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
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
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
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
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
January 4, 2012: I recently learned that the Flow chapter is also known as “Blood Flow”. That makes sense considering the liquified humans in the chapter’s storyline.
The Captain Square minigame has groovy music.
At least Buriki Daioh’s theme was pretty cool.
January 5, 2012: Is anything gonna happen in this chap? It’s all PLOT PLOT PLOT PLOT PLOT PLOT
“OD-10 Cogito Ergosum”
Continue reading Live-A-Live Part Six
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom is a game with a solid concept saddled with less-than-solid execution. The game was not made with the help of Phantasy Star co-creator Rieko Kodama, and the game was rushed.
The story is lacking much personality and characterization. Note how we get so much exposition in the third gen that finally explains the backstory and introduces the big bad, Dark Force. Another sign that the game was rushed?
If I was to ask you what PSIII is about, what would you tell me? Does the game really have any overarching themes? I could tell you about the themes of Dragon Age II (family and the conflict between the templars and mages) or Final Fantasy XIII (the veracity of free will), but for PSIII, the biggest theme I get is the problems brought upon by previous generations being left to the next generation to clean up. But the game never really delves into the emotions that such conflicts would believably invoke.
Remember Lyle? He actually died in gen two, but I forgot to bring it up. It was a missed opportunity to add characterization to the relatives that knew him.
The generation system is the game’s main gimmick, but the women are barely established, so the decisions can be hard to make. Heck, the princes are barely established as well!
The game would have been better if it had more cutscenes like the one at the end.
To the translators’ credit, Generations of Doom is a much cooler title than Successors of Time.
Continue reading Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Final Stats, Thoughts, and Trivia
April 21, 2015: Welcome to Terminus
We made it to Lashute on planet Terminus. One of the women there said, “We wanted Siren and Lune to start another war, but we needed Rhys to bring Satellite back. And that’s exactly what that old fool did!”
The women at the start of the city told us that our deaths awaited us here.
Continue reading Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Part Six: End of a Generation
April 1, 2015: Castle of Silence
We found Laya’s Pendant in the Castle. Even though Laya can’t equip it, I still gave it to her to hold.
We went to the temple. It reacted to Laya’s Pendant and teleported us to the planet Elysium, which Siren programmed to plunge into the sun of its system.
We went to the town of Aerone and found the hidden path to the moon known as Dahlia…
There, a guard told us to find the Aero Parts for Wren down the stairs. “Use them to reach the sky city on Frigidia.” Oh, boy. “There, you may find the strength to combat evil.”
Continue reading Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Part Five
March 14, 2015: Terror in Techna
Our new weapons – wow. I thought Sari hit hard before…
In Techna’s castle dungeon, we met an old man who said that our Power Topaz proved our courage and worth, and that we had earned the right to see our “true world”.
Somehow, I got two details wrong in this conversation: I misidentified the old man as a woman, and power instead of courage as the virtue that the Topaz proved we had.
Continue reading Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Part Four