Foreword: This is a very truncated version of my 4000-word, highly recommended, review of the 3rd Birthday for the PSP. If you want more details as to why I gave the game the rating that it has, hop on down to that review; I go over most if not all the things about the game.I did omit parts of the game in this post.
The 3rd Birthday for the PSP has little to do with its predecessors in the Parasite Eve series. But longtime fan or not this is still a game worth checking out.
The game starts with a successful invasion of New York City some mysterious beings called Twisted. You play an amnesiac heroine called Aya Brea, and you are the only one compatible with a device that can take someone into the body of a person in the past. With this device Aya helps to save the past, when the attacks first began, to change the Twisted-dominated future. As with any story with an amnesiac is concerned, Aya also rediscovers who she was before the attack of the Twisted. I was initially skeptical about Aya herself; she seemed like simplistic pretty face, the type of female protagonist feminists would cry foul for. To her credit she grows into a badass action girl reminiscent of the Aya Brea of previous Parasite Eve games.
But the main reason you should play this game is that it is a great third-person shooter. On the surface it looks a bit too easy: Hold down L (shoulder button) to lock on and R (shoulder button) to fire. But just holding down those two buttons will not get you very far. As Aya you can shift from person to person, allowing for different vantage points in the midst of a battle, resulting in a very fast paced and exciting experience. Cornered by Twisted? Just switch to a person behind the monsters and open fire on them. Need to fire upon a weak spot? just dive into a body of someone on top of a balcony and take your shots there.
But Aya can do more than just move from body to body. She can order surrounding soldiers (who are your allies) to focus fire on one single enemy. She can dive into the inside of the Twisted and deal tons of damage, and even go into a brief god-mode called Liberation to really lay the hurt down on her foes. Furthermore if you want to use different weapons, you have the option of doing it. Pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, missile launchers and other cool gadgets will start to get unlocked as the game progresses. Provided you have the currency you can upgrade them to be more powerful or accurate; it is up to you.
One thing the game isn't, however, is long. There are only seven missions to tackle, and although most of these missions are well thought out and are different somewhat to each other, you are still going to finish the first playthrough in 5-6 hours. That being said, if you like the game alot, you can play the game with a higher difficulty setting, and there are still some more unlockables in the next couple of playthroughs (like more powerful weapons).
As brief the game is, it makes a good impression while it lasts. In-game graphics are detailed enough, especially with character and monster models, but the cutscenes really caught my eye. You'd think you were playing a high-budget console game, not a portable product. As for the sound I love the remixed version of Primal Eyes, the theme for the first Parasite Eve, although I would admit that the rest of the soundtrack is not as good, and Parasite Eve fans like the original Primal Eyes anyway. I would also like to say that at least the English voice acting is solid, nothing too crazy or over the top when it comes to emoting.
The 3rd Birthday, a bastard child so to speak in the Parasite Eve franchise, is a bit too short for an action game, but the game's lack of longevity is more than compensated by great action and visuals. If you have a PSP, give this game a whirl.
I give The 3rd Birthday 4 stars out of 5.
Save the past, save the future.