Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Parasite Eve 2 - A great PS1 classic! *Mini Review*

The main character in Parasite Eve 2 is FBI agent Aya Brea. Back in PE1 when Aya was still part of the NYPD, she learned that the mitochondria in each living creature is actually what decides your fate. If the mitochondria want you dead, you're dead, and if they want to transform you into a monster and take over the world with it, they will.

When Aya was very young her sister Maya and her mother were in a car crash which claimed both of their lives. At the time Aya was in need of a cornea transplant, and Maya was a perfect match. This small event is actually changed Aya's life forever. With Maya's cornea in Aya, and her kidney another girl by the name of Melissa, her advance mitochondria went to work. Melissa became a monster known as Eve who was going to give birth to the ulitmate being with plans to take over the world, and Aya became the only one who could stop her. Due to Maya's personality fighting off the mitochondria in Aya, Aya was able to keep control of her mitochondria and remain uneffected by the influence of Eve. In the end Eve was stopped and NY City was saved.

Years later, Aya is now a member of a special MIST FBI branch which was created to hunt down these creatures created by mitochondria. All the alien reportings, all the big foot sightings, it's all real and it's all caused by mitochondria mutation.

In terms of personality and skills, Aya is a strong self dependant woman who knows how to get thing's done. She's not scared to look danger in the face, and she's very skilled with a gun. Due to her mitochondria she also has access to special, almost magical, powers, and her body never ages. Even in The 3rd Birthday, when she's in her late 30s, she still appears as a 20 year old. This fact really bothers Aya, and it causes her to be branded as a "kid" forever.



The Story:

Parasite Eve 2 opens up with Aya being sent to a shopping mall where strange creatures have been reported. Upon arival Aya learns that the SWAT team has been completely whiped out, and that things wont be as simple as they may seem. After watching a young woman mutate into some type of hidious monster, Aya once again finds herself at the front lines batteling the mitochondira; however things are different this time. After finding some type of controller chip, it becomes clear that something other than the Mitocondria is at work here.

Soon after the shopping mall ordeal, Aya is sent to a small Nevada town called Dryfield where UFOs have been spotted. At first Aya has no intrest in checking out these "sightings," but before leaving Aya is told that sand was found on the control chip. Where did that sand come from? Yep, you guessed it! Apparently something is going on in Dryfield, and it's not just simple UFO sightings.

After ariving in Dryfield Aya quickly finds that the strange creatures from the mall have infested the place, and it is now up to her to get to the bottom of things... Or will she? Now that's up to the player to decide! With different endings, and many different possible chain of events, Aya's fate is in your hands.


The Gameplay:

Parasite Eve 2, unlike the other PE games, desides to go down the horror survival route. Although PE1 was classified as a horror game, it played more like an RPG.

PE2 is still an RPG at heart, when you kill monsters you get EXP to spend on skills, and you also get money to spend in the few shops you have access to, but it's still a horror survival. The world is prerendered, the game uses "tank" controls, and you'll spend most of the game searching every inch of the world just to find that next key item that'll allow you to advance the story. If you have ever played a RE game, you'll feel right at home with this.


The World -

With the world being completely prerendered, PE2 has some of the best graphics you'll find on the PS1. Although some early on areas, such as the screenshot above, are a bit lacking in detail, later ones were actually pretty impressive. When I walked into a hotel room, I felt like I was in a hotel room, when I walked into a bar, I felt like I was in a bar. Square really did a good job with creating this world, and I love the atmosphere.

Just like the RE games, the game relies on a lot of different sound effects to help create the mood. Foot steps are soft when you walk, loud when they run, and they also make different sounds based on what you step on. Grass, dirt, stone, tile, it all makes its own sound and its just really nice to hear. Doors swinging, objects falling, and the small cry from something far off in the distance; the detail put into the sound of this world really helps add to the feel, and I love it.

Now don't get me wrong here, the world is great, and the sound effects are great, but it just doesn't live up to Resident Evil. Parasite Eve 2 doesn't completely focus on horror survival like other games out there, and it really doesn't try to scare you. Sure there are a few moments that'll catch you off guard, and there's a few "disturbing" parts as well, but this is not a complete horror game. The monster's aren't very freaky looking, and the sight of someone covered in a pool of blood just doesn't do anything to you this day in age; especially since kids are playing games like Call of Duty. I'm sure this game scared the crap out of people back in the day, but it's really no big deal by today's standards. Then again you never know, not everyone's scared of the same things. This game could really be your worse nightmare.

