In “The 3rd Birthday,” (Square Enix) “Twisted” monsters take Manhattan as “Parasite Eve” heroine Aya Brea, part of a special team trying to save humanity, fights back. Her character abilities still fall within the “special power” realm, but “Parasite Eve II” (2000) fans should not expect a straight sequel. Great cutscenes and familiar music will please veteran fans, but do not expect much continuation from previous games or easy explanations bridging Aya’s past into her challenges.
This PlayStation Portable third person sci-fi shooter has auto-aim, boss fights, desirable unlockables and tense action sequences. Highly accessible content and strong cutscenes throughout the game. The special overdrive features lets players take over beings in the game, which can be great for misdirection moves against enemies. OE chips provide special powers when combined with Aya’s DNA board. Aya gets some help from other characters, like a mild Crossfire feature where allies concentrate their firepower, but mastering her abilities always packs a more potent punch.
Players can resolve initial lagging camera issues in the sensitivity settings, though boss fight sequences can limit and even block views at times. The customization options boost the replay value, which easily has a double-digit hour tally at the core. The top-notch visual and production values make this PSP game an essential addition for fans and RPG/shooter players. Hardcore players should beat the game twice for a special sequence after the ending credits.
The upcoming Twisted Edition will include a 48-page “CTI Confidential” art book, two “deluxe” lithographs and an Aya Brea costume code for Square Enix’s other current release “Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.” Special note: this exclusive code is included inside first run copies of these “Dissidia” games. A mobile game version also planned (***1/2, rated M (mature) for blood, partial nudity, strong language, and violence).