The 3rd Birthday is the third game in the Parasite Eve series.
It was originally announced for Japanese cellphones but was changed to a PSP game; it got a December 2010 release in Japan and a March 2011 release everywhere else. Speculation is that the game is not billed as "Parasite Eve" because Square Enix doesn't want to pay to keep using the license — fair enough, since due to the radical gameplay departure between this and previous titles, it'd really matter just for the name.
Christmas Eve 2012 sees the rise of massive tentacled structures known as the Babels throughout Manhattan and other parts of the globe, spawning time-distorting monsters known as the Twisted. Fast-forward one year later, to the U.S. government's Counter-Twisted Initiative launching their campaign against the creatures using Aya Brea and her Overdive ability to insert her consciousness into key SWAT troopers and National Guardsmen in the past and make key strikes against both the Twisted and the Babels. But why does Aya have no recollection of her past, and what is the meaning behind her dreams of a bloodstained wedding?
For added star power, Yvonne Strahovski and Jensen Ackles provided the voices for Aya Brea and Kyle Madigan respectively for the English version.
This game provides examples of:
- A.K.A.-47: Unlike the previous installments, this game plays this trope straight with all guns having fictional names and model numbers.
- Ambiguous Situation: Aya Brea's fate is actually left in doubt in the secret ending, as does the existence of the Twisted not actually being gone for good. Kyle stated his belief that she wasn't actually gone either.
- Artificial Stupidity: Soldiers whom you are not directly controlling are next to useless in battle. This includes ones who are manning machinegun turrets and attack helicopters, but will not fire a single shot on their own.
- Big Damn Heroes: The real Aya at the end of the game when she shoots Hyde, who it turns out is a HighOne."Leave her alone, will you?"
- Bittersweet Ending: Eve in Aya’s body continues her work as a government agent in the alternate timeline, and most of the people killed during the events of the game are brought back and live happy lives. However, the real Aya seemingly has been erased from the timeline completely and Eve is the only one who remembers. However, a woman who might be Aya appears to Eve in the secret ending, hinting that she is not gone for good after all.
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Poor Aya ended like this after a SWAT team crashed her wedding.
- Bloodier and Gorier: While the first games had a certain amount of blood and gore (mostly during the mitochondria transformations), The 3rd Birthday appears to be ramping that up. People snatched by the Twisted are reduced to piles of gore; you're likely to feel guilty if you have to abandon one body only to hear the screams and crunches left behind by the poor soldier.
- Body Horror: Possibly less here than in others in the series, given the tranformation into Twisted doesn't result in human-like creatures, but still a lot.
- Body Surf: A major gameplay feature. Eve is projecting herself to the battlefield via a machine called the Overdive system at least initially; she's lending her powers and mind to the soldiers she takes over and hopping from body to body is how she obtains new weapons or how to move around otherwise-impassable terrain. Trying to use Overdive on monsters doesn't allow you to take them over; however, it does damage them, in a variant on Tele-Frag. It's also how Eve accidentally sets into motion the events in the game.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Subverted with costumes/armor. You can only change outfits(and repair them) at checkpoints or the Overdive Room. Repairing clothes costs BP too.
- Cheat Code: The internal variety. Where most of the replay value lies. Beating the game a certain number of times under different difficulties and meeting the requirements of certain feats unlocks different cheats that change gameplay.
- Checkpoint: Used in two ways — in save stations mid-mission where you can also buy/customize weapons, change armor, and customize DNA; and in checkpoints mid-level where you can restart if you die.
- Chickification: Aya is noticeably more demure and submissive toward her authority figures and is in a constant state of self loathing and doubt about her own abilities, completely out of character and a far cry from her original depictions in the first two games. This is a major hint that Aya isn’t the character the player is actually playing as, but as her sister Eve, the real protagonist of the game, possessing the real Aya’s body after being shot to death by SWAT soldiers in a misguided attempt to save her life.
- Clothing Damage: The more Aya is damaged, the more her clothes will rip and fall off. This eventually cuts off when Aya's shirt and pants are essentially reduced to her bra and underwear. This is more than Fanservice: she takes more and more damage the worse her clothing condition is, so it's to your benefit to keep all her outfits repaired.
- Cutscene Incompetence: No matter how powerful you actually are in the game, Aya gets pushed around quite a bit. This is a subtle foreshadowing that the Aya you are playing as is not the real Aya, but an amnesiac Eve who accidentally stole her body and identity.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Due to all of the checkpoints, dying doesn't set you back too far.
- Decoy Protagonist: The real Aya Brea is NOT the actual protagonist of the game, being long dead. Instead, Eve is the real protagonist, possessing her body in an attempt to save her from death.
- Fan Disservice: Aya's alternate outfits, when combined with the Clothing Damage. Yeah, she shows off more of her body...but she's also covered in cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
- Healing Factor: Aya can take hits until her clothes disintegrate, but if she takes too many before her Healing Factor kicks in, she'll die.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In order to prevent the creation of the Twisted and the High Ones, Aya switches bodies with Eve and has Eve (now in Aya's body) shoot Aya— thereby cleanly killing Eve's body (the source of the High Ones), and Aya's soul (the source of the Twisted) at once.
- Hoist by His Own Petard Hyde's desire to combine with Eve and his subsequent forcing her out of Aya's body was what lead to his own demise.
