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Long for a movie, short for a RPG, but fun anyway!
By Brad Cunningham, Reader Reviewer
Since late last year, one of the many games I was looking forward to being shipped here to the States was Parasite Eve. And the day before it was to be released here, I immediately went to Toys-R-Us and found it in only hours after they had just received it. Even though I finished the game quickly, you have to give credit where it is due, and Parasite Eve deserves a bunch of it.
After such translation disappointments of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics, Parasite Eve was a relief to us all. With the advantage of being primary made in the U.S., Parasite Eve had a pleasant surprise of nearly flawless English dialogue with jokes that I actually understood, and gave the story a nice flow without an annoying misspelled word or a sentence that makes no sense.
I was annoyed with how the story took a jump here and there, leaving me confused and forcing me to play it again and again to figure it out. It is a sci-fi plot, so the level of weirdness has no boundaries in this type of plot. However, as skippy as the story gets (especially with the flashbacks), you are left guessing a lot. Gaps in a story are very annoying to follow, so just bite your tongue when you get to it and move on to the next boss.
True, the characters did seem to have a one dimensional look to them, but so is much Science Fiction at that. If you are annoyed by one dimensional characters, then you shouldn't like the movie Star Wars. In that movie, we have good and evil, one side trying to destroy the other, with a good guy, a bad guy, a leader, and a maverick with a furry copilot. Simple. The only real twist in plot in that movie was Vader being Luke's dad. Same in Parasite Eve. Good, evil, and characters on each side. Making a deep character is part of the RPG genre, which is usually made by an annoying sidequest, and if Parasite Eve brought that in, you would complain about that, so which evil do you choose?
Weapons and Armor were a cool factor in this game. With the tools method of moving characteristics of certain weapons or armor to another, it forces you to think strategy. That is what RPGs are all about, or should be. So that deserves a round of applause.
The music in the game nicely contributes to the sci-fi feel of the game. Not too dramatic, and nice techno sounds with an opera soloist to help carry the tune (appropriate considering the first scene and who the main villain is, or was). At times the music does help create an aura of suspense. It isn't overwhelming, but does give it an eerie feeling or an upbeat sound of anticipation of a big battle is about to take place. Like when Aya is in the police station when Eve's monsters arrive, and you go after Ben who is following a dog that is about to transform, it just makes it a lot of fun. The music doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it just has to be enough to help set the mood of a scene, and Parasite Eve accomplishes that.
The game is unfortunately short for an RPG, and that did make me mad. However, this game has one big element that helps cover this. Parasite Eve is FUN! This game is just plain fun to play, aside from anything else. And with the bonus level you get after you beat the game, you can't help to enjoy the game. Even though the ending is a bit strange and out of place, I learned a long time ago that the ending of a game doesn't make the game, and with awesome visuals and gameplay, you can't help but to love it. This level of funness increases its replay value, and I do enjoy playing it again and again.
Lastly, I applaud the final endboss. Almost every last endboss I have fought, it has been a joke, and usually the harder boss is earlier in the game. This one is not. The rest of the game is actually quite easy in difficulty, and I hardly got stuck, as RPGs are infamous of doing. I enjoy getting stuck though, so I was pleasantly surprised by the last enemy of the game. It took me three days to beat this punk, and a few hours more trying to figure out where to run next! (I'm trying to hold off the spoilers.) This sucker is challenging, hard, and you are really cheering when this punk goes down. I didn't cheer for FF VII, FF Tactics, or any other RPG I've played, but this one, I rejoiced! That is basically where the real challenge of the game is.
I believe expectations have put down this game a lot, and that is unfortunate. It appeared to have a "Resident Evil" look to it, and that got a few people's hopes up. It was called a "Cinematic RPG." "RPG" definitely got my hopes up. However, it shouldn't follow any category of the sort. Parasite Eve is just fun, visually outstanding, and good all the way around! Square has made a reputation of making new kinds of games, and here is the latest. So don't expect anything when you play it, take it for what it is worth, and you should be pleasantly surprised.
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