As previously stated, this title’s real strength is in its movies. The craftsmen at Square have surpassed themselves once again and have raised the bar for all games to follow. The video sequences in Parasite Eve are far better than any I’ve seen in any Playstation game ever, and there are tons of them.
Let it be stated, though, that this is a horror game, and the movies are entirely appropriate. When people start catching on fire, it can be a bit frightening, but when a rat starts to mutate and you watch its skin tearing away from its bones it can get downright gruesome. This is not a game for younger players, as indicated by its rating. For those of us who can handle a bit of bloodshed, however, the gore-fest is wonderful.
Now, before it starts to seem like Parasite Eve is the ultimate definitive game for the Playstation, there are a few small issues. Most of them are nitpicky, though. First of all, while the FMV cutscenes are gorgeous, the in-game ones are atrocious. Maybe it’s just because you end up comparing them to the fully rendered ones, but when you see the camera zoom in on one of the models, they look pretty bad. Added to this is the fact that each model only has so many animations. This can be a problem as many of them get overused and can make the game look very silly. For example, Aya’s partner Daniel is one of the main characters in the game, and spends a lot of time on screen. During the in-engine cutscenes he has this one animation that he does whenever he’s angry or frustrated or unhappy or if it’s Tuesday. He will pump his fist in front of him twice, and then bring both of his arms up above his head, and then bring them down quickly below his waist. I imagine this is supposed to express anger, but after you see him do it a dozen or so times, it just seems like a bad Donkey Kong impression. Also, in the in-engine cut scenes, whenever a character turns, they go through the walking animation. Even if they’re just turning in place. Which means that a character can be facing in one direction, and if they turn around they walk in place as they revolve. This looks bad. Really bad. But, as I said, I’m nitpicking.
Another minor problem that I had might be one that only I suffer from. I guess it has to do with exactly how much disbelief I can suspend. I mean, sure, the mitochondria in our cells have gained sentience and wants to kill us all. I can believe that. No problem. What’s that you say? They managed to evacuate all of Manhattan in less than a day? Sure, why not. I’m good at this kind of thing, but something deep inside of me cringed when I would take a clip out of my MP5 (ostensibly, full of 9mm ammo.) and slapped it directly into my .44, or my AK-47. I cringed a little, but I could take it. What I couldn’t really handle, though, was when I took the same clip of 9mm and popped it into my grenade launcher. I mean, come on, if you’re going to go to all of the trouble to include real world weaponry, would it really have been all that tough to include a few different ammo types? Thankfully, the rocket launcher actually requires its own special rockets.
I think that it definitely says something for the quality of the game when these are the only things I can think of to complain about. Parasite Eve is, in every sense of the word, a classic. There are very few games that I consider to be “must-haves.” This is one of them.