Where the hell are all the zombies?
Where do we get the energy to help us through our daily grind? Why, from mitochondria! Through ATP transfer, these “energy power houses” within our cells help create the power we need to get through the day.
Well, screw all that. Those mitochondria are in reality bloodthirsty vampire blobs
just waiting to eat you from the inside out. And when that happens, you’ll become
a monster. Sure, you might have increased strength and agility, but you’ll have
lost control of your body, plus you will be extremely ugly.
So, hide the women and children! Mitochondria aren’t here to help us out! They’re
here to kill us all! Gyaugh! At least, according to the world of Parasite Eve
PE 2 picks up three years after the events of the original. The premise?
Mitochondria are actually dormant parasites that have learned to live with the
body…until some of them go bonkers and start mutating animals. And when Mitochondria
attack, things are gonna’ get hairy.
Aya Brea, the heroine from the original, has returned, and now she’s part of
the special MIST unit of the FBI out to kick evil creature ass. But she’s somewhat
different. Where did the Aya Brea of the first Parasite
Eve go? Well, she’s younger. She’s blond. And now, she’s boring. Aya felt
like a much more interesting character in the first game. She goes through all
the motions of killing monsters, but doesn’t imbue that same reserved, bad-ass
character I remember.
Perhaps it’s the writing. The dialogue is seriously boring. At one point, one
of the other cops says “doo-doo.” What kind of hardened cop says “doo-doo” rather
than that other word? Or how about Aya going around telling people she’s
from a top-secret organization? Hello? Top secret? Doesn’t that mean you don’t
tell people? It’s like Inspector
Gadget all over again.
Dumb story points aside, Parasite Eve 2 does do well in its gameplay, sort
of a segmented Resident Evil. As you wander around
the different areas, you will encounter nasty baddies left and right. Just aim
your gun and BAM! – you’re in Battle mode. Then, to complete the battle, you must
eliminate all the enemies within the area.
These battle segments require different skills, such as loading your weapons and
using your mitochondrian powers (a.k.a. magic). And while it is very easy to just
stand there and shoot, it isn’t smart. Shoot a little and run. Or even better,
find some place to shoot far. Weapons and magic require timing, as it takes so
much time to load or prepare your power. Is there enough time before you get mauled?
I would have preferred a more manual aiming system. Being able to adjust the gun
up and down or the ability to ensure always aiming at the right enemy would have
been great, though I can live without it. Once you get the timing down, combat
feels a lot more interesting. And at that point in the game where you understand
that you can’t just stand still and shoot, the enemies will start jumping at you.
By the way, the enemies are ugly. Very ugly. A good thing indeed – if they were
cute little pastel teddy bears holding out flowers for you, would you want to
rain down holy vengeance upon them? (don’t answer that.) When the bosses come,
prepare for truly evil- looking mothers. Makes it all the better to shoot them
The two meters in the game are BP’s and Experience Points. Both are gained with
victories in battle. BP’s are used to buy weapons. Experience Points are used
to unlock more powerful mitochondrian powers. I like being able to accumulate
statistics to make purchases, but buying upgrades can get very ‘trial and error.’
But I do really appreciate the added challenges after you finish the game once
Graphics carry the mood and darkness of the game, but the character quality doesn’t
match up to the likes of Vagrant Story. The backgrounds
are mostly dark stills, pre-rendered visuals with dabs of animation here and there.
Sometimes, you have to deal with awkward viewpoints. It’s annoying when one screen
could be used to see an entire room, but instead they use several screens, all
from weird angles.
The first Parasite Eve was the self-hailed “Cinematic RPG.” The so-called
“cinematics” in Parasite Eve 2 are generally less riveting. For example,
the intro video. It’s got the awesome techno track from the original, but remixed
with less oomph. The video editing isn’t the same quality as PE‘s intro,
and it just comes out disappointing. That intro speaks for the whole game. Sure,
there’s better character modeling, but the flow into videos is not quite as good.
And how can you be “cinematic” if there aren’t any voices? This game really needs
some good voice talent, which could have put emotion in where the words alone
couldn’t. I know, I know – who cares about voices in an RPG? Well, me, that’s
who. It should at least be an option.
It’s easy to discount this game to be just a Resident Evil clone because
well, that’s what it is. Resident Evil came first, not to mention the original
PE. The sequel tries a few things to distinguish itself, but just because
you’ve now got magic powers doesn’t really change things. Rather, more work should
have been put into the plot and storytelling of the game. Plus, some minor tweaks
here and there would have really made the difference. My mitochrondria tell me
that perhaps all you’ll really need is just a rental.