Parasite Eve is a video game sequel to the book of the same name. NYPD officer Aya Brea is at an opera when everyone spontaneously combusts. The only survivors are Aya and the opera singer Melissa Pearce. Aya chases after Melissa who informs Aya that her name is Eve. Eve changes into a beast and escapes into the sewers. Aya teams up with Japanese scientist Kunihiko Maeda to prevent Eve from destroying humanity. The events take place during a period of 6 days in New York during the holiday season.
The gameplay is a mix of JRPG elements and survival horror. The game is mainly linear in contrast to many JRPGS in the 90s and today as well. It uses an active time based system seen in many Square Enix JRPGS but is much more free flowing as you can move around during combat to dodge enemy attacks instead of standing in one place.
You can rename Aya to whatever you like but in the canon its always Aya Brea. You cannot escape combat and the only way it can end is if you defeat all enemies. The art direction and character models by Tetsuya Nomura are nicely created but if you look at it today its pretty messy.
Actions are done by using the parasite energy meter to choose which action you would like to use. You can select which enemy you would like to target and choose what action you would like to use. Enemies are not supernatural but based in science so elements like fire are used as psychic powers. As you level up, Aya gains more powers to use in combat to defeat enemies. Liberate is by far very useful in case you are in a very risky situation where enemies are dealt massive blows in a row.
Outside of battle, you can customize your equipment by being able to combine two pieces of the same item into a more powerful version. You can also find items to increase the stats of your weapons or Aya as well. You can distribute bonus points after a while to choose whether you can carry more ammo or more energy to use while in combat. Tool licenses are provided to you early in the game to customize any of your weapons by adding more attachments like extended range or accuracy. After a few days in the game, you can find trading cards in the areas you explore In lieu of tool licenses. There is a new game plus mode after you beat the game.
The musical score in the game is without a doubt one of the best things about the series. It is very haunting and it’s a mix of electronica and orchestra and the audio quality is very good.
The game is extremely scary and its one of the goriest games Square Enix has made. The spontaneous combustion scene is by far one of the darkest scenes in Square Enix history along with Aerith’s death. The graphics and dark visuals fit the horrifying nature of the game but it can be very hard to see even with an upscaler. The comedy really did not fit in with the overall theme while the dialogue was a bit cheesy at times.
Many aspects of the game have not aged well. For starters there is zero voice acting and when you coupled it with the spontaneous combustion scene it loses the shock effect. Random encounters every few seconds as well-made exploration more difficult.
The good luck charms Maeda periodically gives are completely and utterly useless. They provide you with no special benefits during your playthrough and take up space while you are exploring and make it harder than the game should already be in this aspect.
It gets 4 stars out of 5.
If anything deserves a new entry in the series its Parasite Eve. The good luck charms really could be useful in the remake and the time based combat would have to be scrapped for a full real time one seen in the later games.