But since that’s neither here nor there, let’s get on with the review…
The 3rd Birthday is extremely episodic. You play through each episode as Aya Brea, a CTI special agent with extraordinary abilities who is tasked with going back in time to kill the Twisted and help prevent the end of humanity with every dive to the past. After every dive Aya returns to the present and sees how much her efforts in the past have affected the present. Much like playing through the movie “Groundhog Day”.
However, where the story falls short is lack of reference to what the whole Parasite Eve series is based on…!
I kept playing level after level hoping that they would explain why Eve is so important and considered the mother as well as why she’s back as a little girl. But I got nothing. I have no clue where this version of Eve came from. No references to cells, mitochondria or any other biological geeky references that I loved from the Parasite Eve. So, with that said, since I only played Parasite Eve was I supposed to play Parasite Eve II in order to fully appreciate and enjoy The 3rd Birthday’s story?
But even if the story was up to par, the game’s AI offers little to no help. The game relies heavily on it’s Overdive system, where you have Aya dive into nearby soldiers and take over their bodies, weapons and health. Additionally, you can also dive into enemies as well if you damage them enough. Interesting idea but the problem lies in fact that you have to have your allies help you damage the enemies before you are able to dive into to them. But sometimes the AI thinks it’s time is better spent hiding, rather than helping you shoot at an enemy. Also, there’s no way to get them to follow you. Believe me, I tried. Plus, the AI dies rather easily. What are these soldiers equipped with? How am I lasting longer in my winter parka and jeans than soldiers that are supposed to be heavily protected?
Then there’s the camera controls. They are horrible! I didn’t mind it as much while I was running through the levels and fighting the meaningless twisted monsters but where the camera really stung me was during the boss battles. Where it mattered and where I really needed to focus on the boss, the camera controls were unbearable. I often lost focus of the enemy and for some reason some of the weapons weren’t on auto so I had to struggle to lock in on an enemy which, if you couldn’t tell, is extremely hard to do on a PSP which is missing a second analog stick. Why make some weapons different from all the rest is beyond me.
So, the final verdict after all this ranting is that The 3rd Birthday is totally passable. Parasite Eve still holds a special place in my heart while The 3rd Birthday is a game that didn’t really enhance the saga for me. If you’re curious about the game then definitely wait for it to go on sale. I, for one, am regretting paying full price for this one.