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Parasite Eve
Review By: Jesse Mason
Developer:   Square
Publisher:   Square EA
# of Players:   1
Genre:   RPG
ESRB:   Mature

Even though some do, I don't necessarily hate it when a game I think is great is hated by all the critics. I find it very easy to see why this game could be hated by some. Heck, the game is flawed as hell. But this is one of those instances where the cons, however many there may be, are outdone by the pros.

This game has been compared to Resident Evil, but that would be wrong to do. This game is 100% RPG. Many call it an adventure because the traditional RPG elements aren't there (an epic story spanning the world, a group of hardy adventurers, a sci fi or medieval setting, etc.), but they should know that the traditional RPG elements don't have any effect on whether the game is an RPG or not.

The game takes place in a Resident Evil like setting, has a Resident Evil like atmosphere, and has a Resident Evil like look to it. But any "Resident Evil clone" claims are shattered once the first battle starts. Simply put, Parasite Eve has the best battle system in an RPG ever. Yes, you do go to a traditional "choose your action from a menu after your meter fills." But instead of going to a battle screen, you fight right there on the map, Chrono Trigger style. But Parasite Eve lets you move wherever you want, like Quest 64, only in polished way. Simply press X when your meter is full to fire weapon. In doing so, you have to figure in range and the angle of your shot. It adds a great deal strategy to the game. You can also call on magic or PE, which adds another level to the game. But in all respects, I really don't think it was necessary. You can also get items of course, but the game eliminates stores and money (because it would be awkward and out of place).

When you're not fighting, you're doing one of two things: wandering around various New York places exploring or listening to the lengthy sections of story. The exploration element is the biggest downpoint to the game thanks to the heroine's snail pace. The running speed here is about as fast as the walking speed in most games.

The story, based on the novel, is strong. It starts out with a bang as Aya Brea (the main character) goes to the opera. But soon after one of the singers starts singing, the people on the stage and in the audience burst into flames (delivered in a beautiful FMV). It's a very good shot. Aya is the only one who doesn't die, and the story is launched. I won't go into the details but I will mention that it has all the Square staples (a lone outsider, an evil villain traveling around destroying everything in its path, etc.) And I will mention that the FMV is the best ever in a game. From the majestic Statue of Liberty in the Opening cinema to the gory details of the mutant enemies. Unfortunately the dialogue in Parasite Eve is rather dull and corny (random excerpt: "You don't know? Well, you're mitochondria have always known").

Aside from the dialogue the game suffers in lack of length. I'm not one for complaining about how games are short. Most games are just the right length. But sometimes the game is just not long enough (it's about 15 hours). The story just feels like it could use an extra 10 hours to develop.

The graphics are beautiful as expected and the sound (what there is of it) is excellent. The enemies are well designed and the characters are fine.

Parasite Eve is an extremely faulty game. Had those faults been fixed, it would've been much better, but as it stands, it's still an excellent game.

Overall: 8.4

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