Forget the guns, forget the muscle, forget the testosterone. P.N.03 manages to bring sleek artistry and a sense of femininity to the dominantly male world of shooters.
In P.N.03you play Vanessa Schneider, a shapely freelance mercenary hired to take out a world of automated death. Instead of barreling through the game, guns in hand, you make use of a mixture of a single hand gun and an array of choreographed ballet-like dodges to slip past enemy fire and shoot off the occasional and completely dazzling charge weapon. At its heart, P.N.03 is a third-person shooter, but the designers really went out of their way to streamline both the look and feel of the game.
The levels are set in empty, white, antiseptic rooms. The enemies, all robots, pack powerful weapons and transform into different shapes in mid-battle. Schneider dances through it all, grooving to the game's soundtrack as she coolly blasts baddies and avoids laser fire.
One of the more intriguing features of this game is that you earn points during play which can be used in different parts of a level and in between levels to purchase upgrades to your suit, new suits or game continues. Each of the nine Aegis suits has three upgradeable traits: its defense, offense, and special move strengths. The suits also each have unique special moves, each performed with a different combination of buttons. To perform a special move you have to have a enough energy in your energy drive. The move itself is probably the most stylized part of a highly stylized game. Once you shoot off a special move, Schneider goes into a sort of ballet-like dance, shooting off arcing lasers in all directions and destroying a screen full of robots. During the move enemy fire has no effect on you.
The controls in the game allow you to run or face Schneider in different directions with the joystick, or dodge left or right with the shoulder buttons. A shoulder button double-tap makes Schneider do a side flip and she can also do forward and backward flips with the jump button. You can also do a quick about-face with the Z button.
This game might be a bit too streamlined and stylized for some, coming off as more simplistic than artistic, but I personally love it. P.N.03 makes you feel as if you're in control of a laser-toting ballerina with death at her fingertips, and that's all good in my book.