Parasite Eve (PlayStation) Review

By Ofisil 07.01.2017 4

Review for Parasite Eve on PlayStation

It's the mid '90s. Despite the efforts of the Nintendo 64, Sony's PlayStation reigns supreme. Two products that stand out as the definite "killer apps?" Capcom's ode to corny b-movie horror, Resident Evil, and Square's epic JRPG, Final Fantasy VII. Now, imagine a combination of these two, developed by the creator of the Final Fantasy franchise itself. Mind blowing as an idea, right? Well, here we are at 2017, and few, if any, remember this unique blend called Parasite Eve. Overshadowed by its popular "siblings?" Not really…

Basically a video game adaptation of Hideaki Sena's novel of the same name, Parasite Eve is just another stereotypical biohazard-type science fiction tale, where its lone protagonist gets tangled in a situation when something dangerous has "awoken," and she is the only one who can defeat it. Enter Aya Brea; a young police rookie, and an unimpressive, frail, blond girl, who, for some reason (ooooooh! Mystery…), has some mysterious powers that shield her from the strange mutated animals that roam the streets of Manhattan, and their powerful boss, Eve.

Influenced by the concept of 'Mitochondrial Eve,' (by the way, fans of biology: The Seven Daughters of Eve… read it now), the concept behind the plot is that the organelles known as Mitochondria, have reached an evolutionary step that enables them to take control of a body's cells, and manipulate that said body to their will. Pretty neat? Unfortunately, this turns out to be a mish-mash of pseudo-science, with the answer behind every "why?" being "because mitochondria!" similarly to Metal Gear Solid 4's nanomachines.

Screenshot for Parasite Eve on PlayStation

The fact that the plot is poorly constructed and has little basis on actual science doesn't make it a bad one. What makes it so is that, unlike, for example, the Resident Evil franchise, it takes itself waaay too seriously, and, as a result, feels… silly - and not the "good" kind of silly. Furthermore, and again, compared to the Resident Evil series, it lacks the required character that could make it stand out - the big bad corporation, the colourful characters, the iconic enemies and locales, the b-movie-ish charm, and so on.

Similar to its two main sources of inspiration, this has 3D characters moving on pre-rendered backgrounds… and both are boring, with the later sometimes making it hard to understand what you are looking at, or, even worse, navigate around the place. The monsters themselves are more weird than scary, or at least grotesque, and the adventure is filled with tons of low-quality or unimpressive FMVs for the sake of FMVs. As for the music, while it's nice and all, it feels as if there are only two tracks here - the slow, snooping-around one, and the faster, tension/danger one.

Screenshot for Parasite Eve on PlayStation

Moving on, this is a pretty basic, and extremely linear RPG… No, really, it almost feels like a rail shooter! That's not a bad thing on its own, though. Many titles, from Metal Gear Solid, to Uncharted, had a more cinematic, and thus, linear, approach, and the same could happen here, IF the plot was more interesting, IF the animations (both in-game as well in cut-scenes) weren't as freaking slow, and, most importantly, IF the actual game wasn't as poorly made. There are numerous small flaws in here, but Parasite Eve's biggest one lies elsewhere…

So far, this is a subpar attempt at cashing in on the success of Capcom's flavour of survival horror - it has its genuine moments of fun, but it ain't something special. The thing that takes the biscuit, though, is its Final Fantasy-like battle system… and it's a shame because it could, without a single doubt, be its saving grace. Simply put, it's a modified version of Square's semi-turned-based ATB (Active Time Battle) mechanic, which lets a character make a move once a recharging meter fills, adding a layer of urgency, since enemies won't simply wait an eternity for the player's decision.

Screenshot for Parasite Eve on PlayStation

What makes this version more interesting (in theory), is that the protagonist can move around the place while a battle goes on, effectively making it possible to avoid attacks. Furthermore, since Aya uses ranged weaponry like handguns and rifles, her accuracy is affected by her distance from the enemy, thus, she must choose between getting too close or dealing decreased damage. Even better? Instead of random encounters, monsters appear only when entering certain rooms, therefore, searching around never becomes a boring array of unnecessary fights.

Sadly, and while battles initially show potential, as the journey towards the end continues, the flaws start to show. For starters, avoiding damage gets almost impossible later on, with most "arenas" being too tiny to move, as well as certain attacks being hard to "read" and understand where to stand to avoid them. Generally, strategy gets thrown out of the window, with all but the boss encounters being nothing more than easy, and extremely tedious speedbumps of no importance. Long story short… the game is boring.

Screenshot for Parasite Eve on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Playing this can make you appreciate the very first Resident Evil, despite its numerous flaws. Parasite Eve starts as a nice, survival-horror-meets-JRPGs kind of deal, but soon ends up as a sleep-inducing, and linear trek towards the end of a story that won't really ignite any interest.

Developer

Squaresoft

Publisher

Square

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Comments

I think this review was too harsh. PE1 wasnt very good, but pe2 was mind blowing at the time. The story was actually original even though you dismiss it. Am both a huge RE and PE fan, PE never got attention after ps1 era it deserved.

Dragon0085 said:
...PE1 wasnt very good...

exactly

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Your entire first paragraph applies to the entire series, Aya is actually a pretty cool character.

I wouldn't say it applies to the whole series, just the impression within this particular game, speaking solely to the first paragraph and how I personally read it. 

I would also agree with you however that PE2 was a much better game all around, and showed a lot of promise within the series. PE2 though clearly sought to fix the mistakes in PE1 (the combat was abysmal in the first one) and did a great job. While I think there were definitely components of the first one that would be ground breaking or even exciting to this day (the opera scene was an excellent opening), whenever I talk about it I usually give it the same treatment as Dino Crisis, where as the sequel is the one I recommend to people.

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