The 3rd Birthday is the third video game installment in the Parasite Eve series, developed by HexaDrive and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation Portable. It was released December 22, 2010 in Japan; March 29, 2011 in North America; and April 1, 2011 in Europe. It is also playable on PlayStation Vita on the PlayStation Store. The gameplay is a third-person shooter with a heavier focus on action.
The 3rd Birthday is a pseudo-sequel to Parasite Eve II and is the third game in the Parasite Eve series. Returning characters from the series include Aya Brea, Kunihiko Maeda, Kyle Madigan and Eve Brea.
The title actually references the third appearance of Aya Brea, the protagonist of the video game series, and the significant changes for the design of the game compared to its predecessors. The title is also closely linked to the third birth of Aya with the Overdive system being referred to as a new form of mitochondria power.
The game is set in a monster-infested post-apocalyptic New York City between 2010-2014, in which mysterious bloodthirsty aliens called Twisted have been killing humanity worldwide by the millions to feed on bodies. Aya Brea volunteers her efforts and special abilities to survive and overcome the apocalypse before humanity reaches extinction, working with the military, scientists and key figures. Using her Overdive ability, Aya travels into the past to alter the outcome of battles against the creatures.
On December 24, 2010, Aya Brea and Kyle Madigan were to be wed at Saint Thomas Church. However, an incident occurred, leaving Aya amnesiac. Eve Brea and Kyle went missing and no records of their existence remains. Aya was found by an acquaintance, Hyde Bohr. Human-eating creatures called the "Twisted" were sighted shortly after, but they mostly stayed underground and out of sight. The Counter Twisted Investigation (CTI) was formed by the American government to save humanity from annihilation.
On December 24, 2012, at 5:00PM, New York City was torn apart by a strange organic tree-like structure that emerged from underground, which was later dubbed the "Babel". Roots twisted up out of the ground destroying everything in their way. After the Babel had risen, masses of hideous creatures slaughtered thousands of people in the city. Ground reports from the squads tasked with containing the pandemonium refer to these life-forms as the "Twisted." 3,000,000 people were killed by these Twisted monsters, New York City was completely shut down, evacuated, and became a dystopia, and the United States of America fell into peril. Humanity was on the verge of extinction, as the rest of the world is affected by the Twisted and Babels. The CTI (Counter Twisted Investigation) begins to plan.
Soon after entering CTI custody, Aya exhibited a mysterious ability. After much analysis, this ability was dubbed "Overdive".
Chapter 0: Sacrifice
One year later, a new means of opposition emerges. It is a system with only one viable candidate: Aya Brea. This machine, dubbed the Overdive device, made Aya the only one capable of diving into a human's past consciousness. Her chief mission was to move back in time and alter the reality that had already occurred, but if she were to go beyond the limits of her abilities, her consciousness would be lost in time, never to return. In short, death during an Overdive operation had a direct effect on the physical body left behind.
On December 24, 2013, members of the CTI prepared to send Aya Brea's conscience back to December 24, 2012, the day the Babel emerged, by using the Overdive Device. She was tasked with aiding the National Guards during the Sacrifice Incident; a campaign that was planned in order to destroy the Big Orb, which was thought to be the very core and "heart" of the Babel, but ended in many casualties.
- Operation Rainbow Dust
- Chelsea, W. 18th & 10th
- December 24th, 2012
Once within the body of a National Guard, Aya, guided by Hyde Bohr, Thelonious Cray, and Blank, helped the guards take out many of the Twisted, although men were still killed like before. At one point, Aya was separated from the troops in an attack, and was found by a Reaper. However, before it could get her, she was sent back to the present day.
Chapter 1: A Brave New World
Having returned to 2013, Aya awoke in her cell at the CTI Headquarters from a dream; a vision of her shooting a girl with a face of a Twisted, which she had been seeing since she had lost her memory. Hyde visits Aya to tell her that the boss of CTI, Hunter Owen, and the FBI branch had disappeared, and that she was no longer under their observation.
