A colonial settlement on a distant planet goes out-of-control after a Computer Arms Management System goes haywire. Enter Vanessa Schneider, a freelance mercenary and robot killer with a grudge to settle in this exhilarating action game. But will Vanessa's dark past collide with her ultimate mission?

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this game is just pure style to me

i kinda pity this game for clearly not having a bigger budget and being short and limited, but i personally loved it's style and everything about it and it's a pretty sweet and unique experience and game on its own

vanessa serves so much cunt

For years, P.N.03 sat as the only remaining piece of Shinji Mikami's directorial output I'd yet to play. Usually regarded as his weakest, I went in with an open mind but with expectations in check. I found myself far more frustrated than expected, not because P.N.03 is Mikami's weakest game, but because it shouldn't be.

Far from the creative stagnation of The Evil Within, a weird mish-mash of Mikami's most beloved game and then-ubiquitous design trends, P.N.03's core gameplay is strong and unique. Before Mikami would set the standard for the third-person shooter with his next release, there wasn't much of a consensus on how one ought to play. P.N.03 comes up with answers which are a world away from where we ended up, focusing less on aiming and more about positioning and dodging. There's a rhythm to combat that marks P.N.03 as a third-person shooter more in the lineage of melee-oriented action games such as Devil May Cry than any other shooter; although attacks directed at the player character are projectiles, they give clear tells for the player to read and to react with the an evasive maneuver.

This 'rhythm' was clearly picked up on by Mikami and his team, evident in their effort to make music and dance a theme expressed through the protagonist. Her opening cutscene reveals that she wears headphones, fighting to the music. In gameplay her head can be seen nodding to the beat, and when performing attacks she pulls off poses and dances.

So incredibly promising, all of it. It should have been fantastic. But the whole thing was rushed through in a matter of months, giving no time to develop what's here into something that feels remotely finished. What few environments are here fail to bring enough variety to the game's 11 missions, let alone enough to sustain the "trial missions" which form a practically-required grind to upgrade your equipment into something acceptable for the late-game difficulty spike.

It's so undercooked, and what we're left with is a prototype of many things: the protagonist with her sexually charged dance-fighting is a clear influence on Bayonetta, expressing the rhythm of action in diegetic music formed the basis of Tango Gamework's Hi-Fi Rush, and some aesthetic and gameplay elements were revisited in Mikami's own Vanquish. All these were more developed and better realised than P.N.03, but they don't replace it. P.N.03 is its own thing, and with more time in the oven I'm confident it would be remembered extremely fondly. Its status as Mikami's worst is deserved, but because of circumstance rather than a lack of vision, and that's the most frustrating thing about it.

P.N.03 was the first of Capcom’s GameCube exclusive ‘Capcom FIve’ to see release and, due to receiving much worse critical and commercial reception than the three games that would follow it, is the only one to actually remain exclusive. Capcom has seen fit to let the game languish on the purple lunchbox and ignore it entirely, which is a fate it absolutely does not deserve. Once I got over its less-than-perfect controls I found myself having an absolute blast with P.N.03. The game has a sense of style that I completely vibed with, thanks in large part to its main character Vanessa Z. Schneider, who is voiced by Jennifer Hale, one of my favorite voice actors. Vanessa feels a lot like a prototype of Bayonetta, and feeling like a prototype is unfortunately P.N.03‘s biggest flaw.

P.N.03 was developed on an extremely tight schedule, with the Capcom Five being announced in November 2002 and P.N.03 seeing release in March 2003, just a 4-month turnaround if even that. This rushed development rears its ugly head in P.N.03’s repetitive environments and severe lack of content, being over in just 2 hours and offering little replay value. Many of the ideas Shinji Mikami had for P.N.03 would be put to use years later in Vanquish, a much better game. Really, when I look at Vanquish I think of all the potential P.N.03 had that it might’ve been able to achieve had it not fallen victim to such a strict deadline, and since a sequel is about as likely as pigs flying, that potential will forever remain unrealized. P.N.03 won’t vibe with everyone, but it’s a game I think everyone should try at least once.

P.N.03 becomes pretty fun once you get a hang of the controls and get used to the difficulty, sadly the entire game feels like they made one level and then stretched it to three hours.
Also holy shit I'm not grinding the 1241532 credits needed to get those suits and level them up

I wish I could've enjoyed this game, I really do, but I think the controls are so abysmal that it's impossible for me to continue playing it to completion. The graphics look nice, the music is cool, and I love the game's cyber style, but the gameplay is just so damn bad. You stand, rapidly shoot, sometimes dodge or jump, rinse and repeat. When Vanessa gets shot by literally anything, she gets slammed to the ground and a chunk of your health just disappears. Aside from that, this game was a part of the Capcom Five for the Gamecube, where there would be five exclusive games for the Gamecube to show off its potential, which featured:
- P.N.03
- Viewtiful Joe
- Dead Phoenix (never released)
- Resident Evil 4
- Killer 7

Nearly all of these games got PS2 releases so the whole Capcom Five thing didn't last long, plus Dead Phoenix was canceled so technically it's the Capcom Four. Regardless, P.N.03 is a truly unique game for the Gamecube system, but it fails to feel enjoyable in my eyes.

A really unique and badass game with good ideas and a great challenge, held back by a weird controller scheme and some questionable design choices.
Worth to check it out, though. Once you get over the controls it becomes pretty fun, and still remains really challenging nevertheless.