Publisher: SquareSoft Rated: Mature Released Year: 2000
- Sony Playstaion 1
- Mature Action
Set three years after the incident in New York, Ava Brea is now involved with a section dept. of the FBI called MIST - Mitochondria Investigation and Suppression Team. She, along with her fellow hunters are tasked with ridding the world of the remnants of the Neo-Mitochondrial Creatures which roam the country; the legacy of Eve. An incident in Los Angeles becomes the trigger point to one of most frightening developments in the ongoing war against them.
"An attempt to copy Capcom's style of tank controls on fixed backgrounds while adding a few 'very' subtle RPG-ish elements. The sequel is 'very' unlike the original RPG.
I have no doubt I will be referencing the original game a number of times..."
Plot / Concept: 8 / 10
I will give the developers credit for trying to build a story which makes a little more sense than the original, and also not only recognizing, but referencing the original game many times as you progress, sometimes in little ways, others in plot-development moments. However, I do not feel like it ever reached the intensity of the original game.
So, it looks like this next round of Neo-Mithondria Creatures is Aya's fault, rather than Eve's. An incident at the Akropolis Tower in Los Angeles sets a number of events in motion, leading to the discovery of NMCs being created artificially. Another incident an area called Dryfield forces Aya to join up with a questionable ally as they investigate why this is happening and who is ultimately responsible for creating this nightmare.
Like many games, you get the story in-between long, drawn-out segments of battle, but PE2 does a decent job of spreading this out, rather than dumping everything on you at the end. It also sets up the right situation for little things which go on, so overall, it flowed well.
I think one annoying part was one of the bosses in-game was taken out by an NPC, rather than by your hands.
Gameplay: 5 / 10
Parasite Eve II's game play always struck me as weird. I find it is one of those games where if you do not know what to expect as you play, you may end up visiting the Game Over screen lots of times... For instance:
In the Akropolis Tower, I was not aware of an ammo cache near where you start the mission. Until I found it (by accident), I would try to start a game, but always run out of ammo.
Many new enemies will suddenly appear out of nowhere and a few of them will even have a resistance to weapons available to you. I recall my first encounter with the slime-like creatures in the Shelter. Darn lil' buggers were unaffected by bullets, no matter how much I shot at them. I was lucky to have developed the right PE powers so I could cast spells and take it out that way.
A lot of enemy encounters would start me in a very bad position where I could be easily overwhelmed by a swarm of small NMC's or be quickly tackled by big ones, meanwhile I am trying to dodge via annoying tank controls, forcing me to rotate my direction (slowly) as I try to move around.
I do not think I can refer to this as an RPG. Since the original was definitely an RPG, one would expect the sequel would be, too... It does not bear any grinding elements; encounters are limited to your progress in the game, and while you can skip some, there is a finite maximum. You do not have any effective way to upgrade and improve your stats, and the only thing your experience goes towards is unlocking your spells. The limitations define this as more of an adventure game, rather than a true RPG. Heck, your inventory capabilities do not even improve, unlike in the original. In short: There is a serious lack of growth potential in this game. The most you can hope for is to unlock some badass weapons to use earlier on in the game during replays, if your score is good.
Too many things are gone from the original game, which reduces the art of experimentation. Using Tools to upgrade your individual gun stats to include abilities or strengths no longer exists. While limits were imposed, it was neat to transfer capabilities from one type of gun to another, giving you something more hardcore and useful to get you through the more difficult areas of the game. In PE2, you can buy upgrades for some of your weapons, but you can no longer create anything unique. In addition, things like multiple ammo types to clog up your already severely limited carrying ability is a serious dampener in the game design. I figure, it would have been nice if the armour could have contributed to how much stuff you could carry, rather than what you are allowed to use in a fight; another new element to the game series (Which means if you are caught unprepared for a fight, that leaves you with the option of running away, assuming it's a non-boss fight and suffer a points penalty... or dying and having to re-start at your last save. "Ouch" is all I can say about that.
This game does feature a large number of puzzles which need to be solved. While most of them are progress hampers, on occasion it is something which helps you out on the battlefield. Even collecting clues for the puzzles may trigger more monsters to appear in different areas of where you are. Often the clues you need are scattered nearby and are reasonably intuitive. The only one which seems to have issues is the Safe-cracking one, since you must collect three of the clues before nightfall (At which point, they disappear and you can get the last one).
Something else which annoyed me... The firepower in-game. I always find you can never have any good firepower until either a) It's way past when you need it or b) It is ridiculously expensive to try and invest in when you can really use it. A couple specific events come to mind: Defeating Cannon-Mouth, where grenades help you achieve the "Good" ending, and Golem hunting near the end of the game, where having access to unlimited grenades makes picking off Golems absurdly easy.
Controls: 4 / 10
I have an absolute dislike for tank controls on fixed backgrounds.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, "Tank Controls" means you drive the character around like a tank. Instead of moving the character in the direction of your analog stick / directional pad, your character will go forward in whatever direction they face by pressing up. Pressing down will back them up and left and right, lets them turn / rotate and pressing down lets the character back up, often slowly. I have an absolute dislike for this style when you are not in control of the backgrounds (You cannot rotate them around, they remain fixed, etc.). Combine this with the frequent number of background frames changing on you as you fight in an area, it can often lead to confusion in where your enemy is actually located. At least you can aim your gun for off-camera targets...
Other action based games have managed to deal with such background issues without resorting to tank controls. Why not PE2? You already have have a button option for selecting your target and Aya will automatically face the target you are locked onto, so I view this as absolutely unnecessary.
Aside from my biggest nit, the rest of the controls are fine and work for the right situations, including the non-combat ones. So, it is not a total loss. Menu and puzzle manipulation all work fine.
Music: 6 / 10
Overall, I very much like the tracks I hear, but I find there really isn't a lot of 'music' playing through the game. The opening and end credits music both sound great and I appreciate listening to them. However, during the game is another matter: Much of the tracks are quiet ambiance, which I am not sure if it helps to set the mood or not. Thus, I have mixed feelings about the music.
Sound Effects: 7 / 10
The game includes a number of good sound effects. One thing I noticed and appreciated is how the footstep sounds are toned down a bit , which I think is a good thing.
The game also uses a few pieces of audio dialogue... While it sounded fine, they felt out of place, since you would get a tiny piece, then the rest of the sequence is text only. I think for these sort of things, you either go for broke and voice the entire sequence, or do not bother at all.
Graphics: 9 / 10
The graphics are a step up in every way from the original game. Character models look much better in close-up shots. The background shots look just as good as in the original game, but a number of effects were added to them, especially rippling water, which made a number of frames in the game look excellent.
Replays and different ways to go through the game can offer additional challenge to those who want it. Also, when you play through the game, you can unlock stuff you can buy through replays.