alucardsfate's Nano Breaker (PlayStation 2) review

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Just a step above Sci-Fi Channel original movie...

Best Feature: The combo system is quite well varied if you get far enough into the game...

Worst Feature: You may not play far enough to get those varied attacks...and the damn jump puzzles!

Let's get one thing straight right now, I tried so hard...SOOO HARD to like this game. I really did. I'm a huge Castlevania fan and a fan of IGA by extension and when I found his non-Castlevania effort at Best Buy for only $10 brand new I scooped it up. I wouldn't say my hopes were high, but I expected an enjoyable action romp at least, and at first it was...

The game opens up with a short backstory, about how nanomachines have taken over the small nanomachine island the game takes place on, and the only way to stop them is to deactivate the main computer. Only there is only one person who knows how, a female scientist who stupidly goes alone. The military then finds you a supposedly executed cyborg warrior named simply Jake (A badass name there!) and dumps you on the island to find her, and provide her with whatever help and protection she needs to complete her mission. Hey at least you get an awesome plasma blade. The game sets you down, and the first thing you notice are...the graphics. They are so...bland is the only word I can use. Grey is the favorite color of this game, aside from the "Oil" which you can now think of as blood, cause its the only other color you will see for the entire game and boy howdy will you see it. (At least they let you pick what color that is) The game isn't hideous, but it is definitely not really that pleasant to look at, and you can't usually tell some enemies apart aside from the fact that some walk and some fly and shoot things at you.

Speaking of the enemies, smart they ain't. Usually they will walk slowly at you, and on the off chance that one of them feels the need to attack you, your nicely responsive controls will allow you to dodge in seconds. This usually puts the slow attack where you were 5 seconds ago, and you safely out of range. Other then that, they will usually walk headlong into their own demise at the hands of your surprisingly deep combo system. Your plasma blade is usually a normal sword with the electricity surrounding it, until you get the combos together. Then you'll morph it into any number of larger pure energy blades and hammers. (Think Necrid in Soul Calibur 2) And as you get farther into the game and find more combo chips, your combos get longer, your attacks more lethal. This makes the mass murder of your foes much easier, but you will die quite a bit. How?

Not by the enemies, mind you. Other hazards await you, from falling junkyard magnets, to jump puzzles. Okay, mostly jump puzzles. Now this game's camera is not that good, it works but that's about all you can say. So why the hell does this game feel so damn insistent on throwing jump puzzles at you!? Seriously, they are everywhere. From white hot conveyor belts with slowly melting rock platforms, to moving elevators over pits of what I can only assume is acid, this game feels compelled to test your ability to make blind jumps because of the camera's obscured view. This is how you will die, A LOT. This wouldn't be so damn frustrating if checkpoints were frequent. But the only checkpoints are the save points, which are rare. So when you die jumping into the void...and you prepared to go all the way back and get all your combo chips you found again, finish the jump puzzle you already finished and kill the guys you already killed.

This might help if you cared about Jake and his mission. But you really don't, so it makes it very hard to plod forward for too long before you start to dislike this game. For awhile I kept saying to myself, "You only paid ten bucks for this game so its not so bad for that price!" But that only works for so long, when the PS2 has so many better action titles. You could be playing the best action game on the PS2 in Devil May Cry 3, for only $10 more. That makes playing this very hard to justify.  Its a game with a few okay gameplay ideas...but the rest of it just wasn't fleshed out enough to keep up with them. Yikes...I wouldn't spend that $10 again...

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