Review by HighEntomologist
"Parasite Eve 3; no more Parasites, a slight of Eve, but still somewhat fun."
Ten years have passed since we last heard about Square's RPG-Shooter masterpiece Parasite Eve (both of whose chapters were listed on my Top 10 RPG-Esque Survival Horror Games). Wanna hear it again? Ten... YEARS... For the record, that's pretty much the time that passed between Starcraft (the very best RTS game of all times) and its sequel, which ended up being well worth the wait. So how good is this new game...? Let's explain it point by point:
Story (5/10): First of all, no more Mythocondria, no more Genetic-Engineering (aside of a gameplay gimmick which is kind of cheesy) and pretty much no more anything we knew from the prequels. The game is focused around the incoming of some nasty worm-like critters, aptly named the Twisted (it's not hard to figure why) and some time-travel gimmick called Overdive (think of it as a souped-up astral projection), and the heroine Aya (reduced to quite a crybaby, by the way) coping with amnesia. New York has been invaded by throngs of aliens (sort of) and it's time to clean the mess - but it won't take much time to comprehend that someone has a secret agenda on his own. While it's not that bad of a story (and not that worse than... say... PE2's) it gets a bogus for complete lack of continuation with previous games.
Gameplay (7'5/10): Not bad, but PE2 is far, far better. This is your classic shooter game: you roam through the streets, bump into a critter, blast it with your guns... you know the deal. Quite challenging, as this time the baddies are resilent (most critters do take more than a full magazine of your custom Assault Rifle to get killed). This time, however, there're some stuff that enhances the action:
- Overdive: You can possess other people's body (and you'll find yourself doing so many, many times than you'll feel confortable with). Since there're no life-restoring power ups, this is, for starters, the only means of life recovery you'll get (that makes solo missions, which fortunately are rare, pretty harsh). Enemies do pack a punch here (many can OHKO you in an instant, and will often), so you'll use this Overdive pretty much. It's worth noting that Game Over only happens when you're killed AND there're no more alive hosts.
- Crossfire: Since there're many guys around you (mainly soldiers) you may have all them aim to the same enemy. Aiming (but not shooting) at an enemy will make a gauge appear; once it's full (it takes a while, though) you can have everyone on screen to blast away. It's not that powerful (specially in the last levels), but it's helpful.
- Scale: This time, enemies come in sizes: the small ones are more or less fair game (although they'll make mincemeat of you if they surround you), while the big ones are pretty much unstoppable unless heavy Overdiving or using heavy weaponry (mandatory against some of the greatest critters around). No more you'll OHKO a monster dozens of times larger than you with your own weapons.
- Customize: Now your arsenal is completely customizable. You can purchase weapons and custom it with new cannons, new clips and new bullets, among other stuff. While not as complete as... say... Dirge of Cerberus (you can pretty much max-out and go for the top-tier parts without too much of a problem) it's kind of satisfying. A con, though: among the five clases of weapons you'll get, Assault Rifle is by far the best (to the point there's little to no reason to purchase anything on another category - the few times you do need something else, you can just Overdive onto someone with the proper weapon). You can also customize your DNA with some plasmids (called OE chips), augmenting your healing capabilities, your defense, your offense and stuff; quite a nice gimmick, and pretty cheesy to mess with.
Graphics (9/10): Gorgeous... No matter what, but Square totally owns the PSP's hardware. There's little they cannot get from the machine. There's a little slowdown when the action gets crowded, but nothing too serious.
Sound (9/10): One of the few things that DO improve from previous entries. This time musics are magnificent remixes from previous PE clips (a seasoned PE player can recognize some musics easily). Regular sounds also are a bonus. Save for Aya's voice (too childish for my taste), each gunshot, shout, groan and voice is done magnificently.
Replay (7/10): There's a Game+ feature where you get to restart the game with all your stuff (almost a necessity, since the main game is pretty short - it's almost impossible to get most stuff from a single playthrough, and some other stuff REQUIRE multiple playthroughs). While it's a nice treat, it's far from PE2's replay modes. But hey...
Overall (7/10): Quirky story aside, this game is well worth a couple of playtroughs for any fan of Parasite Eve (or at least any fan of shooters). Whoever wants another chapter of the Mythocondria Saga, this game won't give what you want, dude... Action is challenging, gimmicks are fun to use (particularly Overdive) and there's almost no moment of respite. Flaws are it's plot (sub par; specially for Square), it's lifespan (<10 hours the first playthrough) and the lack of alternative modes.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/04/11
Game Release: The 3rd Birthday (US, 03/29/11)
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