Review by Shadow Edge

"A game better in every way than its predecessor!"

Okay, after a mediocre-to-great game called 'Parasite Eve' unexpectedly boomed (and partly due to the free FFVIII playable demo CD), Square produces Parasite Eve 2, and much much better game in every way than its predecessor. The game was sponsored by Coca Cola, if what I think is right, because you'll see it's logo on items and some places.

Graphics: 9/10

Graphics deserves nearly a full 10. Why, you ask? For starters, everything bad about the graphics of PE1 was solved, so you'd have quality graphics.

The game is still based on 3D models over 2D background. Background are extremely detailed, what can I say? It's so realistic I almost thought it was real. The lighting effects took a huge step forward, and the tiniest detailes were added, so you get a very, VERY realistic background. It also boasts the crispness and sharpness. The backgrounds are just so great I don't have a single criticism to make about it.

The 3D models flew to higher levels. For one thing, the 3D models are now more detailed and moves more smoothly and more realistic. They are also more properly proportional now. Monsters also look the way we want it to be: more terrifying, more menacing. It looks like Square pushed PSX' capabilities to the extreme to produce terrific graphic quality.

The menu is also more likable. Nice colors, great layout, what can I say? The only thing I hate about menus is the FONT. They're very big, and are in bold letters, like it was intended for people with 30/20 vision. But hey, the icons look more simpler in a good way, and the pictures of items and stuff are GREAT!

Square kicks up a notch on the game's visual effects. Aya shooting fireballs, healing herself, etc. etc. is much, much MUCH better then the predecessor. The visual effects were far more colorful, creative and grandiose. It's just so cool that I wish this game was made for the PS2 so we'd expect a terrific visual enjoyment.

FMV also improves. Better lighting, better crispness, better animation, better quality, it's just better in many ways.

Gameplay: 9.5/10

Gameplay is very different now in a positive way.

So like the previous Parasite Eve game, you can equip a weapon and an armor. The game isn't in just 3/4 overhead, but all sorts of views. This time, monsters just don't pop out of the screen in a random way, they are now sitting on the screen. You can choose either to engage or evade them. To engage them in battle press square to aim them (though at some cases, enemies engage YOU). The usual negative colored screen goes, and it's on with the fight.

Okay, first thing you'd notice is that battles don't have an ATB gauge anymore, but it's really an active battle now. Very much reminiscent of the Resident Evil series but with magic and science stuff. You press square to aim and R1 to shoot. Simple, isn't it? But this time, enemies are more agressive. They don't just go through you or bite you a bit. Big impact means Aya will stumble or fall to the ground, which poses a problem, if you encounter a group of enemies who can do this. Casting spells is now different. If, in PE1, the screen pauses, this time, it won't. Casting requires a certain amount of time before it is accomplished, which leaves your enemies free to attack you.

You don't just learn PE them by level, you learn them by spending EXP points. PE is grouped by: Water, Earth, Wind and Fire. Fire and Wind are offensive, Water is defensive and earth is supportive. At the start, you have two magic spells on each category, but only one spell is "activated". Only activated spells can be used for a certain amount of MP (thankfully, MP is now digitalized). To activate spells, one must earn EXP points, which can be gained from battles. Each spell requires a certain amount to revive them. Spells have a maximum of three levels. To "level up" your spells, you can choose Strengthen to power them up for a bigger amount of EXP than you used to Revive it. Strengthening spells has all of these of benefits: more power, faster casting, less MP consumption, wider range, MP restoration and increased maximum MP. Choose well which spell to strengthen, because enemies are limited.

Square took out the "leveling up" system for Aya and puts it to her PE. At default, your HP is 100. So how do you raise your HP? Armors give bonus HP stats, resistance to certain status inflictions and special powers like HP recovery or quick shot. Each armor also has a number of attachments. These slots are where you can attach stuff like your GPS (Global Positioning System) that acts as a radar, your medicine, ammunition and other necessities for combat.

Aside from your usual HP or MP restorative medicine, you also have other types of items you can attach. GPS, which acts like a radar to track off-screen enemies; combat items like Combat Light that aid you in battle by inflictions status effects and as well as the secret items, which gives bonuses to your stats.

Story: 8.5/10

Story is almost of same quality.

The game takes a few years after the New York blockade incident (that incident you play at PE1). Aya now works for MIST, or also known as Mitochondrial Immunization and Supression Team, I can't remember exactly, but it's something like that. Their job is to hunt Neo-Mitochonrial Creatures (NMC), creatures who have undergone some sort of transformation because of their mitochondria.

So the game just revolves on Aya's job of hunting down NMCs, starting from the Akropolis Tower. As you progress through the game, you'll find more questions to ask and more answers. And maybe, perhaps, you'll encounter Eve again.

Sounds: 10/10

The sounds now deserves a full 10, way better than PE1's.

Okay, let's start with music. The music now fits whatever is on your screen, from safe places to deserted towns to eerie places to battles and boss battles. And it's been done very well too. The music for the intro movie was cool, a cinematic remix of the Parasite Eve theme. Safe places have relaxing and classical music. Dangerous places gives you the thought that somethings lurking behind the corner or in this room or stuff like that. There's a variety of music for normal encounters, which all fits. Boss battle music also have variety, so you'll never get tired of fighting because of repetitive music.

Sound effects are terrific! And I mean it! Handguns, rifles and other weapons REALLY sound the way they should be in their real-life counterparts, especially the sound effect they used for the firing of the rifle. It's just so amazing. Combining the sound effects, story and stuff of that nature and you'd think this game deserves to have a movie created by Square.

Controls: 9.5/10

Basic controls. D-pad to navigate, X = OK, O = Cancel, Triangle = Menu, Square = Aim, R1 = Shoot. Aya can now also run in more than 8 directions.

The reason why I hadn't chucked in a full 10 is because of the walking maneuvers. PE2 adapted RE's way of walking: left and right to face left or right, up for forward, down for backward. Sounds like a good theory, but for gamers who are new to this sort of control might find it frustrating at first.

Lifespan: 8.5/10

Lifespan... wayyyyy better than the predecessor. It's just so fun you'd be tempted to play again. After beating the game, you unlock certain game modes. No, not the easy, normal, hard modes garbage. You unlock modes like Replay Mode and Bounty Mode, unlocking more modes after you beat each mode for a total of four extra modes. These modes are not just more difficult because enemies are stronger, there are also certain things like more expensive equipment, less HP or lotsa BP. At your first play you most certainly have not enough money to buy the ultimate weapons, so you'd be tempted to play Bounty Mode. Okay, I'm gonna play PE2 again....

Ratings
Graphics : 9
Gameplay : 9.5
Story : 8.5
Sounds : 10
Controls : 9.5
Lifespan : 8

Total : 9 (9.1) (Remarkable)

PROs:
- Huge improvement over its predecessor
- Terrific music and sound effects
- Very VERY realistic backgrounds
- 3D moves and looks natural
- Great replay value
- Innovative gameplay

CONs:
- Might be a bit difficult for some

RENT OR BUY?
This time I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this game! In fact, this game already qualifies in the list of must-buys for your PSX. Trust me, this is a great game.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/05


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