3rd Birthday: Too young to drive, too dumb to stop.
So… Parasite Eve, a game with a checkered past if ever there was one, is about to have a sequel after almost ten years of sitting on the back burner where drunken buffoon publisher, Square Enix, placed it expecting no one to care that they had intended to make it a sub-par cellphone title exclusive to their nation.
Naturally, I’m here to piss and moan about the upcoming PSP exclusive: Parasite Eve: 3rd Birthday.
(Opening for Parasite Eve)
A woman possessed goes on a macabre, bloody rampage across Manhattan that only a lone cop can stop, a cop whose only advantage is that she is immune to the powers of this… “Eve”.
The original game is amazing! It ran on the Final Fantasy 7 engine so it looked awesome and had a unique action gimmick where it operated similarly to a turnbased RPG in combat, but you could run around and change position at your leisure in real time so you could actually DODGE things. It was inspiring, but harsh and uninformed critics claimed it was trying to horn in on Resident Evil’s market, which anyone who played it would agree was an erroneous assessment. PE is actually an RPG with an action flair, while RE is the exact opposite an action game with a bare-bones RPG framework.
A strong, story driven game with a powerful female protagonist set this title apart for a long time and even outdid the book of its origin and the (terrible) movie based on said book. To this day it stands as a testament to Square Enix’s ability to craft an amazingly unique experience and keep many a playstation memory card on hand as players strive for the elusive secret ending.
Or at least it USED to stand for something on how Square made games…
(Opening for Parasite Eve 2)
Parasite Eve 2
Abandoning the pretense of originality and innovation that its predecessor boasted, PE2 is at its core a spiritual ripoff of Resident Evil right down to the use of an evil corporation playing with stupidly dangerous genetic science in underground labs that went awry.
I suppose there’s some scrap of intelligence is trying out what works.
There’s also the strange distinction between two Ayas: The one you see and the one you play, the one you SEE in the CG movies is a childlike asian fantasy given form and the one you PLAY is a voluptuous, curvy amazon whom you actually control on screen as she kicks ass and takes names. Two completely different women… it’s weird. If there’s ANY question, I’m more of a fan of the playable Aya. Just sayin.
Anyway, the controls for PE2 were (without question) ripped from the Resident Evil series at the time where Aya became something of a human go-kart that could wield massive artillery, psychic powers and a gunblade. That’s right, you can wield a freakin’ Gunblade from Final Fantasy 8 in this thing. It’s awesome!!! The story is a half-baked monster hunt that becomes an attack on an Umbrella-esque laboratory hidden beneath death valley or something at the base of an abandoned mine where horrific human experiments have taken place.
Given all the goofy crap this game offered, I can’t help but adore it. It was definitely half-assed when compared to the majestic creature that was PE1, but hot damn I’ve gone through PE2 about 30 times or so and I plan to go another 30 if I can help it because it’s THAT fun and it has enormous replay value in addition to gorgeous visuals that actually look alright today.
But while the introduction of an Umbrella-esque entity and man-made monsters set the stage for an exciting potential follow-up, the only thing it has yielded so far is sadness…
(PE: 3rd birthday trailer)
So in the midst of online gaming, next generation visuals, powerful consoles, diverse potential additions to Squenix’s development arsenal like… decent writers out of Eidos, maybe… Squenix instead chose to whittle PE’s decent narrative, its exquisite sense of exploration in a mundane setting gone mad and its immersive role-playing traits down to just another sub-par looking shooter on the PSP with cold, inhuman looking CG characters breaking up the action with their innate creepiness and (likely) crappy gameplay cobbled together by guys with no real shooter experience save for the awful FF7 “Vincent May Cry” tie-in game to Advent Children.
That Squenix can continue to make such amazingly poor decisions saddens me greatly. I’ll rent this sucker on gamefly, but I won’t be jumping into another purchase on a portable system I don’t play except on special occasions.
Meanwhile, until it comes out I’ll be playing the first and second games trying to remember what made me love the series so much and why I’m still boycotting Square-Enix for ruining what I used to enjoy so much and then letting assholes like the guy who ruined FF13 rub it in our faces that we’re just too “western” to understand a series of bad choices in making a shitty game.
Sorry Squenix, we saw what you did there…