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.

Which wouldn’t last very long. For the criticism that Aya’s portrayal was given, people seem to gloss over what was done to poor Maeda. [whistles]

Hard is the default difficulty? LOLwut?

The music follows the style of the earlier games.

It’s cool how you can customize her DNA Board, weapons, and clothes. One question, though: If Aya had access to a winter coat, why didn’t she wear it for Episode 0?

The DNA Board: Aya can gain new DNA chips to improve her combat abilities. The setting of the Board has an interesting puzzle element. Having adjacent chips with the same skills on the 3×3 grid increases their effectiveness. Each chip is three slots horizontally or vertically. You can also get multiple DNA Boards for more flexibility and experimentation.

To be honest, while the DNA Board is fun enough, it’s also a bit rigid. The max level for Over Energy skills is twenty-five; you would probably expect it to be higher. I know I did. ;-;

You need to be careful with how you set up DNA chips because some carry diseases that will affect Aya negatively with debuffs.

Most of the skills are named after the magic in the first two games.

OE Skills

Energy Defense: Reduces the amount of health lost when attacked

Barrier: Small chance to gain a short burst of invulnerability when attacked

Pre-raise: Revives Aya from the dead once per Episode

Power Surge: Chance of boosting Aya’s attack power briefly when an enemy is killed

Critical Shot: Small chance that Aya will gain a boost to her handgun attack power

Odds Up: Boosts chances of getting higher-quality DNA chips

Liberation Skills

Aya has a Liberation gauge that fills up over time. When it is full, Aya can liberate her abilities, giving her temporary invincibility, attack power with dual pistols (which she can’t use at any other time in the game…), and the ability to move so fast she looks like she is using teleportation. She can get DNA chips that improve her Liberation Skills as well.

Energy Shot: Improves attack power during Liberation

Regeneration: Restores approximately 30% of health during Liberation

Inferno: Sacrifices Aya’s life to do heavy damage within a certain radius. I never used this in any of my playthroughs.

Crossfire Skills

As Aya fights alongside soldiers, she fills the Crossfire gauge. When it is full, Aya’s next attack will trigger a Crossfire where all of the soldiers will attack her target. Certain skills can be triggered during Crossfire and enhanced with DNA chips.

Boost Fire: Improves damage and impact of attacks during Crossfire

Cross Healing: Heals Aya and all of the other participants during Crossfire

Rapid Link: Fills up the Crossfire gauge faster

Overdive Skills

Skills triggered during an Overdive into a friendly character.

Healing: Chance of healing approximately 30% health when OD’ing into an ally

Antibody: Chance of decreasing damage taken when OD’ing into an ally. I remember being able to trigger this fairly often.

Restock: Chance of filling the currently equipped weapon’s magazine and a third of its ammo when OD’ing into an ally

Impact Wave: Small chance of creating a small, high-impact energy wave when OD’ing into an ally

Overdive Kill Skills

Skills triggered when OD Killing an enemy. Mwa ha ha!

Kill Boost: Greatly improves damage dealt during an attempted ODK

Haste: Small chance of entering “bullet time” slo-mo after every ODK

(Remember when bullet time was everywhere? Sigh~)

Weapons: There are a few types of weapons that Aya can use. Just like in Parasite Eve II, she can use Bounty Points to purchase new weapons. Some weapons have to be unlocked before they can be bought, however. To unlock them, you usually have to level up her experience with the weapon type. You can also buy weapon parts to improve or change the attributes of your weapons. She always has to take a handgun into missions with her, but she can equip two other weapons. The fourth weapon is whatever the character you Overdived into is carrying with them. It helps to have a diverse spread of weapons; you’ll never know when you need a sniper rifle or a high-impact weapon such as a shotgun or grenade launcher. Often, there are areas that function as a checkpoint where Aya and the soldiers can recuperate. You can change weapons and DNA Boards, as well as repair Aya’s outfit to improve her defense. She always feels vulnerable with her samey outfits, however, unlike the diverse pool of armor in PEII

Phew! We now return to your regularly scheduled recap.

Those Reapers are hard to deal with…

The graphics are stunning, with well-rendered and animated characters.

Holding down the left trigger hurt my hand!

The pratfalls of playing a third-person shooter on a system without two analog sticks…