- With new IPs and remakes of beloved classics, the Survival Horror genre is back to conquer.
- Parasite Eve was a clever mix of genres filled with unique mechanics, and this is the perfect opportunity to revive this hidden gem.
- Square Enix should re-evaluate its priorities and give this classic a chance instead of poor choices nobody desires.
Recently, the gaming industry has taken up the mantle of bringing forth many survival horror games, both new and remakes of the old classics, and we can’t help but rejoice in the return of a genre that made our childhoods. Packing crisp visuals and fluid gameplay thanks to modern developments, the reimagining of beloved adventures, and the influences of their past versions on the current industry is a sight to behold.
With the survival horror genre returning, seeing Parasite Eve making a grand entrance would be a much-needed treat. Parasite Eve was one of PlayStation 1’s surprising hits, a mix of genres that defied conventions. And a revival of the series could be another nostalgic trip down memory lane, with the game turning 25 a few days ago. Considering Square Enix’s somewhat shaky position, the game’s return might give it a breakthrough.
Today is the 25th anniversary of Parasite Eve, a turn-based action RPG with some of the most memorable and grotesque horror scenes.
Have you played it? What are some of your favorite things about it? Would you be interested in a new Parasite Eve someday? pic.twitter.com/M67fTQWQUj
— Horror Games Community (@horrorvisuals) March 29, 2023
Survival Horror’s Triumphant Return
We fondly remember the time Resident Evil was first released and just blew everyone away. What we didn’t expect was the chain reaction it initiated that ended up shaping the survival horror genre. The ensuing gems became the highlights of their era, as the ingenious implementation of mechanics even utilized the limitations of technology to bolster the sense of impending threat effectively.
The fixed camera and tank controls provided an era-appropriate experience as the janky controls and the hordes of enemies provided an anxiety that was just right. Apart from the more action-oriented Resident Evil and Dead Space, we had Silent Hill and Fatal Frame – excellent stories and gloomy atmospheres on top of the pristine horror experience.
After Resident Evil 4 came and blew everyone away with the shift to a more convenient over-the-shoulder camera and revolutionary mechanics, a saturation started to occur with many games following suit and the genre slowly declining as the focus shifted to action games. After Capcom established a more true-to-roots experience in Resident Evil 7 and initiated the remake project of Resident Evil classics, an inevitable revival began.
Gamers were amazed at how well modern ideas and their crafty implementation worked with the classic genre, facilitating its triumphant return. Capcom surpassed all expectations with their exceptional remakes of the classic Resident Evils. The Callisto Protocol was a new IP that, although it wasn’t well received, brought novelty and made its contribution to the genre’s revival.
With Dead Space Remake’s high anticipation and then its desirable reception, hope sparked for the revival of other classics. This soon turned to joy as Silent Hill 2 remake was announced, and the three new Silent Hill games were a cherry on top. Survival Horror fans’ rewards do not stop there as even Fatal Frame returned with Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse released for modern consoles, much to our immense delight.
Fully remade to terrify audiences, the intense psychological horror masterpiece SILENT HILL 2 is coming to PlayStation®5 and STEAM® #SILENTHILL
— Silent Hill Official (@SilentHill) October 19, 2022
FATAL FRAME: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be available digitally for Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC via Steam® in Early 2023.#FatalFrameMOTLE #FatalFrame #KTfamily pic.twitter.com/BqacyAsqoO
— KOEI TECMO AMERICA (@KoeiTecmoUS) September 13, 2022
The most exciting news was a remake for the legendary Resident Evil 4, and its release took the world by storm as Capcom went beyond expectations and did the impossible of improving an already exceptional game. With their overwhelming success and more games on the way, it is safe to say that the survival horror genre is indeed back in the contest, and it is precisely why I believe it is a perfect time for Parasite Eve’s return.
