It has been 10 years since the New York cop Aya Brea starred in Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve 2, and after a long wait she, and her unique cells, return to the PSP in Parasite Eve 3 or as it is known with its new title, The 3rd Birthday.
In an interview with the Square Enix team, it was reported that they felt it was time to re-imagine the game on a new system, taking advantage of new technologies in game design and the growing popularity of gaming.
“We wanted to introduce Aya properly to players all around the world, not just in Japan,” Tabata said. “We felt that with this franchise we could really create a mature title that adults could enjoy.”
With the Final Fantasy 13 team working on the graphic Aya looks a lot better, but she’s still the same character, changed only by the as of yet unrevealed events in the game’s story. Although the passing of time is the main reason why the development team dropped the “Parasite Eve” prefix from the game’s title; the new title’s significance is also yet to be revealed, but will center around a certain event that will take place during the third game that will reveal what Aya’s been doing all this time. Revealing Aya’s past history through the game is something that will make it easier for newcomers to the franchise, while still giving fans something to chew on.
Only a brief gameplay demo was shown, in which Aya fought a group of new enemies, long limbs, indistinguishable features, squirmy, slimy and bloody, called the Twisted in a deserted city street, but it revealed the new game mechanic and that ther series is taking a shift to a third-person shooter. There is no free aim in the game–players must use a lock-on function mapped to R1 on the PSP. Aya’s movements are controlled by the analogue stick, while the Dpad can be used to change the camera view. The L1 button will call up players’ current weapon inventory, where they will be able to choose between four different weapons. The square will be used as the action button (shooting, interacting with objects, etc) while the circle button will trigger a grenade. The X button will be used to re-load weapons, and the triangle button will be used for a new system called Overdive -an ability that lets her switch into any ally’s body. To do this, players must press the triangle button on the PSP, which will bring up an infra-red screen showing the locations of all Aya’s team members. A small vortex will pop up to transport you to the team member’s body that you wish to switch with. The Overdive system is useful when players find themselves in a tight spot where they must overcome certain obstacles. It will also come in handy when losing ammo or life and the game will require players to use the battle environment in such a way that will see them working together with Aya’s team rather than separately, and using the Overdive system effectively.
The Parasite Eve games have always held RPG elements, but very minor one. This is a tradition The 3rd Birthday will continue. While the merger of two weapons is no longer available Players will be able to perform some basic weapon customization as well as leveling-up system for weapons. In a final quote Hajime Tabata said his team chose the PSP as an exclusive platform for The 3rd Birthday because of its hardware capabilities.
“It was the most balanced platform for the game we wanted to make,” he said. “It’s also a globally-available platform. Our team had high goals for this game. We designed the game as if for the PlayStation 3 console and poured it all into the PSP.”
As a long time admirer of Aya Bree and fan of the series, I am glad to hear about its return and look forward to the epic boss battles, ones that will take players out of the game’s main environments and into fantastical locations, and the modern North America based action based RPG.