- Operation Rainbow Dust
- Club Sacrifice
- December 24th, 2012
Shortly after, Aya was sent back to December 24, 2012, via Overdive to Club Sacrifice, a concert venue where Twisted attacked mid-performance, killing hundreds of the audience by dragging them into vortexes and bursting their bodies into gore and blood. After helping fight back the Helix, Aya aided the National Guards to save civilians, and destroy Twisted and orbs. During the search, Aya encountered a survivor, but the girl triggered a vision similar to her dream of a blonde girl who looks like Aya. At that moment, the Babel grew and changed, causing earthquakes, and Aya lost sight of the survivor.
After finding a wounded woman in the backrooms of the club, Aya had a flashback to October 3, 2013 of Gabrielle Monsigny, a CTI member, dying in her arms. Back in 2012, Aya saw the girl with the Twisted's face and followed her, but ended up having to out-run a Reaper and lost her. After killing the Helix outside the club, Aya went back inside and found the survivor from before, and Blank identified her as Emily Jefferson. Emily told her that she had to remember about Time Zero, before turning into a giant Twisted.
After destroying the Twisted, Aya awoke back in her cell in December 24, 2013. Hyde arrived to tell her that Cray had been killed and she was going to be sent back three days to save him. However, Owen was with him and said they wouldn't be allowed to perform that kind of mission. He then tried to shoot Aya, but Hyde talked him out of it. The men then left the cell to talk elsewhere, as Owen said Aya was like one of the Twisted.
Chapter 2: The Lost Soul
A couple of hours later, Aya was about to be sent back three days to infiltrate the Babel at the Spanish Harlem, destroy the Big Orb, and save Cray. Although the team was going to follow Owen's orders to destroy the Orb at the same time, Blank knew that Owen really wanted the CTI to fall apart so he could return to his real post at the FBI, and didn't really believe that the past can be changed. To take Cray's place during the operation, Owen and Hyde appointed Gabrielle Monsigny to help guide Aya during the campaign. Since Gabrielle originally died about three months ago on October 3, 2013, seeing Gabrielle alive again was a big shock to Aya, but Aya chose not to say anything.
- Operation Black Storm
- Spanish Harlem
- December 21st, 2013
Using Overdive, Aya was sent back to December 21, 2013, and proceeded to help the SWAT team that was going to attack the Babel, and then locate and Overdive into Gabrielle who was on mission at that day. While taking down Twisted with the SWAT team, a Rover appeared. Although it managed to capture everyone in its paralyzing light including Aya, Gabrielle arrived overhead in a helicopter and stunned the Rover with her sniper rifle, giving Aya the chance to Overdive into Gabrielle and kill the Rover.
Afterward, Aya jumped back into a SWAT member, and heard over the radio that it was Hyde who convinced Owen to letting them help Cray. Resuming her mission, Aya helped kill masses of Stinkers and other Twisted, and lots of Orbs located around the Babel. She dived into the Babel, and found the Queen within. After taking it down, the Babel fall apart and sank into the ground once more.
Aya dived back out of the Babel in time and found Cray wounded. However, when Aya tried to contact Hyde, Owen picked up and told her that they had lost Gabrielle's signal. Following Owen's orders, Aya located the area where Gabrielle's signal was lost, but couldn't find her. In the present day, Owen used sleeping gas on Hyde, Blank and Gabrielle to knock them out, and had actually lead Aya to her death.
Gabrielle turned into a large flying Twisted and began attacking Aya. After seriously wounding the Twisted, Aya Overdived in and tried to save Gabrielle, but it was too late and Gabrielle disappeared. Back in the present day, Gabrielle woke up from the sleeping gas and tried to kill Owen, but since she had already died three days ago, she disappeared from existence. Owen told her, "It's a pity, losing someone like yourself. But... you no longer exist." Still in the past, some of Aya's memories of her family return, and she remembers that the blonde girl from her dream was her little sister Eve.
Aya sees a vision of Eve, but panics when Eve went to a man she didn't recognize. Although the man knew Aya, Aya threatened to shoot him if he didn't let Eve go. Eve disappeared again, and the man told Aya that Eve is dead, and was now just a soul who wanders through the gaps of time. As the world started to change (Ascent) and Aya returned to the present, the man told her to meet him at "the Babel in the red fog" and that his name is Kyle Madigan.