Parasite Eve – A Classic Gem
In the 90s, SquareSoft (presently Square Enix) was majorly working on its iconic turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Cross. This is primarily where they developed the Active Time Battle (ATB) mechanic used in their subsequent titles. Square experimented with multiple concepts, as their games included similar but unique mechanics in every entry, and this resulted in some exceptional games like Xenogears and Parasite Eve.
With the horror genre booming in Japan and the spreading influence of Resident Evil, the company decided to move ahead with an adaptation of a horror novel that plays out much like their RPGs. This resulted in the birth of a unique blend of both genres in Parasite Eve, as it was Resident Evil meets Final Fantasy. The game was more of a theatrical RPG experience, the way it played out, and remains a highly underrated classic.
The game sets an interesting premise. A rookie NYPD officer, Aya Brea attends an opera and suddenly everyone in the audience just bursts into flames (Was the music that intense?). This opening sequence was a visual marvel for its time, as the sudden combustion and the way it was brilliantly presented were a grand sight. Realizing something is amiss, Aya spots and attempts to take out the mastermind Eve to thwart her yet unknown plot.
The game also hides a final dungeon and the true boss behind New Game Plus, with a shocking reveal and conclusion. The game’s visuals were its strong suit as they provided a faithful recreation of New York’s many landscapes, and the gothic environments fitted a horror theme. In addition, Parasite Eve’s perfectly ominous music reinforced this sense of dread.
The true highlight of the game was the gameplay mechanics that defied many conventions. On top of the survival horror elements, the game followed an RPG approach to combat, with a pausable real-time combat utilizing Square’s ATB bar. As you move through the predefined routes of the restricted open world, random encounters could be triggered in a fixed camera setting. A remake could bring the combat to new heights.
During combat encounters, you could move freely to avoid attacks or reposition yourself while the ATB bar charges. Action allowed you to execute a pause in order to aim or use Parasite Energy (this game’s MP) to execute support actions. The game also integrated RPG-style progression in the form of load-outs of your weapons and equipment, which the player could configure pre-battle.
The game was not without its flaws, however. The interesting premise was held back by a linear and straightforward plot, which also affected the replayability value. Parasite Eve 2 looked to improve some of these shortcomings as it also bolstered the horror aspect, but it had to let go of some of the first’s novelties, too, like bringing tank controls and letting go of the ATB mechanic.
The 3rd Birthday, the last game in the Parasite Eve series ended up being highly controversial. The third-person shooter had intriguing gameplay owing to its tactical Overdive mechanic that made the combat much more fun and strategic. However, the overly vague story and its disconnection from the series, and specifically the overall portrayal of Aya’s character made it the target of much criticism.
Square Enix Stands At A Crossroads
Despite its flaws, Parasite Eve is Square’s highly underrated franchise that has considerable potential to do great in current times. This is evident by the excessive hype following the Symbiogenesis trademark that fans considered to be a new Parasite Eve but they were in for an utter disappointment which is the NFT mess that Symbiogenesis turned out to be.
Square Enix stands at a difficult time now, with the complete failure of Marvel Avengers and Forspoken suffering a lackluster reception. Despite this, it went all in on the hated NFT formula, further fueling the criticism. Because of their current tendencies, fans don’t even want them to revisit Parasite Eve just to ruin it completely. A port of the games to the current generation is highly desirable, though since they’re stuck on long-gone platforms.
I believe a Parasite Eve Remake can serve as a redemption for Square Enix if handled with care. The upcoming Final Fantasy XVI seems like an overwhelming masterpiece, and we’ve already seen how well the strategic real-time combat can work in modern titles from its implementation in the Final Fantasy VII remake, Square Enix has the potential to craft an excellent revival.
Although our hopes were crushed once before, I believe it is an excellent time to revisit the franchise, with the survival horror genre in full bloom. Sadly, Square Enix is too busy with absolutely soulless projects like hideous NFT games. We hope Parasite Eve receives the recognition it so rightfully deserves, either ports of the classics, or better a worthy reimagining that pleasantly surprises us once again.
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