Nanobreaker Impressions

The man behind the last several Castlevania games is branching out with something a little more sci-fi in nature. Read on for the first details on Jake and his shape-shifting plasma blade.

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Konami has announced a new 3D action adventure game for the PlayStation 2 today. The game is called Nanobreaker, and its development is being led by Koji Igarashi, the man behind the last several installments in the Castlevania series. Nanobreaker is being built using an enhanced version of the engine that powered the first Castlevania game for the PlayStation 2, Lament of Innocence, and like that game, Nanobreaker looks to be a fast-moving action game with a juggle-friendly combo system that's similar to the one popularized by Capcom's Devil May Cry.

Nanobreaker takes place in the year 2015, and players star as Jake Warren, a cyborg soldier armed with a shape-shifting weapon known as the plasma blade. Jake is sent to an island research facility after that facility's experiments--nanotechnology to assist humanity on a daily basis--turn on their creators and begin to feed on human blood and the iron of new buildings to self-replicate into an army and take over.

Jake has five basic attack moves. He has horizontal and vertical slashes, and a modifier button (R1) turns these two attacks into a stabbing motion and a launching slash, respectively. Finally, Jake can morph his sword into a lasso of sorts and execute a "capture" move, which grabs an enemy and flings him toward Jake, setting that foe up with a combo attack. This move can also be used to drag boxes around, which probably means that we'll see at least one box-moving puzzle in the game. The combo attacks are where the shape-shifting properties of Jake's plasma blade come into play. You don't morph your weapon at will. Instead, certain combos will turn Jake's weapon into an axe, a giant hammer, or other objects. This puts a nice finishing touch on your combos and, well, looks pretty cool. Immediately following the combo, Jake's weapon returns to its normal state. Eliminating enemies builds up your special meter, and once it's full you can execute one of several room-clearing special attacks.

Graphically, Nanobreaker has some really nice touches. The game runs at a pretty static frame rate at this point and has a lot of pretty impressive effects. The most obvious effect is the large amount of fluid that gushes out of enemies as you hack them up. Machine blood spews out of foes and covers almost every surface as you do your dirty work, and the blood sticks around after the fight.

The game will be a Castlevania-style adventure game, meaning that you'll have free rein to go where you want, though some areas will require you to get certain power-ups before you can access them.

Nanobreaker is currently scheduled to be released in North America this fall. We'll have more on Nanobreaker as it becomes available.

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