Chapter 3: Against the World
Aya awakens in her cell in the altered time axis. Like before, Hyde appears to take her out. Aya asks him to check the backgrounds of Kyle Madigan and Eve Brea, her younger sister. Hyde is pleased that Aya is finally remembering her life.
- Operation Red Fog
- Grand Central
- January 7th, 2012
Several weeks later Aya was sent into Grand Central Station to destroy the Big Orb, and that this incident triggered the growth of the surrounding Babels. Cray was displeased with this, complaining that it's like a "suicide mission" for Aya, and storms off. As Aya Overdives into a soldier, she is told to meet up with Captain Danny Russo who was a friend of Cray's and a member the Delta Force. As Aya goes deeper into the Station, she hears transmissions from Russo's team that they see a girl with a face of a Twisted (similar to Aya's dream). Aya contacts Russo, receiving his coordinates and asks him to keep a lookout for Eve. As Aya proceeds to the rendezvous point, Hyde says that he briefly checked the files and found no information on Eve.
Finally, after the battle with the Twisted at the rendezvous point, Aya sees Eve inside the Big Orb, but back in the CTI Headquarters, Blank says that Aya is seeing "the possibility of Eve's existence". Cray reveals himself to Aya and says that he killed Russo and the rest of the team to see Isabella (Cray's daughter). Cray goes into the Big Orb and Aya follows. Before Cray disappears into oblivion, he motivates Aya to find Eve. In the present day, Blank runs to Cray who is on top of the CTI building. Cray then says that his fate was inevitable then disappears while Blank rushes to save Cray. Blank is too late and says "What am I doing here?" as he looks at the huge Babel, as Cray's existence is erased from Blank's memory to form a new timeline.
Meanwhile, in the past, Aya tries to convince Eve to come with her, and as she does, Kyle suddenly appears in front of her. Kyle asks her if she remembers now, but suddenly the world starts changing. She then realizes that they're pulling her out of the Overdive (Ascending), but before she's pulled out, Aya begs Kyle to help Eve and he tells her not to worry, and that he'll "save their little princess" and says "Good night, Aya."
Chapter 4: The Moment of Truth
After history was modified, Aya woke up somewhere in New York. She reunited with Japanese scientist Kunihiko Maeda, and got the determination to fight the Twisted together with him in place of the destroyed CTI. Several months later, in 2014, Aya is now living with Maeda at his base to stop the Babel in the North Shallows Tower. The reason for this is because on December 25th, 2013, the CTI was destroyed by Kyle Madigan and all the CTI staff were killed and Hyde Bohr went missing. In addition, the Overdive Device was destroyed so Aya could not return to the past.
The Pentagon orders ground and air attacks in one last effort to take back New York. The North Shallows Tower mission was about to begin in which soldiers would place C4 on the tower floors and destroy the still-growing Babel, and use a nuclear strike as a last resort.
- Operation Blue Hail
- North Shallows Tower
- February 15th, 2014
Aya Overdives into Alpha team's position where they are using tanks Aya to kill a huge Worm blocking the entrance to the Babel. As Aya goes up the tower, Maeda theorizes on the Twisted and on the mission itself. When Aya finishes planting all C4s, Aya and the rest of the soldiers are trapped by the Twisted but thankfully a helicopter that saved Aya during the mission loses control and creates an exit. Aya then Overdives into the helicopter pilot seen outside the exit and a sky battle issues with the Spitters. After taking out the Spitters, Maeda says he located Kyle on the top tier of the tower, so Aya goes up to the top tier.
On the roof, Aya tries to apprehend Kyle, although he claims she is "lost in time" and is better off not knowing the hurtful truth. Kyle approaches Aya and tries to flirt with her, causing Aya to fire a warning shot. When he laughs in response, Aya shoots him multiple times, presumably enraged such a man murdered the CTI and her friends. Kyle then transforms into a huge Twisted and a battle issues. During the fight, High One Kyle averts his attention to the choppers assisting Aya, possibly because of his feelings for her. Aya also hears the real Kyle's voice and he pleads with her to finish the battle as he does not want to hurt her.
