Parasite Eve II Hands-On

Parasite Eve 2 leans even more heavily toward survival-horror suspense than its predecessor did. Inside, see what we think of the American version.

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Square's Parasite Eve was an interesting hybrid. It followed not far behind the company's RPG opus Final Fantasy VII as well as Capcom's hit survival-horror series Resident Evil. Drawing on strong points from both of these games, it became a sort of survival-horror RPG. Its sequel, Parasite Eve 2, releases some of its former RPG trappings in favor of creating a more suspenseful, Resident Evil-esque atmosphere. We checked out the English-translated version, which is now nearing completion.

Parasite Eve 2 hasn't really changed since our import review of the Japanese version. Its combat is handled even more like Resident Evil than its predecessor's. When enemies are encountered throughout the game's prerendered backgrounds, battle is automatically initiated. Returning main character Aya is then controlled in real time during the battle. An automatic targeting system makes enemies easy to track and hit with the game's (largely projectile-based) weapons. Aya also has a variety of "parasite energies" (magic spells) to use against her foes. Moving around is a little more difficult than in either Parasite Eve or the Resident Evil games - it's not a huge difference, but the control is a bit stiffer.

Not all of Parasite Eve's RPG elements have disappeared in its sequel. Killing monsters will earn you experience points, which unlock new spells, as well as "bounty points" that you can cash in for more items. You can obtain new weapons and armor, which are equipped much like they are in a typical RPG.

As stated earlier, the text is really the only ostensible change in the American version of Parasite Eve 2, and it seems to be a standard Square translation. It's grammatically correct and fairly well worded, but at the same time, it's not quite up to the majesty of Vagrant Story. Still, a good effort all around.

Parasite Eve 2 is less an RPG and more an adventure game than its prequel, but it uses enough positive elements from both those genres to appeal to fans of either. Look for it on store shelves in September.

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