The 3rd Birthday
Parasite Eve? Not quite...
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Oh Parasite Eve, how I used to fawn over you! While I enjoyed your first title a bit more than your second, the two of you brought me many survival horror memories at a time when the Resident Evil franchise was starting to fall victim to its own overbaked storyline. Sure, you were no Silent Hill, but even future Silent Hill games weren’t Silent Hill either. So as consoles began to evolve into new generations of hardware hotness, my need for a new entry in the franchise grew and grew. Here I sit, 11 years after my last date with Aya Brea and my mitochondria-infused cravings are finally about ready to be satisfied, right? Well, maybe not so much...
Let me make this plainly clear, just so you aren’t as foolish as I was. All because Aya Brea is the main character, 3rd Birthday is not, nor does it try to be, a 3rd entry in the Parasite Eve narrative. Not only is this NOT a survival horror RPG (it’s more of an action RPG), but the story line has little to do with the previous two chapters. And unfortunately, the package found here has little going for it that makes up for the mach-relation it has to the franchise. Honestly, to get the most out of this game, you really need to ignore any potential ties to the franchise altogether and just approach this as its own, independent title.
In 3rd Birthday, New York City has been overrun by these giant roots, dubbed Babels, and along with them a whole bunch of strange creatures that seem intent on consuming every human in the city. Aya Brea - now a member of CTI (Counter Twisted Investigation (think Fringe or X-Files) - has been tasked with infiltrating the hive and destroying the roots and the creatures. Sounds pretty basic, right? Square Enix must have thought so too, so they tossed in a whole slew of other stuff. It comes off sort of like making a sandwich out of whatever you find in your fridge. There’s time travel, body hopping (yes, body hopping - here it’s called “overdrive”), a bunch of upgradable weapons, DNA augmentation...heck, you can even harness the overdrive as a weapon too. Happily, I didn’t find a kitchen sink.
And that is where 3rd Birthday let me down the most. The story, while it may have been salvageable, was full of melodramatic dialogue and various truisms that one would expect to see in a teen suspense novel. And the action that backs it all up gets smacked around with too many things to mess with coupled by an immense amount of dull repetition. This game was developed from the ground up for the portable market and the level design demonstrates this from start to finish. Facilitating bite-sized gameplay, the wash/rinse/repeat nature quickly wears thin. Walk in, kill monsters until they stop spawning, move on to the next area. Even the overdrive abilities and the almost too much upgrading and customizing options aren’t enough to keep things interesting over the long haul.
Don’t get me wrong, this latest Aya Brea adventure isn’t terrible. The tactical elements within the 3rd person combat is a nifty approach and the role-play options are quite robust, especially when taking into account the actiony nature of the game. I just couldn’t find it in me to really care about any of it. The execution of said role-play options came off muddled and that just heightened the issues with the bland story.
The visuals are simply fantastic, especially during the cutscenes, and do help things a bit. Although, one could argue that the eye candy is somewhat expected since this is a Square Enix title. Nevertheless, the graphical talent found in the house-that-Final-Fantasy-built is well represented here and puts 3rd Birthday as one of the better looking titles on the platform.
It’s a bit disappointing to see how 3rd Birthday came out, especially considering the pedigree of the franchise. I understand that this was initially intended to be a mobile title, and it has been nicely developed to fit Sony’s handheld. And I also understand that this wasn’t intended to be a true successor to Parasite Eve II. But at the same time, even just grading the game on its own merits puts it into the “merely okay” category. An uninteresting story combined with repetitive gameplay give the player little else to grab on to. Now, had Square Enix decided to tackle a real Parasite Eve sequel, we might be having a much different conversation right now...
+ Great visuals
+ Bite-sized gameplay
+ Lots of upgrade/customize options...
- Bland and melodramatic story
- Gameplay quickly gets dull
- Just uninteresting overall
1 year ago :: Patapon 3
2 years ago :: Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
2 years ago :: Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy
2 years ago :: (PSN) TNT Racers
2 years ago :: (PSN) Hoard
2 years ago :: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
2 years ago :: Ys I & II Chronicles
2 years ago :: Lord of Arcana
2 years ago :: (Minis) SHIFT extended
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2011/03/29
System : PSP
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : Square Enix
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10