I finished playing The 3rd Birthday a few weeks ago. The game, is an action-RPG launched for the PSP in 2011, and a must if you have the console.
Saving New York
In The Third Birthday, we control Aya Brea, an agent of the CTI that fights the Twisted, an alien race that has invaded New York. To fight against them, Aya will use her hability to “overdrive”. This ability allows her to control other people, no matter if it is in the present or the past. I’m not gonna go deeper in the story and the world of the game, because is better to discover it. And that is if you’re able to understand anything that goes on. The game has one of the worst narratives I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a very strange and confusing game. To make it even worse, the game displays a gallery of characters that are walking cliches, and their dialogs are pretty embarrasing.
Shooting everything that moves
Thankfully, the game displays an extremely solid gameplay, dynamic and really fun. The game presents you a succession of very linear levels where you clean areas of enemies in order to move forward. The shootings make use of an automatic cover system, with destroyable covers. All enemies have different attack patterns, and they will make you learn how they act to be able to kill them. Some of them force you to constantly move, while others will require you to use the covers. This gives the game a lot of dynamism, that is enhanced by a responsive and agile control of the protagonist.
The overdrive ability makes a big impact on the game. While fighting the Twisted, you can change the character that you’re controlling with just pressing a Triangle. If you release the button you will “posses” the closest ally. If you keep it pressed, you’ll be able to change which ally want to control, cycling through them with the right and left arrow. This, that could be a little more than a gimmick, is really well implemented and it helps to give depth to the gunplay. Even more than that, it adds an strategic touch to the fight.
The RPG touch
The 3rd Birthday is the last entry on the Parasite Eve franchise. This series combine action and RPG, while using horror themes. As you see, The Third Birthday doesn’t have “Parasite Eve” on the title. That is due to the massive changes that this entry represents inside the franchise.
Here, the RPG touch is almost gone completely. On a gameplay level, The Third Birthday is an action game. It has the looks, the mechanics and the feel of one. But there are some elements that approaches the experience to an RPG. To start, Aya can level up. There’s also an equip that can be bought and improved with the credits that you gain fighting.
There’s also the DNA system. When an enemy is weakened, you can overdrive on them. When doing this, you will hurt the enemy greatly, and you’ll get a DNA block as a reward. Later you can combine the DNA blocks and apply them to Aya. This system allows you to improve you’re character as you would do in any RPG.
The 3rd Birthday
As I said, this is an excellent when it comes to the gameplay. The game also features stunning graphics on the veteran handheld, with good textures and modelling and good effects. This comes along with a soundtrack that is good but not great.
Overall, I think this is one of the best action games you can play on PSP. The story is not gonna blow your mind, but the rest of the game is really, really good. On top of that, the game lasts for around 11 hours, but it is designed to be replayed, adding new armors, weapons and DNA fragments, what can increase the life of the game considerably.