Newest Review: ... game, and Aya has to track down its source and deal with the renewed threat. The game mood throughout is legitimately creepy and manages... more
Stunningly Good Horror Game
Parasite Eve II (PS)
Member Name: tirial
Parasite Eve II (PS)
Advantages: Genuine suspense, great plot, good gameplay
Disadvantages: Dated graphics, limited replay value
Parasite Eve II is a survival horror game by Squaresoft. Originally released for the PS1, it is now available through the Playstation Network to buy as a download for the PS3.
Squaresoft's sequel to Parasite Eve is an excellent RPG in the survival horror tradition, which shows definite signs of Final Fantasy influence in its graphics and game mechanics. Despite being a sequel, the game stands alone and can be enjoyed without having played the original Parasite Eve, and since the original game is not available outside the US this is a good thing.
Storywise it has a strong plot with some genuinely scary moments, and a few real shocks and heart-in-mouth moments. The heroine of the original, Aya Brea, has been rejuvenated by her encounter with the original Eve and is now part of a special unit investigating unusual occurences (and blonde). A massacre in a shopping mall hints at the return of the mutated mitochondria from the first game, and Aya has to track down its source and deal with the renewed threat. The game mood throughout is legitimately creepy and manages to sustain suspense throughout.
The controls are fairly standard for this style of game, using the D-pad to control direction and action buttons to interact, talk, shoot etc. Battles all take place in real-time, with enemies visible on screen. This did give us some problems with camera angles, as smaller enemies are sometimes hidden by terrain features and on one occasion I could not see where Aya was as she was completely hidden by a larger opponent.
You gain experience by killing enemies which can be used to unlock Psychic abilities (explained in game as absorbing their cellular energy to power Aya's mitochondria). These abilities work rather like the spells in Final Fantasy games, including the MP cost. It was a little jarring to see these mechanics in a modern day game, but you get used to them quickly. Items can be requested from stores when you are at the base or found lying around when you explore. Items are always appropriate to location, as are the puzzles. There is one event which stood out as slightly contrived and took me several attempts to solve.
The gameplay graphics are done in a similar style to FF8 and are now beginning to date. When we played it on a PS2 with enhanced render it looked a little odd - almost photorealistic backgrounds with saw-tooth edged sprites. However the FMV cut scenes are excellent and have held up well, especially the shower scene (watch the puddles). The sound works well with the game and enhances the atmosphere, although like most games released at that time it is text based, rather than having voices during play.
There are two endings to the game, and the events you need to perform to get the good ending are evenly spaced throughout the game. As the last trigger event is close to the end it is possible to play through most of the game and use the same save to get both endings.
Completing the game unlocks a number of new modes, including allowing you to run through the game again with all the abilities you gained from your first runthrough. Unfortunately this does not grant anything new, allow you to increase Aya's abilities beyond the maximum from the first game, or unlock new areas so replay value is slightly limited, since you already know the monsters shocks and plot-twists. However it is worth a second play to see how the plot hangs together and work out what was happening behin the scenes as events progress. If you want to see how good you are, Survival mode is worth a mention as it is a mode where you can play through with very limited resources and ammunition, to see whether you can still beat the game.
In all this is a well-plotted survival horror game, but as with many games of its type it has little replay value. Regardless, it is good enough that any fans of survival horror, action, or simply good games would really enjoy this. It's a good game by any measure.
(An update of my original review)
Summary: Excellent survival horror