What I am playing: The Third Birthday and Legend of Zelda

Hey guys.  I am back with another ‘What I am playing’.  I got some positive feedback from the last one, but to be fair most of that feedback came from the voices in my head.  They are generally very positive, I enjoy them.  Anyway like last time I am currently playing two games.  Also like last time they are a Wii and PSP game.  It’s kind of funny that back to back articles feature these systems when in actuality the Wii and PSP are my two systems I play the least.  My PS3 and X-Box now get to see what it feels like to be left out.

The 3rd Birthday (PSP)

I can not talk about this game without first mentioning Parasite Eve.  Parasite Eve was Playstation RPG.  It was a very unusual title.  At the time most RPGs were either futuristic sci-fi’s or medieval fantasy’s, Parasite Eve differentiated itself by being set in modern day New York.  In addition to that the game borrowed several elements from survival horror games and probably the best thing that it had going for it was the strong but cute female protagonist Aya Brea.  Although it has its flaws I found Parasite Eve to be enjoyable and I still look back on it fondly.  I never played the second game.  I always meant to, I still want to in fact.  When I get some more time, I plan on downloading it off the PSN.

The series was quite after Parasite Eve 2.  Fast forward 10 years to The 3rd Birthday.  I had assumed that 3rd Birthday was Square Enix’s clever way of saying Parasite Eve 3 however after playing this game; I do not know what to make of it.  It is unclear if this is a sequel or a reboot.  The booklet mentions the events from the previous games but the in game story makes no reference to previous events.  The few recurring characters are changed drastically and barely resemble their previous selves.  The main character Aya went from being a strong protagonist to a weak willed a whiny character.

The storyline to The 3rd Birthday is a mess.  Monsters called the twisted attacked New York City on December 2012; however the game takes place in December 2013.  Aya has the ability to project her consciousness back in time and posses soldiers while they are fighting the twisted in 2012 in an attempt to save the future.  The story makes little to no sense.  Things will happen in the game with no explanation and the few times they do feel like explaining something it makes no sense and seems half assed.  The game introduces characters and story elements; however they fail to give me a reason to care for either.

The game play is good not great.  The 3rd Birthday is a 3rd person shooter with RPG elements.  You basically go from room to room, kill all the enemies and then head into another room and repeat.  It is fun but very repetitive.  Aya is surrounded by soldiers and she has the ability to possess them and jump from body to body.  Once she jumps into them they become her.  The thing I find odd is that when she jumps out of them they act like nothing happened and just go on with the mission.  No one stops to say “What the hell!  Why was I just a cute blond girl?”  Even if they have no memory of temporarily being a cute blond girl, they do not seem to be disoriented by being possessed.  You would think it would be jarring being in one room, blacking out and waking up in another room.  The only explanation I have is that all these soldiers are hardcore alcoholics who are used to blacking out and having their gender temporarily changed.

Even though I feel compelled to finish this game, I can not recommend it.  The story is confusing if you haven’t played a Parasite Eve game and insulting if you have.  As far as 3rd person shooters go, it is average.  If you need to play a 3rd person shooter as a cute blond I would recommend playing Uncharted with the Elena skin.

The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword (Wii)

Hell yeah!  All I have to say is that this is a Zelda game.  The Zelda series carries a lot of goodwill.  Almost every game in this series is great.  The only exceptions are the crappy CD-I games.  I didn’t like Zelda 2 either, but a lot of people do…and they are all wrong.

We all know the story; Zelda is kidnapped, usually by the fiend Ganon and Link goes on a quest to save her.  According to Nintendo, Skyward Sword was the first of these occurrences.  I find it best not to over think the time line.  In fact I am disappointed that there is a time line.  I had just assumed each game unless stated it was a continuation, took place in an alternate reality.  Every time someone tries to explain it to me I plug my ears and go la la la.

This is the first Zelda game to fully implement motion controls (Twilight Princess didn’t count).  You need the Wii Motion Plus controller to even play the game.  I did not realize that until after I had already bought the game.  Once I got my controller I was ready to roll.  The Motion Plus can tell what angle you are holding the controller and certain enemies require certain slashes.  It took me a while to get use to these controls, but now that I am about six hours into the game I am starting to get pretty comfortable.  It feels very rewarding to take down the enemy with the correct technique.

I love how Link is a silent character in the Zelda series.  He is a blank slat that allows the player to project their own personality on him.  The player is Link and when I play these games Link is me.  The motion controls in this game drive this point home even further.  Not only am I projecting my thoughts and feelings onto Link but now my movements are projected onto Link.  When I raise my controller, Link raises his sword.  When I slash, he slashes.  I highly recommend this game and look forward to playing the rest of it.

Well that is all for now.  I will probably be playing Zelda for a while but I will play another game on the side when I am done with 3rd Birthday.  So I will be back shortly with another ‘What I am playing’.  Feel free to comment on what you think of these games.  Let me know if you love or hate the games I am playing.  Likewise you can recommend a game that you either love or hate (bad games can be fun) for me to play.  Until then stay super and for the love of God, stay clothed.

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