The 3rd Birthday: My Crash Course Introduction to Parasite Eve

First Thoughts on The 3rd Birthday

A typical scene in The 3rd Birthday.

This evening, I played The 3rd Birthday for the first time. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, it's essentially Parasite Eve 3. It stars Aya Brea, the protagonist of the first two games, and is set in a near future where humanity is at war with a strange menage called the Twisted. The game plays sort of like Messiah or Geist, in that as Aya, your spirit is sent back into the past on missions to try and change events, and you have the ability to jump from ally to ally when others are within range and take possession of them, though unlike those other games, you always see yourself as Aya, rather than whatever NPC you're currently inhabiting.

In a lot of ways, I wasn't really sure what this game would be like going in. It has RPG elements, in that Aya can level up and gain more health, and there's a currency system in place that allows Aya to buy and upgrade weapons and repair her armor, but beyond that, the game is basically a third-person shooter with regenerating health and cover mechanics. I have never played Parasite Eve 1 or 2, but I'm pretty certain that neither game played like this. In any case, it actually controls fairly well, as targets can be locked on with L and shot at with R, and reloaded, switching weapons, and so on is a snap. There's also some mechanics in play where you can focus on enemies that allies are fighting and deal extra damage, and the same ability that Aya uses to jump from ally to ally can be used to deal heavy damage to enemy targets. And as long as a special gauge is full, Aya can temporarily enter a "liberated" state that amps up her attack power.

So far, I'm having fun with it. The game plays well, the cutscenes have their usual Square Enix level of polish and flair, and there's a little extra goofy cheesecake in the way that Aya's clothes are torn to shreds as she takes damage, which leads to a reduction in her armor's effectiveness (while also being completely silly, but whatever. I'm rolling with it). The one thing I am baffled by, however, is its connection to Parasite Eve 1&2.

There's also an FFXIII Lightning outfit in the game, apparently.

This is mostly a non-issue, I think. The game seems set up to introduce Aya to new players by sticking her with amnesia at the game's start. She was apparently found passed out in a wedding dress and taken in by doctors who discovered that she has certain special abilities, and because of that she was recruited into fighting the Twisted. The game has an internal timeline that can be accessed between missions to catch up on the story, but so far, none of the background information provides details on what occurred prior to The 3rd Birthday. Then again, I'm not sure what all can and can't be referenced, since it seems that Square Enix no longer has the license to use the Parasite Eve name.

It's a very intriguing game. Not necessarily what I expected, but it's fun. It'll probably get me to use my PSP more than any other game in quite some time, if it holds up like this.

18 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

First Thoughts on The 3rd Birthday

A typical scene in The 3rd Birthday.

This evening, I played The 3rd Birthday for the first time. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, it's essentially Parasite Eve 3. It stars Aya Brea, the protagonist of the first two games, and is set in a near future where humanity is at war with a strange menage called the Twisted. The game plays sort of like Messiah or Geist, in that as Aya, your spirit is sent back into the past on missions to try and change events, and you have the ability to jump from ally to ally when others are within range and take possession of them, though unlike those other games, you always see yourself as Aya, rather than whatever NPC you're currently inhabiting.

In a lot of ways, I wasn't really sure what this game would be like going in. It has RPG elements, in that Aya can level up and gain more health, and there's a currency system in place that allows Aya to buy and upgrade weapons and repair her armor, but beyond that, the game is basically a third-person shooter with regenerating health and cover mechanics. I have never played Parasite Eve 1 or 2, but I'm pretty certain that neither game played like this. In any case, it actually controls fairly well, as targets can be locked on with L and shot at with R, and reloaded, switching weapons, and so on is a snap. There's also some mechanics in play where you can focus on enemies that allies are fighting and deal extra damage, and the same ability that Aya uses to jump from ally to ally can be used to deal heavy damage to enemy targets. And as long as a special gauge is full, Aya can temporarily enter a "liberated" state that amps up her attack power.

So far, I'm having fun with it. The game plays well, the cutscenes have their usual Square Enix level of polish and flair, and there's a little extra goofy cheesecake in the way that Aya's clothes are torn to shreds as she takes damage, which leads to a reduction in her armor's effectiveness (while also being completely silly, but whatever. I'm rolling with it). The one thing I am baffled by, however, is its connection to Parasite Eve 1&2.

There's also an FFXIII Lightning outfit in the game, apparently.

This is mostly a non-issue, I think. The game seems set up to introduce Aya to new players by sticking her with amnesia at the game's start. She was apparently found passed out in a wedding dress and taken in by doctors who discovered that she has certain special abilities, and because of that she was recruited into fighting the Twisted. The game has an internal timeline that can be accessed between missions to catch up on the story, but so far, none of the background information provides details on what occurred prior to The 3rd Birthday. Then again, I'm not sure what all can and can't be referenced, since it seems that Square Enix no longer has the license to use the Parasite Eve name.

It's a very intriguing game. Not necessarily what I expected, but it's fun. It'll probably get me to use my PSP more than any other game in quite some time, if it holds up like this.