After the fight, Aya remembers memories from her past and remembers that she and Kyle were going to be married and that she turned her gun on Eve when they were attacked, making her wonder if she really shot Eve. Aya is suddenly transported back to the top tier of the tower, and sees a dying Kyle. Kyle tells her that he was trying to protect her but the Twisted took him over. Kyle tells her that he found "it". He then leaves a cryptic message saying that "Eternity is inside of you." and dies. As Aya cries over Kyle's dead body, the Babels suddenly merge into one massive Babel dubbed as "The Grand Babel".
Chapter 5: Counterattack
- Operation Scarlet Snow
- Lower Manhattan
- February 16th, 2014
Maeda finally figures out that the "Grand Babel" is like a huge Overdive system, Aya now needs to go to the Grand Babel, the Twisted stronghold. Maeda also uses a satellite camera to find Hyde near the Grand Babel. Aya, robbed of everything she loves and held dear, Overdives into a soldier and goes into the Grand Babel.
Aya fights countless Twisted to get to the Big Orb. Maeda also says that Hyde is killing countless Twisted. As Aya continues onto the Big Orb, Aya encounters a Reaper and fights it by breaking its shell then finally killing it.
Aya finally reaches the Big Orb and gets to Hyde, although it is the High One possessing Hyde speaking. Hyde says he is stuck in a time loop and for him to stop the cycle, he must return to the "Mother". Aya asks Hyde why he pitted her against the High Ones. He replies, "We are at war the the Twisted and every time one of us dies, the time-space power structure is consequently redesigned and the Babel grows stronger." Hyde says he uses this as an advantage and "our species became the foundation of the Grand Babel" and "we were successful as we unlocked the doors to Zero." Aya finally fights against Hyde as a Twisted for a grueling battle.
After the battle, Aya remembers she shot Eve. Hyde confirms she did in order to stop the awakening of Eve, the "Mother." Hyde says, "We High Ones, we were there the moment Eve Brea awakened, and the memories from her body were inherited by us fortunate ones." Aya claims she can fix her mistake of shooting Eve by diving into the past. Hyde reveals Aya is not the only one who can Overdive. Hyde Overdives and takes Aya to Time Zero.
Chapter 6: Eternity
- To Time Zero
- Rockefeller Center and Saint Thomas Church
- December 24th, 2010
Hyde leaves Aya with the Queen and a battle ensues. Aya then finds Hyde at Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink. Hyde says he wants the same thing as she does, and that he wants to surpass time and make his way to the "Mother". Aya orders Hyde to stay away from "her", and another fight with Hyde occurs.
During the fight, Hyde could also Overdive, after Aya's first loss against Hyde. Cray, Blank, Gabrielle and Kyle appear and cheer Aya to stop Hyde. Kyle also tells Aya he loves her. Aya and Hyde fight again, then Aya Overdives into Hyde's psyche. Aya and Hyde issue one last battle, a battle with each other's psyche. As Aya Overdives into Hyde, Aya is then transported to Time Zero, the birthplace of the Twisted and the High Ones.
Time Zero is revealed to be the wedding of Aya Brea and Kyle Madigan at Saint Thomas Church. As they are about to exchange vows, a paramilitary group emerges and open fire, shooting all those within with the exception of Eve Brea. Eve, desperate to save Aya awakens her power and Overdives into Aya's body which destroys Aya's soul to create the twisted. She awakens with amnesia but is soon greeted by Hyde who managed to survive and Overdive into himself.
Hyde reveals that while Eve's consciousness is transferred into Aya, her body deteriorates and create the High Ones in the people around her. He then tells Eve of his plan to stop the cycle by fusing with her to create an even more evolved species to annihilate both human and twisted. Eve vehemently refuses this upon learning it will involve the death of the ones she loved, but is subdued by Hyde who quickly gets shot by Aya, whose soul seem to have returned.
With defiance at Hyde, Aya finish him with few more shots. Unfortunately, the events cannot be prevented if the sources are not removed. Aya then states her regrets about not being able to exchange vows with Kyle, then requests that Eve shoot her to prevent the Twisted. After an emotional moment, Eve Overdives into Aya's body while Aya Overdives into Eve's. The sisters then enjoy a last moment before Eve, the new Aya Brea (Eve) shoots Eve (Aya). After hearing Kyle's disembodied voice, Eve finds him alive and well. Aya's voice then gives Eve some final words of encouragement accompanied with a light, before a new timeline is created - one in which Eve's physical form never existed nor Aya's soul.
