The 3rd Birthday Final Thoughts: Dead End

The 3rd Birthday is a game that is best enjoyed for its gameplay. Ultimately, this is a game that is held back by the limitations of its platform, and its questionable concept.

The plot is a mess. It’s a monument to all of Square Enix’s worst sins and excesses in creating complicated plots. Every time I think that I understand it, my brain thinks up something else that doesn’t make sense, just to question it.

It didn’t need to be a mess. The original Parasite Eve games had epic scales and conflicts, but they did not descend into supernatural time travel mumbo-jumbo.

Several took issue with Aya’s meeker characterization. It is justified in-game with the revelation that it’s actually Eve in Aya’s body (since Aya is currently soul-challenged at the moment, and apparently exists in a limbo state). However, to be blunt, no one played a PE game to play as anyone but Aya Brea.

Some compare Aya’s characterization negatively to Samus’ characterization in Metroid: Other M. Both games were released in 2011.

Probably the best moment in the story is Eve and Aya’s reunion at the end. Continue reading The 3rd Birthday Final Thoughts: Dead End

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Poll: Should We Expand FemHype to Cover Pop Culture?

FemHype

Did you know that we’re rapidly approaching the three-year mark since opening FemHype? It feels totally surreal to me that only a short time ago, I hadn’t met any of you amazing folks who continue to make this space such a joy to run. Let me start by thanking you — all of you — for sticking around and teaching me new things every single day. I’m a better person having known you, and I’m so glad that you’re here with us now. ❤

When Paige and I started discussing new ideas for FemHype’s future, I knew I wanted to make sure we opened up the floor to our community for feedback. It’s important to both of us that you have a say in any big changes we make, which is where this quick poll comes in!

For almost three years, FemHype has offered women and nonbinary gamers…

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The 3rd Birthday Part Three: Aya’s Counterattack

June 5, 2011: There are varying degrees of mutation. It ranges from A (normal), to B (Benign), to C and D (Malignant). You can splice the malignancy out of corrupted OE chips…

On the field, I discovered something useful: If you activate Liberation just as you suffer a fatal blow, it will restore your health to full after the meter’s dried up!

June 6, 2011: Operation Red Fog! I finally got past the subway train section. Beyond that? Scratchers. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

I don’t really have a plan for my OE Boards. I definitely want to keep Odds Up on them. 😛

June 7, 2011: Once again, Aya’s attempt to enter the past altered the present. Thelonius vanished from the timeline. Blank realized what was happening and ran to Thelonius as he vanished, only to completely forget why he went to the rooftop in the first place.

Aya remembered seeing Kyle dressed as a groom at the altar, only to be shot offscreen. Kyle appeared before her at the Twisted nest again, and she begged him to protect Eve. He pledged his guardianship over “our little princess”.

Episode 4: The Moment of Truth

October 1, 2011: Chipping away at Operation Blue Hail. Let’s find Kyle Madigan. Continue reading The 3rd Birthday Part Three: Aya’s Counterattack

The 3rd Birthday Part Two: Aya Getting Married

April 2, 2011: A battle with tough Twisted in T3B.

If you don’t set the OE Board correctly, Aya could wind up with a disease spliced into her DNA!

I feel bad about my guys dying due to my carelessness. What will I do when they’re not around? You just know that Aya is going to go in alone at some point.

I wasted time trying to fight a Twisted that does too much damage; is hard to hurt; regenerates health; and creates small cyclones?!

I guess the manual says to just shoot at Twisted until they’re stunned, but this particular Twisted becomes a lot more dangerous once you nail it with an Overdive Kill for the first time. It also says to heal your guys by OD’ing and hiding behind cover. SIGH

T3B‘s voice acting is better than a trailer led me to assume.

April 4, 2011: I learned how to overlay chips on the OE Board for greater effectiveness, AND I defeated the Emily Jefferson Twisted. Protip: Exploit Aya’s Liberation ability. Any time it’s full. Every time. I also took my magnum into battle.

Aya encountered Emily in Club Sacrifice. The young lady reminded Aya of someone who looked similar to her. Continue reading The 3rd Birthday Part Two: Aya Getting Married

The 3rd Birthday Part One: CTI Training Manual

April 1, 2011: Episode 0: Sacrifice

December 2012 – New York. Strange roots burst out of the city streets. These sentient beings are called the Twisted. Their nexus is known as the Babel.

December 2013: The Counter Twisted Investigation Team sends agent Aya Brea into the past with Overdive technology. This technology utilizes Aya’s strange powers to dive into the bodies of others in the past to investigate the Twisted. With the power of Overdive, Aya heads to Club Sacrifice in Manhattan, which is under siege by Twisted.

Overdive is also featured in gameplay. It lets Aya dive into the bodies of other soldiers and occasionally civilians. This can yield unexpected benefits like new weaponry and DNA chips, and the opportunity to trigger the skills on Aya’s DNA Board. Aya can also Overdive into enemies when they have been critically wounded (indicated by a triangular symbol over the creature) to deal devastating damage. Hitting the enemy’s weak point with a sniper rifle makes it easier to OD into them.

With Overdive, Aya can dive into the body of a healthier soldier when the one she is currently inhabiting is dying. However, losing too many soldiers in an Episode will negatively affect your final ranking. Also, there are some situations where you may run out of soldiers and have to hold out until more enter the battlefield. There are some situations where Aya has to kill a boss alone.