Edited by Enigma777

I only made it a little bit past the second boss, but I found it to be quite repetitive. The 3 enemy tipes didn't help either. Looks pretty good though.

Posted by Hailinel

@Enigma777 said:

I only made it a little bit past the second boss, but I found it to be quite repetitive. The 3 enemy tipes didn't help either. Looks pretty good though.

I think I'm at the first boss right now. That is a crazy fight with having to disable it and then high-tailing it up the stairs behind it to get a good shot at its back. Haven't quite beaten him yet, though.

Posted by OwnlyUzinWonHan
@Hailinel: Wait, Square Enix doesn't have the Parasite Eve name rights? Do you know who does?
Posted by Enigma777

@Hailinel: Yea, that guy was a bit of a bastard. Took me a while to figure out you had to climb the stairs too. The second one is even worse cause he spawns a bunch of these whirlwind things that just piss you off.

Posted by Hailinel

@OwnlyUzinWonHan said:

@Hailinel: Wait, Square Enix doesn't have the Parasite Eve name rights? Do you know who does?

Parasite Eve is actually a novel that Square Enix licensed to base games off of (though if I'm correct, the games are incredibly loose adaptations). However, that license agreement expired sometime after Parasite Eve II was released.

@Enigma777 said:

@Hailinel: Yea, that guy was a bit of a bastard. Took me a while to figure out you had to climb the stairs too. The second one is even worse cause he spawns a bunch of these whirlwind things that just piss you off.

Crazy. I'll have to see how it goes.

Posted by AjayRaz

ugh. this makes me want to buy another PSP. mine got completely messed up after an unfortunate accident involving water. 

Posted by Cloudenvy

@AjayRaz said:

ugh. this makes me want to buy another PSP. mine got completely messed up after an unfortunate accident involving water.

Do it! I personally love the PSP library!

Posted by AjayRaz
@Cloudenvy said:

@AjayRaz said:

ugh. this makes me want to buy another PSP. mine got completely messed up after an unfortunate accident involving water.

Do it! I personally love the PSP library!

oh, i did as well when i had a working one. my game tastes have changed slightly ever since, though and i'm interested in way more games now. i'm trying to make it my next big purchase, but there are so many games coming out in the next two weeks or so. >< 
Posted by Cloudenvy

@AjayRaz said:

@Cloudenvy said:

@AjayRaz said:

ugh. this makes me want to buy another PSP. mine got completely messed up after an unfortunate accident involving water.

Do it! I personally love the PSP library!

oh, i did as well when i had a working one. my game tastes have changed slightly ever since, though and i'm interested in way more games now. i'm trying to make it my next big purchase, but there are so many games coming out in the next two weeks or so. ><

Haha, fair enough! Not just new games, the Steam sale is starting soon I assume!

Posted by Hailinel

@Cloudenvy said:

@AjayRaz said:

ugh. this makes me want to buy another PSP. mine got completely messed up after an unfortunate accident involving water.

Do it! I personally love the PSP library!

Ouch. Yeah, water and sensitive electronics don't mix. I feel your pain.

Posted by MikeHawk

I really want to buy the third birthday. Should I play Parasite Eve 1 first? It's on PSN, but I didn't know how badly it has aged.

Posted by PixelPrinny

Huh.. I would have figured you for having played the original Parasite Eves. Weird. @.@

Posted by Hailinel
@PixelPrinny said:
Huh.. I would have figured you for having played the original Parasite Eves. Weird. @.@
I'd love to, but I never found copies of the game for sale and never though to look online when I've been busy with other games.  Are either of them on PSN?
Posted by Hailinel

I'll be darned.  The first game is on PSN.  Downloading it now.  Assuming PSN behaves.  It's acting a little weird for me tonight.

Posted by lead_farmer

@Hailinel said:

I'll be darned. The first game is on PSN. Downloading it now. Assuming PSN behaves. It's acting a little weird for me tonight.

Let me know how that turns out. I also went in to 3rd Birthday with no experience of the other Parasite Eve games. Not that far in, but it looks alright. Wish half the enemies didn't just look like floating goo.

What do you think of the VA?

Posted by PixelPrinny

I'm pretty sure at least the first one is. 
 
Oh you answered that. Well have fun with it :P

Posted by Hailinel
@PixelPrinny said:
I'm pretty sure at least the first one is.  Oh you answered that. Well have fun with it :P
We'll see. :P
 
Parasite Eve was really one of those games that just kept slipping through the cracks on me.  I'm interested to see how it'll hold up.
Posted by Hailinel
@lead_farmer said:

@Hailinel said:

I'll be darned. The first game is on PSN. Downloading it now. Assuming PSN behaves. It's acting a little weird for me tonight.

Let me know how that turns out. I also went in to 3rd Birthday with no experience of the other Parasite Eve games. Not that far in, but it looks alright. Wish half the enemies didn't just look like floating goo.

What do you think of the VA?

I'm not sure yet.  It sounds okay.  I haven't really heard enough to make a solid judgment on it as a whole.  I was actually surprised to learn that Aya is apparently voiced in English by the same actress that voices Miranda in Mass Effect 2.