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SummaryMitochondria's never been so dangerous!
The GoodParasite Eve is one of those strange games that every recognized company has on its catalog. This game wasn't a best-seller, but it has a recognition because of its unusual mix of genres. Parasite Eve combines RPG with some Survival Horror elements... at least that's what Squaresoft attempted.
Reality is a bit different. Parasite Eve is just a RPG with a sci-horror story staged in New York City, which is an unusual stage for a RPG, in fact, I don't remember much RPG games in real contemporary places. That's something that makes the game unique from the start. Maybe Squaresoft sold this game as a RPG with some Survival elements just because of Survival Horror's boom, with games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill being successful for Playstation.
Storyline is as fantastic as most of Squaresoft games are, the only difference is the stage where everything happens because this time is a real one. Of course, like all the other Japanese RPG games, there are many mysteries and unsolved things in the story that will have their answers once you go further in the game.
Taking a deep look at the game, we take control of just one character during the whole adventure (again, something unusual for a RPG), a cop from NYCPD who is involved in a case from the beginning. Gameplay has the same structure that any other RPG, you control your character in static stages talking with different characters to get clues of the story and taking items to progress, like keys or security cards, as well as other items for the battle, like healing potions or better weapons.
As you may suspect, you don't have swords or any other strange weapon because of the context (and yes, it's a RPG). We only have a gun from the beginning, and then we'll find many other weapons like grenade launchers, shotguns or machine guns. Here we have something new, we have ammo for our weapons, but it's not a big problem because we have a lot of it. Every weapon has different properties, like attack power, range, rate of fire and special slots with some "powers" like freezing, or double turn. You can also customize your weapons with the correct item (a tool). With that you can translate your upgrades to a new weapon without loosing them (you'll only use the weapon with the original upgrades). The same with the armors. A good point for the game.
We have also PE, which works as PM in most of RPG games. With that we may use our special powers. To be clear, what we all know as "Magic", like healing, confusing our foes or making an energy shot. We have an explanation for the use of our PE during the game, so, it's not something out of place.
Battles are a bit random, but not as we know from other RPG games. We have the classic level system, the more level we have, the more attack power, HP, defense and other parameters we'll have. We have special points called "bonus points" to distribute them to our active time, inventory capacity or just upgrade some parameter of a weapon/armor. There are not many battles during the game, and we don't even have to spend a lot of time gaining experience to level up our character.
The battle system is good. It's not an action RPG system, but we can move our character as we please avoiding enemies while we're waiting for our turn. It's not a classic RPG battle system, but not an action RPG system either, it's something in between.
Talking about graphics, sound, and other technical parts, they're good. Characters' graphics are similar to Final Fantasy VIII in the way they are and scenarios are huge and full detailed (but that's not something good because it have a bad effect on gameplay as I'm going to point later). There are many different cinematics during the game, as good as they are in other Squaresoft games, with really good visual effects. Sound is on a par, with a main operatic theme for the game including real voices suitable with the game's aura. To sum up, technical aspects of the game has nothing to be reproached.
The BadThe worst point of the game is the gameplay out of battles. Our character moves really slow and many of the stages are enormous, so, we can spend a lot of time just walking around looking for items or any other things. That's so frustrating that you won't inspect every place of the game just because you'll have to come back to that place, and it'd take a lot of time. There's a button to run, but the speed is still ridiculous. During battles speed is better, but sometimes you'll have the same problem avoiding some concrete enemies.
Story's not clear. You'll have to pay a special attention to it if you want to understand everything, so, sometimes it's a bit confusing for the casual player. RPG players are used to this kind of disconcerting stories, but Parasite Eve is not a classic RPG, that's why I think that maybe a story much more accessible would have been better for this game.
Game's short, specially if we consider it a RPG. Besides, the classic point of no return near the end of the game comes soon, and you won't be able to be back once you've reached it. The problem is that there are some important battles after that, and it's possible that you don't have enough level to beat them, so, if you didn't save your progress in different slots you'll have to start the game again from the beginning.
Item capacity is a big problem in Parasite Eve. You can increase the number of slots that you have on your inventory by distributing your bonus points, but when you do that you'll realize that it's not worth because you'll only increase one or two slots, so, you'd rather increase your attack power or your active time.
The Bottom LineTrying Parasite Eve as a Survival Horror game is a big mistake, as well as trying it as a classic RPG. However, the game is a good RPG with some interesting new features making this game an unique experience for the player. A nice offer by Squaresoft far from mages, swords and fictional worlds.
If you survive the annoying speed of your character movements you'll enjoy this game, and you'll realize that Parasite Eve will come off well in this strange combination of different genres.