Back at the wedding in the new time axis, as Kyle is about to marry "Aya" who is now Eve, he chuckles and is able to detect that something is amiss about Aya. He tells Eve she does not have to pretend to be anyone else, tells her to be strong and independent about her own life, and that he and Aya will watch over her. He reveals he is on a quest to find eternity (Aya), and wishes Eve a happy birthday before leaving the church.
Sometime later, Eve, who is living in Aya Brea's body, walks down a snow filled street of New York City. A taller woman with the same hairstyle and voice as the real Aya walks by and wishes her a happy fourth birthday, but when Eve turns around to look at her, this "Aya" has disappeared. Whether or not this is Aya is left ambiguous.
In the extra mailnotes, Eve comments that despite living in a timeline where there are no Twisted, she can still feel their presence sometimes, and has a feeling that another disaster will occur someday.
The 3rd Birthday Insider translations of "Unfolded Story"
|List of Q and A|
Q: Why does Aya get back memories about Eve every time she defeats a High One?
Q: After defeating Cray, how did Aya go to Maeda's hideout?
Q: In the scene where Aya has a conversation with Kyle after abandoning the body she used Overdive on (episode 2-4), does Kyle see Aya's appearance?
Q: What's the reason of Aya coming back from the Overdive investigation on December 24th, 2013?
Q: When Aya returned to the present in episode 3, did she witness the rest of CTI members getting massacred?
Q: Why can Hyde go back in time? Does the Grand Babel form up in every parallel world?
Q: Why is Eve sometimes seen as a Twisted?
Q: Why wasn't the battle against Awakened Cray shown in the game?
Q: During the last scene, can Kyle see Aya?
Q: In the world where Aya doesn't exist, does history adapt so that she died during an accident?
Q: Why was Hyde the only one inside the church during the wedding ceremony besides the family relatives?
Q: When did Aya get back her memories about Maeda?
Q: What made it possible for the Twisted to originate?
Q: Why was Maeda in front of the wedding ceremony?
Q: What's the meaning of the light that appears when Aya and Eve hug?
Q: Why do the dead members from CTI appear during the battle against Hyde?
Q: When a High One takes over a person, does it keep memories of the body or consciousness at all?
Q: After defeating Awakened Hyde, why does he appear back in "Time Zero"?
Q: Gabrielle and the others being present at the wedding means that they knew each other previously?
Q: Why did Kyle ultimately leave the church after the wedding?
Q: Who is the armored group that intruded in?
Q: Hyde says "Aya didn't really shoot you" (literally, Aya having shot you is a lie), but what is the truth?
Q: When talking to those who turned into High Ones, there's a location covered in a red sea and white roads. Where is it and what is it called?
Q: Aya moving after saying "it's already been destroyed" means it revived thanks to her willpower?
Q: Why was Blank astonished at seeing the Grand Babel after Cray vanished?
Q: How were Aya and Maeda able to meet again?
The game plays out as a series of missions, between which Aya rests at the Counter Twisted Investigation headquarters, which acts as the game's main hub. In the hub, Aya can receive briefings for missions, view additional documents, buy and customize new weapons. She also has the option to transport back there should she die during a mission. The game can be saved both at the hub and in safe zones within missions.
At the end of each mission, Aya is given a grade based on performance, enemies killed, and the number of times she died. Depending on her score, she will earn differing amounts of Bounty Points, a currency used to customize weapons and repair protective gear in the hub area.
The game contains five difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, Deadly and Insane (Insane mode is known as "Genocide" mode in Japan - they are the exact same difficulty level).
The gameplay consists of a typical third person shooter formula. Aya has the ability to lock onto enemies immediately instead of free shooting. She has an array of guns to use which can be upgraded and made stronger by experience points, as well as a finite number of throwable grenades which can be replenished at certain points.
