The 3rd Birthday Review

The Parasite Eve duology featuring Aya Brea has an old history on PlayStation. The two titles introduced a new female protagonist who wasn’t a fantasy character, but based in reality.

The 3rd Birthday, originally being a Japan-only cell phone title, being redeveloped for the PlayStation Portable was a surprise, also announcing the return of Aya Brea to PlayStation.

The third person shooter is a bit different, with Brea using a technology called Overdrive to send her consciousness into the past to stop the start of an invasion of monsters known as the Twisted to change her present where the world is about to end.

Another big change is that with this new technology, Brea is able to force her consciousness into people taking over their bodies to fight these monsters. A different mechanic, it also allows players to have multiple lives in-game rather than having to respawn, but additionally adding a strategic combat to the title.

While it takes some time to get used to, the second nature of using other characters becomes instrumental to the success of passing areas in the title.

Square Enix’s PlayStation Portable titles have become the best looking on the console and The 3rd Birthday is one of the best, recreating fictional areas of New York with great skill. The development team knew what to focus on and it’s amazing to see multiple support characters and enemies on the screen at one time all functioning with no lag.

The cutscenes also remain the high quality expected of the company’s titles, the sharper visuals assisting in moving the plot forward.

Along with the high quality visuals, The 3rd Birthday also features Square Enix’s high quality voice acting. It appears that every title that the company is releasing, they are raising the bar on the amount of voice in relation to text for characters. There is a definite expectation now for the titles releasing and The 3rd Birthday sets a new standard for believability.

Gameplay is set with Brea going back to key points of when the Twisted emerged and started causing havoc in New York. Brea is sent into the past where she must fight alongside soldiers who assist during combat. Their secondary use is allowing Brea bodies to transfer into, to use their bodies to survive long battles with the creatures.

It’s an interesting mixture of one-man-army and support teams, with Brea being able to direct fellow combatants while moving from body to body when necessary.

Add in the ranking system that allows players to upgrade and unlock new weapons, Brea becomes more than a woman with multiple guns, but an arsenal that is able to deal with the Twisted more effectively than her counterpart soldiers.

Even though the plot is a bit convoluted, the return of Aya Brea to PlayStation is a welcome one. With a lot of titles releasing being more fantasy focused, it’s nice to see a third-person shooter based in reality that is not focused on the army. While the PlayStation Portable might be seeing a decline at the end of the year, players should not miss The 3rd Birthday for any reason.

It will be a classic on PSP, Aya Brea’s return is excellent.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher