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The 3rd Birthday PSP Review

Play using the PPSSPP emulator

By Sid MarkPublished 6 months ago 3 min read

he 3rd Birthday is a sequel of sorts to the Parasite Eve games, although this PSP exclusive takes the gameplay in completely new directions. Here, players take control of sexy heroine Aya Brea and guide her in the third person as she faces off against legions of enemies called the Twisted in the streets of New York. The emphasis here is on fast-paced action and more than a little bit of strategy, mainly revolving around Aya's ability to possess different soldiers on the battlefield. Despite its resemblance to other more banal shooters, some exciting new gameplay innovations keep this game from devolving into traditional 3rd person shooter fare.

The gameplay in previous Parasite Eve titles was a mix between standard RPG and survival horror like Resident Evil, but the gameplay for the 3rd Birthday is slightly different, and more focused on gunplay. It is closer to a 3rd person shooter this time around, but with RPG elements. It is hard to call this game a shooter, exactly, because much of the aiming is done using automatic lock-on. Players can use the L Button to hold down and target enemies. The R button is then used to repeatedly fill enemies with bullets, as their health bars tick down to expiration. You can use the Square button to reload your ammo or you can hold Square and use the directional pad to select you weapon. The list of arms contained in the game include hand-guns, sniper rifles, machine guns, and laser weapons.

Gameplay largely revolves around an ability called "Overdrive" which is where you can jump from body to body from other soldiers, if you are near to a certain death you can jump into another person's body. Friendly soldiers can be ordered either to target specific enemies or to defend themselves from their postitions. When Twisted enemies are close to death you can jump into them by pressing triangle to destroy them from the inside.

As can be expected from Square Enix, the graphics in The 3rd Birthday are exquisite on the PSP. in fact, we might go so far as to say this is one of the most beautiful PSP games we have seen. The cutscenes, 3D environments, textures and characters all look great, and push the hardware seemingly as far as it can go. Unlike many other PSP titles in recent years, this game doesn't feel like it has had to make any compromises to fit on the handheld device. In fact, it seems perfectly suited to gaming on the go, with graphics that show real care and attention by the designers. The only exception might be the camera, which can get fiddly at certain times, but is good overall.

Graphical highlights include certain Twisted enemies, whose organic shapes and movements are creepy in the extreme. We can't wait to see what Square Enix can do once the NGP comes out. For a PSP game, fans will definitely be impressed with the quality of this title.

Some reviewers have complained that The 3rd Birthday is somewhat short. We got 6 hours of gameplay out of it, and beyond the main story you can still get a good few hours of shooting up the place and trying out new things, such as using overdrive to rip enemies in half. There are also plenty of things to collect including costumes, cheats and secrets to unlock.

The question many fans will be asking is undoubtedly: is The 3rd Birthday worth spending my money on, so close to the release of a next-generation PSP? Our answer is definitely yes. If you are a fan of the previous Parasite Eve games, you definitely owe it to yourself to play this title, quirks and all.

For the curious: it's not necessary to have played the previous Parasite Eve games to enjoy this title. The Third Birthday is also a great example of what can be done on the handheld platform by a group of dedicated and innovative designers. It's not the best title in the PSP catalog, but it's certainly one of the more interesting ones.

first person shooter

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Sid Mark

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