- Hold the Line: This one has more than its share of situations where you simply have to survive until reinforcements arrive. Also can happen in boss fights if you mismanage your troops and suddenly find that you're the only one left on the field.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first time you encounter a Reaper, you're told to run like hell. The thing is invulnerable to your current weapons, it can Flash Step, and it creates barriers to keep you from escaping. You can Body Surf into someone on the other side of the barriers, but no such luck for the poor soldier you leave behind.
- Humanoid Abomination: The High Ones look just like regular humans, before turning into their monstrous forms.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Played literally straight, where Aya's gun vanishes in a flash of light whenever she switches to another one. Of course, this is because she's using a form of time travel.
- It's Up to You: Aya is the only one able to use the Overdive system thanks to her unique biology.
- Kill Sat: A few times, you're forced to encounter enemies that are all but invulnerable to conventional weapons. Fortunately, a soldier with a Hammer Of Dawn shows up for you to possess in these situations.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The evil chief's attempt to sabotage the time-travel mission results in a new timeline where he got killed months earlier.
- More Dakka: What the T498PS lacks in accuracy and handling, it more than makes up for in brute power.
- New Game Plus: The game requires you to beat it several times for certain costumes, cheat codes, Deadly and Genocide difficulty modes, and an unlockable alternate ending.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Everything in The 3rd Birthday happened because Eve Overdived into Aya to try to save her when she was nearly shot to death. The result was basically Parasite Eve confusingly crossed with Quantum Leap, with Eve confusing herself with the now dead Aya and creating a stable time loop.
- Older Than They Look / Younger Than They Look: Zigzagged throughout the game. Continuing from Parasite Eve 2's explanation, Aya's unique mitochondria makes her look like she's in her early 20s, even though by the time of The 3rd Birthday she'd have just turned 41. Meanwhile, her younger sister Eve (a genetic clone of Aya) is an example of the inverse, as when she was rescued she was chronologically only 2-3 years old but had the appearance and behavior of a preteen girl. Ten years later on the day of Aya's wedding, Eve still looked about the same age instead of aging into a 20-something, even though by now she'd graduated from college.note In the ending, it's revealed that the person the player has been controlling is actually Eve in Aya's body. She permanently takes over after Aya's death, making her a young teen in an 38-year-old body that looks 20.
- Power-Up Letdown: Most of the other costumes can only be unlocked by beating the game on harder difficulties and aside from the revealing clothing, also has weaker defensive stats aside from the Lightning outfit (go figure). Fortunately for the player, the two base costumes Aya starts with have B and A grade defense.
- Reset Button: Partially: Thanks to Aya's Heroic Sacrifice, a new timeline is created where the Twisted were never created in the first place. This effectively undoes the damage they caused, but at the cost of Aya, althought a woman who might be her shows up in the secret ending of the game.
- The Reveal: Aya Brea = Eve Brea throughout the game.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Aya has this, but the rest of her team do not. This means that they have difficulty believing that Aya has time-traveled at all. As far as the team is concerned, each time is her "first" time diving into the past. This makes the Bad Boss even worse.
- San Dimas Time: While Aya is in the Overdive machine, her support staff can follow her actions and give advice.
- Shaped Like Itself: Due to Eve's soul inhabiting Aya's body through the entirety of the game, the name "Parasite Eve" is actually pretty clever. It's a shame the game isn't actually called that.
- Lots with Final Fantasy XIII, most notable Lightning's gunblade and her outfit. It sports the best defensive stat in the game.
- For Final Fantasy in general, there's also a helicopter named "Bahamut."
- The Shower Scene is a Shout-Out to Parasite Eve 2.
- The way the concert scene plays out is similar to the infamous opera scene from Parasite Eve.
- Shower Scene: Upgraded to soft-core porn, as the developers wanted to emphasize Aya's sexuality.
- Super Mode: "Liberation", formerly a spell that wiped out nearly everything in the original installment, returns as a meter that fills up as you take or receive damage. Activating it causes Aya to Flash Step instead of walk, makes her invulnerable to damage,note and makes her weapons do much more damage.
- Timey-Wimey Ball:
- The game involves Aya using a machine that projects her into the past via a Body Surf system, and the Twisted monsters themselves appear to be invaders from another time and place due to the way they emerge from warping holes in the space-time continuum. Aya's Overdives also somehow cause a ripple effect backwards in time, where changing what happened just three days earlier changes events that happened more than a year earlier. Just to mess with your head further, Aya's memories have been damaged and she's flashing back continually.
- Exaggerated by the ending: Aya travels back in time to stop the event that created the High Ones in the first place, which is also the source of her Overdive ability. So basically, she uses time travel to prevent both the creation of time travel technology and the reason she traveled back in time.
- Universal Ammunition: Ammo recharge points just happen to have a full stock of whatever ammo your weapons need at the time.
- Un-person: According to backstory, Doctor Blank is an expert hacker who was caught by the US government, forcing him to erase all evidence of his existence and come work for them.
- The Un-Reveal: The story never explains why Aya was attacked on her wedding day.
- Video Game Caring Potential: When all deaths provide example for Body Horror, it's hard to not care about the poor soldier/civilian whose body you hijack. The fact that number means strength in Crossfire also helps. A case of Fridge Brilliance too: you that's, Eve is doing your namesake: being a protective mother. Without your Mental Time Travel, they would have died left and right.
- Was Once a Man: Implied to be the origin of The Twisted. The weakest Twisted still have human-like legs and most of the bosses are apparently humans who transform directly.
- Wedding Smashers: Aya and Kyle were going to be married. Then a SWAT team attacked the cathedral.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The identity of the armed group that attacks Aya's wedding is never revealed, despite them arguably being responsible for the entire plot.