Aya's new power consists of a system called Overdive which allows her to swap places and control the bodies of nearby soldiers. In most battle situations, Aya is accompanied by a group of allied AI-controlled NPC (non-playable character) soldiers that the player can direct around the battle area. Available commands include offering supporting fire, directly attacking enemies, or staying behind cover. They can also all fire at the same enemy in certain situations, dealing high damage. Each NPC has a separate health meter, and is permanently removed from battle upon defeat. If her health is low, Aya can transport into the body of an allied NPC, taking on their health level, position and current weapon in the process. Aya can remain in a body for the duration of a level, or until the unit has died. If Aya cannot jump to another body, she dies and the level must either be restarted or exited. Overdive can be activated at any time, enabling Aya to transport around the battlefield to avoid enemy attacks or save herself when her current unit's health is low.
Aya can also target Twisted and command all CTI members in the vicinity to crossfire. Crossfire can often lead to an "Overdive Kill" which allows Aya to jump into the Twisted -- this will either kill a Twisted or takes a big chunk of life off one.
Damaging Twisted fills a red bar called Liberation. When the Liberation gauge is full, Aya can unleash "Liberate" and deal massive damage to enemies -- this may also result in an Overdive Kill.
Aya can unlock many different outfits that will effect gameplay in movement speed and resistance to damage; generally speaking, a higher defense reduces movement speed, although this is not always the case. There are a total of eleven outfits in the game, but only two are available at the outset – Black Leather and White Eider. Receiving damage will cause the outfit to become shredded and deteriorate, requiring the player to repair clothing.
Over Energy is a gameplay mechanic that essentially replaced Parasite Energy from previous games. It refers to Aya's capacity to modify her DNA with fragments, known as OE chips, which are obtained from soldiers or the Twisted when overdiving or performing overdive kills, respectively. These chips consist of one to three units of over energy, which correspond to abilities. By placing these abilities on her DNA board, Aya can make use of them in the field.
- Main article: The 3rd Birthday Original Soundtrack
Yoko Shimomura, the music composer from the first Parasite Eve, returned to compose the soundtrack, along with Tsuyoshi Sekito and Mitsuto Suzuki. The soundtrack contains 66 tracks. The main theme song is "Eyes On Me" performed by Superfly. The soundtrack contains strong techno. A few tracks are from the first Parasite Eve.
The 3rd Birthday has received mixed and polarized views from fans and critics alike. It holds a 71% on Metacritic.
Some call the game "garbage that should not have been made" and accuse the game of "killing" the franchise, although it was already dormant for a decade. Others note that it did not make much sense to only release the game as a PSP exclusive at the end of its life cycle, and that a PC/PS2/PS3 port would have helped with sales.
Despite the negative reception, The 3rd Birthday has received defenders who feel that despite the game's shortcomings, it is still a "fun and enjoyable experience with interesting concepts", with some feeling that the game was funner to play than the previous two games. Defenders point that it can be considered a great PSP game, utilizing the PSP's graphical and hardware capabilities to its full potential. The CGI cutscenes show a lot of effort put into them. The enthralling gameplay features a lot of customization and challenge. Many enjoyed the body jumping mechanic, feeling it adds depth and complexity to battle strategy, and that jumping around the battlefield is fun. There are quite a lot of unlockables, such as weapons and costumes. The game's music and soundtrack has been praised. The English voice acting was generally well received, with Yvonne Strahovski voicing Aya and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural fame voicing Kyle, although Strahovski's performance has been criticized for Aya's ridiculous amount of audible breathing and gasping.
The 3rd Birthday, on its own, could be considered a satisfactory and decent game. However, as an official Parasite Eve installment, it could be considered subpar due to numerous reasons, such as having a convoluted abstract storyline, an amnesiac Aya without an attitude, a lack of grotesque body horror and transformation scenes, etc.
Some criticism was aimed at the Over Energy system, with many players feeling that operating it was too confusing and a downgrade of the "melding" system from Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and criticizing that it plays more like random stat boosts in gameplay as opposed to a traditional "magic" system. If the player does not fully grasp the system, they may also make "malignant" abilities which can hurt Aya by reducing her speed, slowing her healing, etc.
