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The 3rd Birthday


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Alright, I'm going to get through the obligatory bullshit before I head into my thoughts:


The 3rd Birthday (ザ・サード バースデイ Za Sādo Bāsudei?) is a third-person role-playing shooter developed by HexaDrive and published by Square Enix.[6][8] The game was made for the PlayStation Portable and is a spin-off from the Parasite Eve series. The game was released on December 22, 2010 in Japan[3] and was released on March 29, 2011 in North America.[9]

The game takes place in Manhattan, New York City ten years after the events of Parasite Eve II. The player takes on the role of Aya Brea, and must fight against mysterious "Twisted" creatures threatening the city.


Alright, with that all out of the way lets talk about Parasite Eve a little. To start off with, PE 1 is one of my favorite games of all time, and Vagrant Story was a fun offshoot of it (in battle, not story of course since VS is set in Ivalice with FFTactics). I still have my PS1 memory card in the hopes that someday I will clear the Chrysler Building and get the true ending. Needless to say, I love the hell out of the PE series my biggest issue with it is this:


It struggles with its identity, in all the games.


I've read the Japanese horror novel the series is based on. I've watched the live action movie that gave way to the (really fucking loose) adaptation that became the video game (aside from several basic elements that have nothing to do with one another) and the problem with the PE games is that every single fucking game they want to change up the combat mechanics and make the story more convoluted than the last and for a JAPANESE series, that's saying something.


The 3rd birthday, from what I understand was developed for cell phones and it shows. This game could use a 2nd stick for aiming, since its a 3rd person shooter (instead of a turn based action game like the first or a kinda action game like the second) and I won't lie, the game feels unfair at times. Its been a staple of the PE series that it was challenging, but when you played through a 2nd or 3rd time you'd rape the game. This game wants you to fucking EARN that first playthrough. Getting one shotted is the standard, which because you can jump from body to body seems fair at first, until an enemy wipes ever ally you have out in one shot THEN goes in to kill you. Hell most of the bosses are easier than the average enemy in this game.


Now, the big question: Is it fun? I played it mostly while traveling so it took me a year or so to finish it but I enjoyed the time I had with it. It sounds like I am bitching a lot, but I expect MORE of PE. I realize that the series has been going downhill since the first installment (Come on guys, her clothes come off as she takes damage, what is this? DOA?) I just really hope for more. I want there to be more. I always loved Aya as a main character because she was not a sexual female. She was strong and intelligent. This game felt like a step back in some respects.


It holds up as an action game, sans some frustrating parts as I stated earlier and the 5 minute missions work well since you will play it while traveling (at least I did) but this game was post Crisis Core and that was a MUCH superior title, actually coming in, in my top 10 final fantasy games of all time. 3rd Birthday has a rather convoluted upgrade system which I'm sure if i actually gave a shit to master would have made things a bit smoother but in all honesty I am super tired of JRPGs that have battle/upgrade systems that take me 20 fucking hours to learn.


Now, final verdict. 6/10, if you can get it for 5 to 10 bucks and really want to go back to the PE universe this is a great little pickup. If you're waiting for the next real PE game, join me in line.





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man, great review all around - again ive as not yet played 2 (and i totally never connected the engine to vagrants before but i can see it), but even 1 showed convolution and insecurity about its identity - RPG, thriller, horror-esque, etc? at times it felt a bit more like grounds to try a few ideas and see what came of it.


i didn't see many thorough reviews of 3, so this was a cool read. while we're sharing anecdotes: it was holiday '97 and FF VII had just busted the floodgates open. a freshman NZA was loving independent life in the dorms, and everything was magical: RPGs were all of a sudden popular! sega was working on a new system, the playstation was putting out some of the best square/konami/etc titles id played, and strange foreign women were leaving their doors open to visitors on my floor - everything this side of the music i was discovering felt experimental. and here comes one of my mags, either PSM or diehard gamefan - i forget which - talking about how madonna wanted to lead in the US take on the PE movie...and the article included a rumor from a "legit source" that the title itself would sneak out right before christmas that year! i was so hyped, haha


it was nearly a year later or so when it finally dropped, of course

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Love the story. I remember the most ghetto gangster fuckers being excited that they had played FF7 and wanted to talk to me about it. I was like..


Da faq?


Mind you I was goth angsty artist kid at the time so I didn't know what the fuck.


Squares main experimental phase was during that era. Chrono Cross, Tactics and PE as well as VS all came from that era. Sadly they've forgotten about those titles other than to re re re re re-release them. (I could rant all day about how during that phase, their games showed a hatred toward the Catholic church, but that's a story for another day)

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