Parasite Eve: Short and sweet

Over the past week, I played through Parasite Eve.  I’d played through it years ago, but only remembered a couple of the scenes and areas.  Now that it’s fresher in my mind, it’s a game that’s largely impressive, but has some issues here and there.

First, the game really is cinematic.  It makes great use of perspective, like the Resident Evil games, except in PE a sudden shift in perspective won’t kill you.  It has a great realistic ambiance and feel to it despite the fact that its premise is campy and the “engine” abandons any sense of realism (i.e. kill a rat, get 6 bullets, kill a T-Rex, get a nice pistol).  Whereas RE, Doom, and the like tend to go for cheap “shocks”, PE follows the footsteps of the System Shocks by generating an atmosphere of menace.  Its puzzles are likewise more realistic – instead of finding a key lying on the ground in a room, you might find it in a desk, or on a corpse – there’s a motivation to search everything that might contain something.

It’s also short.  For an RPG this isn’t always a good thing, and most RPGs are expected to be 20+ hours.  PE was 6.5 hours, but feels like Symphony of the Night – it’s a game that knows not to overstay its welcome.  The Chrysler building is available for those who insist on more, but I felt pretty good leaving it as-is.

Arguably, there are only a couple ways PE could be overall improved.  Voice acting (if good) would help it out a lot, since its scenes are short but emotional.  Its battle system gets unbalanced quickly though, and some of the bosses reach the point where attacks are unavoidable.  For its length, it’s good enough – I have no idea if PE2 kept the same engine, though.

Other than PE, I have been playing FF4DS.  I’m pretty impressed so far, but it’s starting to drag a bit.  Even at the fastest setting, using the very nice auto-battle feature, things run a bit slow, and the encounter rate feels too high.

I have also started a non-hacking side project, which may never amount to anything.  In the event it starts to do so, this will be the first place I’ll post about it.

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