Another point of criticism was how the game handled its unlockables. For example, to unlock the "T480C" weapon, the player must complete the game six times, which is more about mental endurance for repetitive gameplay than actual skill. Many of the weapon mods are hidden behind feats, but the game does not list which feat is necessary to unlock each mod, leading to confusion, so without a strategy guide or online walkthrough, the player is essentially forced to do all the feats until they receive what they want. Some called this backwards, and theorize it was done so that the game's strategy guides would get more sales, as there was one released by BradyGames in English, and multiple others in Japanese.
The storyline written by Motomu Toriyama can be seen as extremely confusing, nonsensical, muddled and convoluted without motivation and connection. A review by GameTrailers said that that explaining the game's story, what happens and why it happens is like "explaining string theory to a 2 year old".
Almost all of the science-fiction elements from the series are removed in favor of more "fantasy" metaphysical elements such as building a device which somehow allows Aya to time travel into the past by sending her consciousness, consciousness-swapping, time paradoxes, fourth-dimensional alien creatures, etc. For example, the explanation behind the Twisted creatures are that they are "fragments of Aya's subconsciousness", though the game never clarifies anything beyond that, leading to suspension of disbelief. This is at odds since previous Parasite Eve games at least tried to have a scientific background, even if it seemed pseudoscience at times. The "biological horror" the series is known for has been changed to "cosmic horror" with aliens.
There are also some plot holes which are left unexplained. For example:
- Why did Kyle kill the CTI and destroy the Overdive Device?
- Maeda's first message in the mailbox says he "probably didn't like Aya diving around in the past", but this is still a questionable reason to kill the CTI. Another possibility is that Kyle was possessed by the High One, and the High One wanted to prevent Aya changing the past in order to protect its own existence. This could be hinted at when Kyle mentions the Twisted took control of his body.
- Why does Kyle go to North Shallows Tower?
- Why do random SWAT officers appear in the church and shoot Aya and Kyle?
- Why/how the Babels exist, when did they exist, why they are underground, why do they appear at once, why do they merge into the Grand Babel after Kyle's death, etc.
- Why/how defeating a High One causes a new timeline, and why it causes Aya to Ascent back to present time.
- Why does defeating all High Ones open a time portal to Time Zero?
- Why/how are Aya and Hyde transported to Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink near the game?
- The game mentions Cray's wife and child died in 2006 in a freak accident. After the events of the game, history is altered so that they are inexplicably alive again, which does not make sense because Time Zero occurred in 2010, before all the history-warping.
The 3rd Birthday also left the Parasite Eve series on a major cliffhanger, and provides no closure on Aya and Kyle: Is Aya dead? Did Kyle ever find "eternity"? Who was the woman who wished Eve happy fourth birthday in the secret ending?
Characterization and portrayal of Aya Brea and Kunihiko Maeda
Aya's character in The 3rd Birthday has been criticized for her fragile and "sexualized" nature which effectively made Aya into a sex symbol. Some examples of this are:
- A graphic shower scene where Aya makes moaning sounds.
- Aya's clothes can tear off during battle, revealing much of her skin and running around the battlefield half naked. Although clothes can be repaired at save points throughout the game, it is inevitable that the player will receive too much damage during some battle and be forced to watch Aya run half-naked until the next save point.
- Many fan-servicey alternate outfits, perhaps the most explicit being the Titanium Bunny which reveals her panties and buttocks.
- Although subtle, Aya's breasts can also jiggle during combat, meaning the developers actually took time and resources to include it, instead of polishing the rest of the game.
- In both combat and cutscenes, Aya is often seen on her last legs, frequently gasping in pain, crying, moaning, and stumbling over easily whenever being knocked down by an enemy, and even having painful difficulty combating with her powers.
- The player can unlock a third "secret camera" which focuses on Aya's buttocks (while the player has access to a camera mode called "behind" from the get go which zooms in on Aya's buttocks, the "secret" camera simply zooms in even further). To unlock this camera angle, the player must beat the game 50 times in order to unlock the shower scene in the video log. The player must then watch this shower scene 10 times in a row, meaning the developers knew exactly what they were doing.