In the opening cutscene, you are introduced to a flurry of new characters, such as Hyde Bohr, Thelonious Cray, and the young Dr. Blank.

Aya was found on December 24, 2010 in New York in a wedding dress near St. Thomas Cathedral. She lost her memories.

Finding Maeda’s bio in the manual gave me feels.

Continue reading The 3rd Birthday Part One: CTI Training Manual

The 3rd Birthday: Introduction — What Came Before

Trigger Warning: This article discusses rape.

The 3rd Birthday

Developer: Square Enix/HexaDrive

Publisher: Square Enix

Format: PlayStation Portable

Released (Japan): December 22, 2010

Released (NA): March 29, 2011

Released (EU): April 1, 2011

Knowing plot details about the earlier installments in the Parasite Eve franchise is not necessary for enjoying The 3rd Birthday, but it does help, even though the games are not really direct sequels to the original novel. It’s… complicated.

Continue reading The 3rd Birthday: Introduction — What Came Before

Friday Favorites #6: Favorite Levels and Locations

Settings in video games are very important in terms of atmosphere, design, and storytelling. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Gold Saucer, Final Fantasy VII

Basically, a minigame town. The minigames include Mog House, which is like a brief virtual pet game, basketball, and arm wrestling. Though your first visit is probably the most impressive due to the minigames being their most fresh, subsequent visits will allow you to fight in a battle arena and race your own chocobos. The music is fun and peppy, too. 

It will be worth seeing how Gold Saucer will be presented in the FFVII remake… sometime in the next three years. :I

2. The Sunleth Waterscape, Final Fantasy XIII

The Sunleth Waterscape is a fun and beautiful place to explore with great music.

3. Fortune City, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record

The sun may have set on Capcom’s open-world zombie-slaying series, but I’ll always have fond memories of the first few games (I’ve yet to play 3 and 4). Fortune City, an honage/parody of Las Vegas, allows DR2 to expand on the foundation of the first game. There are several secrets, weapons, slot machines, survivors, and psychopaths to find. The Off the Record rerelease adds a new area to Fortune City: Uranus Zone, a theme park.

4. Silent Hill

Silent Hill arguably had its strongest appeal with the first four games made by Team Silent. They created a town that was dark but atmospheric and compelling. It was also fun to explore parts of a city that you would never get to in real life. If Silent Hill is ever rebooted, whoever is in charge needs to portray the town as a character unto itself, and put real craft into designing it.

5. Raccoon City, various Resident Evil/Biohazard titles

Like Silent Hill, Raccoon City was once a nice, quiet little town with some dark secrets. Silent Hill still lingers somewhere out there, but Raccoon City met its apocalyptic end when the US government decided to nuke the town to contain the bio hazard outbreak plaguing it. 

Though RE/BH is more physical than metaphysical, exploring Raccoon City in such games as RE2, 3, and Outbreak has a similar appeal to Silent Hill in that we’re exploring places we’re not supposed to. Tee-hee! 

6. Dracula’s Castle, Castlevania/Vampire Killer

Dracula must have one hell of an interior design team, because every time a hero invades it, it has changed considerably. One consistent installation is the Clock Tower, featured in most CV games.

My first CV game was Symphony of the Night, so I’m partial to it. It’s one of my top five favorite games, and has my favorite vision of Dracula’s castle due to the atmosphere, enemies, and gorgeous music. Highlights include a creepy cavern; an underground water vein; a colosseum; a library; and the Royal Chapel. I ❤ the irony of Dracula having a chapel in his castle.

The stained glass in the background moves as you walk through the room. The effect blew me away when I first played through the game.

7. Melody Town, Kirby’s Epic Yarn

It has not come up much yet, but I loooove Kirby and his games. Melody Land is a very fun level in a very fun game. Imagine a stage in a platformer where every platform is a musical instrument that makes a sound when you interact with it. That’s Melody Land.

8. New York, Parasite Eve

The Chrysler Building

PE offered a recreated version of New York  with some landmarks to explore, which was pretty cool for a PS1 game.9. Rapture, BioShock

I really loved BioShock. Rapture was a gorgeous place to visit. The extremely well-done fire, ice, and water effects helped.

Perhaps one day, I will do a different version of this article for fighting game stages. 

What are your favorite locations in games?


Live-A-Live Final Stats, Thoughts, and Trivia

At certain points, it may have sounded like I did not like Live-A-Live that much, because that was true. Certain scenarios have their annoyances, but overall, L-A-L is a lost, yet flawed gem.

Graphics

A mixed bag. Environments and protagonist sprites are pretty average, leaving some incredible enemy sprites to steal the show. Continue reading Live-A-Live Final Stats, Thoughts, and Trivia

Live-A-Live Part 10

June 13, 2016: Yuan wandered through the darkness until he saw glimpses of strange and unfamiliar places. Eventually, he found a staircase and went up it. The stairs led to a snowy mountain. He found a man who wore and odd hat and a poncho, who wandered off.

Huh, for the final chapter, some of the monsters sure are cute.

Yuan found an Iron Box.

I have to fight these cute little puppies?! But they’re so ADORABLE

Continue reading Live-A-Live Part 10