The Item and Equipment System -

Just like in Resident Evil, finding items and managing them plays a huge role in this game. As you search the city for clues you'll also find yourself picking up many different items. Some are healing items, sometimes you find ammo, and other times you find items that are key to finishing the story. Although this may sound a lot like Resident Evil to most of you, there are actually a lot of differences.


First of all weapons can be loaded with different types of bullets. If you have a 9mm you'll only be able to load it with 9mm shells, but there's many different types of shells with different stats. Some may do more damage to monsters, while others may pierce armor. Really it's up to you to decide which type of ammo you'll use, and when you'll use it.

Armor is another key factor when it comes to survival, and each type also has different stats. Some armor will add more to your HP, while others may increase your MP. Really armor works how you would expect it to, but there is another use for it. Each armor can hold different amounts of items and weapons which can be used freely during battle. This is a very important part of the gameplay.

In games like RE you only had so much room to carry items, but in PE2 things are a lot different. First of all key items required for the story actually go under "key items" and are always on you, but weapons, healing items, buff items, and ammo all go under your item pouch. This inventory holds around 20 items, and can be freely accessed as long as you are NOT in battle. Need healing? No problem, just open up your pack and use a healing item! Want to load your gun with bullets, go ahead and do it! The inventory is a very nice size, and it's really nice that you can freely use it, but like I said you can't access it in battle.

By dragging and dropping items from your inventory into the attachements option from your armor, you can then freely use them in battle. This becomes a key factor since you never know what will happen to you while you're fighting. If you forget to attach ammo to your armor and your gun runs out, you're screwed, if you're about to die and you're out of MP and you didn't equip a healing item, you're out of luck. In other words, your armor's inventory is very important, and it follows the RE style of play.

There's also item boxes, and even the trunk of your car, that you can put extra items in, but they really aren't as important as they are in other games.
 
Combat -

Unlike other horror survival games, the combat in PE2 is actually a lot more advance. Enemies have crazy attack patterns, there's a targeting system which requires you to think before you shoot, there's many different types of guns, and there's a special attack system to boot.

Enemies will show up at different parts of the world based on different key events in the story, and enemies will stay dead once they're killed, but these fights require you to go into a "battle mode" as I like to call it. By targeting in on an enemy, you will then trigger a fight scene where all enemies will become aware of you. These battles become full battles where you will have to dodge attacks, figure out when's the best time to shoot, and you'll also be required to know when to use your skills. If things are looking bad you can run away from the battle by entering another area, but this will result in a loss of BP (the money in this game), and you'll gain no bonuses. If you win a fight however, you will then be rewarded with EXP, BP, and you will also sometimes recover HP or MP as well.


BP can be spent at shops which are located at a few key points in the game, and EXP is used to level up your skills. Just like with "magic" in RPGs, skills allow you to use elemental attacks, buffs, debuffs, and even heal yourself. These skills can become life savers, but they can also cause your down fall if you don't watch yourself.

PE2 still requires you to manage your ammo, weapons, and MP if you wan't to survive, but there is a major focus on combat; something most horror survival games don't do.

Controls:

The last thing I want to talk about here is the controls. As I said above the game uses the tank controls found in Resident Evil, but not everyone knows what that means. To sum it up, since the game features a fixed cam angle that changes as you walk through a room, game developers needed a way to keep controls from jumping around. That's where the "tank" controls come in.

To sum it up, up is forward, down is backwards, and left and right are used for turning. If you want to walk to your left, you'll actually have to turn your body around and press forward to walk, if you want to move right you have to do the same thing. This way when you're walking forward and the cam angle changes causing Aya to face the cam instead of away, you'll still be moving in the correct direction.

Really these controls can take a LOT of getting used to, but if you've ever played Resident Evil, Megaman Legends, or any other horror survival, you already know what to expect.

As for the combat controls, hitting square will bring up your lock on target, trigger buttons will be used to shoot, and you can tap left/right and square to change which target you're locked onto.

Closing:

So overall PE2 is a great game, especially if you're a fan of horror survival and RPGs! It has a great story, solid gameplay, really nice graphics, and a really nice world to explore. This game packs a lot of content, and offers hours of fun. This game may not be for everyone, but if you're interested, check it out on PSN! For $4.99, it's a great deal!

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