.