God I am pissed off at this game for 3 reasons, the name of the game, the lack of special powers in the game and the ending! The 3rd birthday is the 3rd Parasite Eve game but under a different name that closes the door on the franchise. That's part of the reason the ending pissed me off. Anyway let's get to my review before I turn this review into a rant.
It's been a long time since we saw a Parasite Eve game and now we finally get it. The story follows Aya Brea over 10 years since the NMC incident in the second game and starts with the "Twisted" destroying New York City and creating towers called Babels. Fast forward a couple of years to Aya having amnesia and working for a government agency called the CTI(Counter Twisted Unit) and using her new ability called "Overdive" to travel back in time like in Quantum Leap into people of that time period to fight the Twisted and change the future. Throughout the game Aya also has flashback to her past of a wedding with people she can't remember and is slowly regaining her memories.
The gameplay is a huge change from the last ones. If you remember the first game it was shooting in a little area with monsters triggered by random encounters(if you're from the PAL region you may not know this since it was never released to us and we had to import to get it.) and in the second it played like Resident Evil with magic abilities. The 3rd Birthday on the other hand has you playing like most 3rd person shooters of today but you can't aim manually, you have to use the lock-on to actually hit your targets. The default controls are the best to go with since it's the least irritating but regardless of controls the camera is controlled with the D-pad and swapping weapons uses a button and the D-pad. You can also dodge attacks but depending on the weapon depends on how well you do it.
Aya's has also gained 2 new abilities since the previous games, The Overdive which the plot revolves around and the Liberation ability. Overdive allows Aya to leap between people in each mission and to a heavy damage attack to enemies while an orange triangle appears on screen. The Liberation ability is essentially a limit break ability that makes Aya untouchable by enemy attacks and inflict heavy damage to enemies with twin pistols and Overdive into enemies for massive damage.
The Twisted you fight throughout the game are really annoying too. Some of them aren't much of a hassle but there are a few with enormous amounts of health that just can't seem to die without a super powered weapon or Overdiving the damn thing consistently. There are also feats in the game that can be completed to unlock stuff and can be a pain to pull off because of the overpowered Twisted.
The game is also not very long either. I'd say roughly 8 hours depending on how you play. There is replayability to the game too for people who want to super power Aya or get every outfit and weapon in the game. This is always nice to have in games but the big question is after playing the game will you actually want to replay it, especially since the 6 episodes go by so quickly.
The 3rd Birthday isn't a bad game, just not what a Parasite Eve fan was expecting. The game plays well and the story is good until you get to the ending where a twist smacks you in the face like a metal deadbolt door. I overall enjoyed playing through the game and will be shocked if they could pull a 4th game in the series out of there behinds. I give it a 4/5. Well worth buying if you're a fan of the previous Parasite Eve games and if you're a newcomer then I'm glad to tell you the previous games don't interfere with the plot like Resident Evil games do to themselves.
Also you get a voucher for Aya's outfit on Lightning in Dissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy so that's pretty cool.