The first Parasite Eve game blew me away, I remember looking all over the shelves for other games like Resident Evil. They were kind of hard to come by back then from what I remember; I had all the Resident Evil’s, Dino Crisis’ and Silent Hill and I needed another survival horror type game to scratch my itch. Parasite Eve was that game, I loved everything about this title and it is one of the few games I replay from time to time. Unfortunately, college got in my way when the sequel was released, I had neither the money nor the time to get the second entry in the series. I was lucky enough to find a sealed copy on eBay for pretty cheap a few years ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to open the pristine beauty. Thankfully Sony felt my woes and put Parasite Eve II on a Flash Sale and I purchased the game for my Vita for a mere sum. So there is your first caveat, I’m reviewing this game on my Vita, but I’ve changed none of the settings or controls, so think of it as me playing on a tiny PlayStation.
Once again you take control of the series protagonist Aya Brea and she finds herself in a spot of bother once again. Brea went ahead and got herself a nice promotion, she now works for the FBI at the Mitochondrial Investigation and Suppression Team also known as MIST. MIST looks into and suppresses Neo-Mitochondrial Creature outbreaks, for this review I will be calling them NMC’s because that was difficult to type. She gets dispatched to a gore fest in Los Angeles and finds that an entire SWAT Team has been killed at Akropolis tower. Her and her partner fight for their lives in this tower and discover a frightening secret, a new Mitochondrial creature exists; the Artificial Neo-Mitochondrial Creature (ANMC). This ANMC aptly named Golem No. 9 haunts Brea throughout the game, but I’ll leave that for you to enjoy. Once Brea safely leaves the Akropolis tower she finds herself down the rabbit hole again with some old Mitochondrial buddies. It is up to you and Brea to discover what is going on and to ultimately destroy it.
I was disappointed that Squaresoft decided to change the battle controls in the sequel, one of my favorite parts of the original was the quasi-turn-based battle mechanic. They ditched that whole system for a new battle system that mirrored most of the survival horror titles out at the time. When you are wandering around Square is draw your weapon in case you get ambushed, Circle is run in case you get ambushed. X is examine, this is useful for finding ammo, health, and key items, press this on anything you see, bodies, cabinets and even trees. The battle system is more of a run and gun now you fire your weapon with R1 and switch targets by pressing Square. That is what took the longest for me to get used to, I would just shoot randomly and waste my ammo until I remembered to hit Square. To use your Parasite Eve powers you need to push Triangle and select what you want to use and who you want to use it on. I stuck with this as my control setting it is Type A in the menu, there are a few others that you can try to see if they fit your liking but this one seemed to work the best for me.
Unfortunately, this game did not age too well graphically, most of the original PlayStation’s library didn’t. The in-game graphics are not the best, luckily you can still figure out what is going on, but man I wish these two titles would have been saved for the PlayStation 2, just look how gorgeous The 3rd Birthday was. What made these games stand out the most was the story, the gameplay and the cut scenes which are also a tad rough. Aya’s model was nice for the time, but man the poor girl has aged horribly, she and Solid Snake just aren’t the lookers they once were. This does not take away from any enjoyment that I had with the game, however. I still loved my time controlling Aya and ridding the world of NMC’s. Just don’t expect the beauty of other Square games in this title until you are at the cutscenes, then you will be amazed. I still am amazed at Square’s cut scenes from this era. They really put the PlayStation hardware to work and it paid off ten-fold.
Parasite Eve II and the series are truly amazing, it makes me sad that Square has forgotten about the franchise. I would pay lots of money for a ground-up remake or an actual third game in the series. The story is top notch, the controls are top notch and the cut scenes are nothing to shake a stick at. Personally, I prefer the first game in the series due to its far superior combat system, but I have no problem playing the sequel when I have a survival horror itch to scratch. Anyone who is a fan of the old school Resident Evil‘s or Silent Hill‘s then this is a title you shouldn’t miss. It isn’t too difficult to purchase now, you can download it onto your Vita, PSP or PlayStation 3, so there should be no reason why Parasite Eve II isn’t in your grubby little hands.