All of this is even made more disturbing considering how this is Eve in Aya's body. Due to the timeline of the series, Eve is about 13-15 years old chronologically. While Eve is "child prodigy" levels of intelligent, attending university as a child, she is technically still a teenager and a minor (in America, not Japan) forced into the body of a very sexualized woman.
In the end, the main antagonist of the story, Hyde, begins calling Eve "mother" and talking about her "descendants", and begins talking creepily about how he will be "inside" of her and asks her to "take me in", implying rape overtones. He claims that only by having offspring with her, this will prevent the end of the world. After Eve says she does not like that idea, Hyde refuses to let down.
In the story itself, Aya has a very quiet and submissive personality, especially towards Hyde Bohr and Hunter Owen. This was a major change from the modest, but strong, outspoken and enduring character of the previous two games. Many players found it discouraging to see such a well-respected and honored heroine be treated so horribly. It can be agonizing and frustrating to watch Aya be doubted and asked to prove herself first instead of having others simply take her word, despite the fact that she already literally saved humanity and the world twice.
Although the player knows Aya has amnesia and her meek nature is explained by the end of the game (Aya is actually Eve) and she gains confidence throughout the game, many fans felt that it wasn't a necessary turn because the game marked Aya's first appearance after a decade of absence - it turns out that the real Aya only appears in the game for less than five minutes.
To add insult to injury to Aya fans, players are forced to kill Aya in the ending of the game by shooting her in the heart and watch her bleed to death with her gore spilling onto the screen. The player literally goes through hell and back, only to have Aya die (although there are hints that Aya is still out there, such as her disembodied voice, as well as the secret ending).
Also criticized was Kunihiko Maeda's character. In the first game, Maeda was a shy and awkward scientist who had a platonic crush on Aya. In The 3rd Birthday, however, Maeda is noticeably "creepier" towards Aya, which is a little more unsettling considering how Aya is really Eve, and his crush on Aya may have turned into lust.
It is unknown if The 3rd Birthday will ever receive an HD remaster some day. The 3rd Birthday can be played in HD via a PSP emulator such as PPSSPP, but the textures are still low-res in certain areas and it's still locked to 30 FPS, and PC gamers tend to dislike 30 FPS in action-heavy games, which The 3rd Birthday is.
However, Square Enix has been porting more games to PC on Steam, including Final Fantasy Type-0 which was also originally on PSP, so a remaster of The 3rd Birthday may be possible.
Director of The 3rd Birthday, Hajime Tabata, said in an interview that in 2015, there were no plans to remaster the game because the game just isn't popular enough due to a "lack of audience demand." He also added that if there were ever any plans to revisit The 3rd Birthday, it would be a "remake" rather than a HD remaster.
A special edition of The 3rd Birthday, called The 3rd Birthday: Twisted Edition was released alongside the standard version of the game, but it has no game content differences. As well as the game (with a new box cover), the Twisted Edition also includes:
- Two lithograph art prints of Aya Brea.
- A "CTI Confidential" art book, featuring CGI images, character renders, and concept illustrations.
- A PlayStation Network code for a 50% discount on Final Fantasy II in the PlayStation Store.
- A PlayStation Network code to download Aya's default costume for Lightning to wear in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
- The game was originally developed for mobile phones, but it later changed to the PlayStation Portable. In the end, this turned out to be a wise decision as it allowed for better graphics, controls and accessibility.
- In the Japanese version, Aya's voice varies depending on her selected outfit. For example, wearing a cute outfit makes her sound cuter, while wearing Lightning's outfit makes her sound like Lightning.
The 3rd Birthday
|Aya Brea - Eve Brea - Kyle Madigan|
Hyde Bohr - Thelonious Cray - Hunter Owen - Blank - Gabrielle Monsigny - Kunihiko Maeda - Emily Jefferson - Ginger - Seamus Rose
Slacker - Wad - Stinker - Snatcher - Bean - Roller - Rover - Detector - Worm - Spitter - Mudflap - Reaper - Helix - Queen
|Babel - CTI Headquarters - Club Sacrifice - Maeda's House - North Shallows Tower - Rockefeller Center - Saint Thomas Church - Spanish Harlem|
|Cheat Codes - Feats - Outfits - Overdive - Over Energy - Soundtrack - Weapons|