The 3rd Birthday Video Game
With so many Parasite Eve fans awaiting the arrival of the new game to the series, it is a wonder what actually went wrong. The 3rd Birthday, released on the PSP, the 3rd installment to the franchise is a major letdown to anyone who adored the first two classic games. Gone is the survival horror feeling and eerie atmosphere. Instead, a Final Fantasy-like sci fi setting is in place and is turned into a basic action shooter game, which could have been a wonderful stand alone game.
Story (1 out of 5)
While trying to be nice about it, it is pretty hard to give this story a great score. You once again play as Aya who is a member of an elite police force, this time with the task of exterminating a tentacle like beast called The Twisted. She is put into a machine where she can dive into past events and see where the source of these enemies came from. Along the way there’s some interesting twists and turns, but the fast pace makes it fall short.
Without giving anything away, there are moments in the game that can leave someone blinking and staring at the screen trying to piece together what just happened. This story seems very rushed and it also does not make a lot of sense when the ending takes place, it also lost its overall feeling of the classic game and now feels more like a hyped up Final Fantasy tale. Some may like it, but there’s a good chance PE fans will disregard it.
Game Play (2 out of 5)
This is where the game shines, it has simple controls for anyone new to the PSP system. Pick your favorite control scheme and blast away, that is pretty much all you do in this game. Being linear, don’t worry about checking far off corners and the like, just follow the one way path till you meet your destination. The 3rd Birthday does add an interesting twist to the game play, where Aya is able to dive into the bodies of soldiers and take their place. This is a mandatory course of action in the game and it may take some time to get used to.
As Aya takes damage, her clothes start to rip off, revealing her bare skin. Although the creators said this was to make the game realistic it is a bit too far and seems utterly ridiculous, not to mention a secret shower scene starring her that can only be viewed while doing certain requirements.
Controls (3 out of 5)
Picking your own controller type can make the game a bit easier on anyone. Shooting with the two top left and right buttons is helpful, making your other fingers free to turn the camera to your liking. Moving Aya along each stage is also cakewalk, the frame rate runs smoothly, so there is no need to worry about any staggering. The 3rd Birthday is a great starter game for a gamer getting used to playing with the PSP system.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
The graphics are solid and colorful for a PSP game. The character models are lively during the cut scenes, using the same engine as Crisis Core. The in game character models besides Aya could use a little work, they are jagged and look like they have a less polygon count than a PS2 character model. The environments and enemies are well made, which slightly makes up for it, although even their models are repetitive. In general Square is known for making superb graphics for their products, and this game is one of them.
Sound (3 out of 5)
One thing past fans may like is the remixed music from the two previous games. Although the haunting sounds do not mix well with the new prospective of the game, it will definitely provide a lot of nostalgia. The new tracks are also catchy, as well as a few beautiful piano pieces that are fitted into the dramatic scenes. The voice acting is subpar, a handful of characters sound a bit generic and with the less than impressive script, it may come off as laughable. Aya's voice is great for the most part, until she starts gasping and sighing in every scene, which begins to be a little redundant and seems a bit odd. The music definitely shines through in the sound department.
Overall (2 out of 5)
The 3rd Birthday video game honestly is not the best made game, it feels hurried and only lasts for about six hours of game play, although there are some bonuses for anyone who is a completionist. With an unimpressive story and indispensable game play, Parasite Eve fans may want to pass on this.