When is a sequel not a sequel? Is Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker not MGS5 in all but name? Surely the flawless God of War: Ghost of Sparta is a sequel (or an interquel in this particular case) in that legendary series. Unless you’re Valkyria Chronicles, it seems releasing an edition of a renowned franchise on a handheld automatically disqualifies your game from getting that illustrious incremental number at the end.
Such is the case with Square Enix’s The Third Birthday. It has Aya Brea from Parasite Eve, it has a plot that follows on from the first two Parasite Eve games on the PS1 (and offers up a recap of the first two games), it even has game mechanics that, though understandably tweaked, look like Parasite Eve to us. It doesn’t have Parasite Eve in its title, however. Whatever.
Originally announced as a keitai (mobile phone) game in Japan, Square Enix eventually decided to scrap this particualr version in favour of an exclusive outing on the PSP. Shades of an old entry on this list; history repeating itself once again.
Interestingly, and because of Aya’s powers (play the first games if you want to know more. Seriously, they’re awesome. Well, the first one is. The second not so much), Aya is presented as a woman on the cusp of her thirties, despite the fact that she would be quite older in reality. Scenario director Motomu Toriyama has commented on her age, suggesting that it’s a rare opportunity to feature a slightly older “cool” woman in gaming.
Plot wise, it’s the standard Parasite Eve “Manhattan under attack by weird life-forms known as The Twisted” fare. Not that we’re complaining. We’re all for cities getting attacked. As long as we can play hot women that ultimately save the day, of course.
The Japanese version of The Third Birthday is released on December 22nd, technically disqualifying it from this list. As it won’t surface in Europe and North America until Q1 2011, we hope you’ll allow us this small indiscretion.