Cidolfas's RPG Reviews: Parasite Eve 2 (PSX)
You Are: Aya Brea, young and beautiful agent of MIST, an FBI agency dedicated to exterminating "neo-mitochondrial monsters".
Your Goal Is: Well, you don't really know. You're sent in to investigate attacks at the Akropolis Tower in LA, and an incident in the Mojave Desert, but you discover more as you go.
General System: Aya's main attacks are with guns and ammo of all sorts. She can only carry 20 items (not counting "key" items), and only 5-10 or so of them can be attached to her armor and therefore usable during battle. (You can store excess items in different storage areas or boxes, each of which also have a capacity.) These items include other weapons (so you can switch), ammo containers (to quickly reload), accessories for special effects, or healing/attack items. She can also use Parasite Energy, which she learns and upgrades by expending EXP (gained by winning battles). You also get BP from battles, which you can use to buy weapons, armor, ammo, and items. You can't raise basic stats; HP is raised by using special items or equipping armor, and MP is raised by learning/upgrading Parasite Energy spells.
Another interesting aspect is that, unlike the first Parasite Eve, there are a set amount of battles in the game. You have a map which tells you which rooms are infested by enemies; once you clear a room, it remains cleared until you advance the story. Since the only way to gain EXP and BP is by fighting, it's in your best interest to fight as many battles as possible.
Battle System: More real-time than its predecessor; Aya can attack constantly, but she has to continually reload when her weapon runs out, which takes time (and if you're hit during reload, you have to try again). She can also use P.E. for attacks or effects, switch weapons, or use items. You can switch your target during battle, but the game isn't always smart enough to switch to the target you want. Some weapons have two different attacks (like single and burst, or flashlights that blind enemies). A "GPS" attachment gives you a mini-radar indicating where your enemies are. After each battle, you'll gain back a set amount of MP.
Graphics: Nice and detailed for a PSX game, but that's unfortunately its downfall. It stays with the prerendered backgrounds, but with higher detail to allow more useful environments. That means, though, that each actual screen is tiny in movement space (usually the screen changes every 3-5 steps), and since battles take place onscreen, you often can't see your enemies even if they're right in front of your face.
Music: Almost nonexistent, but it kinda makes sense for the "survival horror" theme they've got going. Still, there are plenty of spots they could have added some.
Story: Pretty interesting, but nowhere near the shock factor of the original, mainly because they have it taking place in the middle of nowhere instead of in New York's most visible landmarks. There's less urgency about it, and more emphasis on exploration and Resident Evil-style puzzle solving. However, multiple paths and endings make for some nice replay value.
Length: About 15-20 hours
My Thoughts: It's a pretty nice game. There's more of an emphasis on action than the earlier offering, meaning you can't just waltz through it like before. However, the aforementioned problem with the graphics is a big no-no. The variety of New Game+ options means you can suit the difficulty to fit your skill, and try to get all the different paths and endings. I don't really like the fact that to keep up you have to revisit areas many times. It's a gimmick that gets old pretty quickly. Still, it's good clean (well, maybe not clean) fun, definitely worth a whirl or two if you liked the first one.
Overall Rating: 7/10