It ought to have been Parasite Eve.
I missed the original PlayStation era due to the follies of youthful fanboyism, instead opting for the Nintendo 64. Now, in my older age I on occasion try to keep up with what I missed. Recently, I beat Parasite Eve, a veritable if imperfect game that helped set the PS1’s library apart from the N64’s. Long review short: I liked it. It did what it could with the limits of game technology; it had a solid combat system, an interesting story, and topflight music. However, it was a bit too linear for my tastes, a bit too sparse, a bit too much when it comes to all the weapons the game gives you, Miss Brea ran at the speed of glaciers, and that last part of the final boss blew. Thus, it begs the question: With such a lukewarm opinion, why would I prefer it over an actual classic game for a PS4 remake?
Well… I believe in second chances, and it’s probably a better use of Square Enix’s time when it comes to testing whether remaking Final Fantasy VII in the fashion they’ve chosen’s a good idea. Why blow the load there, when there’s perfectly suitable guinea pig by way of a strange tale about evil mitochondria? While I welcome a Final Fantasy VII remake I never thought if only the technology were more advanced it’d be an improved experience. Parasite Eve? The complete opposite.
Ambition Screaming to Get Out
Parasite Eve was released ahead of its time when it comes to its aesthetics and storytelling. When those facets are paired with the many grotesque FMV sequences throughout your playthrough, like this one:
You know you are seeing not just horror and terror, but ambition SCREAMING to get out. It goes without saying an HD remake would work wonders on them, and introduce new gamers to a world they would not have known unless they dig through the PS1’s archives. I know there are fans out there who would want to experience the ‘majesty’ of seeing the evil fetus monster in higher resolution, and they need to be satiated.
The ambition also screams every time you take control of Aya and interact with your NYPD cohorts never mind the rest of New York City. The game is the product of a time where Square was not inclined to give its titles voiceover work, and as you trod through the cutscenes and bits of text dialogue I’m sure I would not be thought of wrong to think a bit of voice acting would’ve augmented the experience tenfold. Remix the Yoko Shimamura soundtrack and retool the graphics to make a more intriguing picture of New York on Christmas Day 97, and the ambition that screamed so loud back in the day can be fulfilled.
A Second Chance on Gameplay
While rough around the edges, the combat system of Parasite Eve is a highlight, combining turn-based strategy with active participation on whether the player has Aya engage or avoid combat. That can remain; it is elsewhere where the change is needed. While the combat is engaging, New York City is not much of a character in the game. Sure, granted the context and budget of the game the streets must be empty, but when compared to the prerendered background games of the Resident Evil trilogy, it’s a desert. In the PS1 Resident Evil games, each background had its own personality, and item variety while sparse quantity-wise is memorable and just enough to get your by with what matters. In Parasite Eve, you come across a bit too many types of armour and WAAAAAAAAAY too many guns.
For a near eight hour game (plus a bit more if you go through the Chrysler Building), you have 30 types of pistol, 12 types of rifle, and nine types of submachine gun to name a few. While that extensive inventory works well in say… a game like Final Fantasy VII, it’s overkill in a game like Parasite Eve. Whittle down the inventory to a select few number of guns, augment the already solid customization systems, and add a bit more non-guns to find in the world and I think we’re solid here.
The remake also allows Square Enix a chance to fix that awful first final boss battle. I don’t mind fighting through four forms of the same final boss, but to switch to a chase sequence right after where if you make the wrong turn or take too long, you die and have to restart from the first final boss form? That’s just shitty game design right there. Get that outta the way and redeem yourselves, Square Enix!
Works Better On the Chapter Format
I’m not gonna lie; once it came to light the Final Fantasy VII Remake would be released piecemeal I immediately was turned off. Sure, the developers promise that each released segment of the game will have just as much content as a full game… it’s still a lot to offer. I am sure the fervent fans will eat it up anyway, but what of the populace who are curious about the game and decide to take it up? I’m wary of this because well… Between you and I?
Those first few hours of Final Fantasy VII are fucking boring.
Yeah, Midgar’s a pretty unique place and it is where the story starts, but mother of god it takes forever just to get out of it. The game hits the ground running once you’ve jumped past the wall and saw the rest of the world. If ONLY Midgar is going to be Part I of the FFVII Remake experience then pass.
Parasite Eve on, a game split into six different ‘chapters’ (or days), is a more fitting game for that kind of release. It’d be like how Capcom handled the Resident Evil Revelations games to better effect. The game can be savoured chapter by chapter without TOO much investment in time, not just for the player but for the developers. You probably wouldn’t have to wait long for the next chapter of a Parasite Eve remake game than you would a Final Fantasy VII remake I think.
But even with all this, it doesn’t matter
Since I’m too late to the party, and Square Enix is way too balls deep in developing Final Fantasy VII Remake, this thought of Parasite Eve being the testing ground on the efficacy of such a release style will probably fall on deaf ears. Even so, I cannot help but dream of such possibilities after playing a game that could’ve been a great contender in some “Best HD Remake Ever” competition. My hope now is if you feel the same way regarding Parasite Eve’s potential in that regard, so I do not feel alone in the world. Alas, Square Enix truly has to follow the money, and a remake of that legendary 1997 JRPG is a more lucrative project than say… a primogenitor whose most recent ancestor isn’t a spectacle like Advent Children or an adventure into the past like Crisis Core… but a mere ‘spiritual successor’ called The Third Birthday.