Mixed or average reviews - based on 56 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 56
  2. Negative: 3 out of 56
Buy On
  1. Mar 25, 2011
    A great game, no question. It has depth, great production values throughout (despite the disappointing script) and the raw mechanics give PSP gamers a mostly satisfying RPG-shooter despite the system's inherent flaws.
  2. Mar 25, 2011
    Frequently frustrating combat and an annoying central character prevent The 3rd Birthday from making the most of its unusual mechanics.
  3. Mar 25, 2011
    Parasite Eve fans may find themselves turned off by the frenzied action-oriented approach of The 3rd Birthday, and the execution certainly has its ups and downs. Even though The 3rd Birthday may not be one worth celebrating, we're hoping Square Enix can get it right if it decides to someday bring the franchise back to its console roots.
  4. Mar 30, 2011
    Quality issues aside, it's a fun 3D shoot-'em-up, and the PSP could use a few more of those.
  5. 76
    The 3rd Birthday is fun, if not quite Parasite Eve. You may have to dig for its value at times, though the tough gameplay is eventually rewarding.
  6. Apr 1, 2011
    It can conjure moments of brilliance, but ultimately The 3rd Birthday is bogged down by indecisive design choices.
  7. May 23, 2011
    The combat seems deceptively simple, but it becomes pretty hectic and involved as you progress through the missions. The Overdive ability is pretty unique, and jumping from soldier to soldier to flank an enemy works really well. The controls are easy to use on the PSP, and like most Square Enix titles on PSP, the game looks amazing. It's definitely worth checking out for PSP owners who are hungry for new games on their handheld. I absolutely suggest checking it out, even if you have no prior experience with the Parasite Eve series. The gameplay is what really sells this game, though, so don't come into this title expecting to be wowed by the future exploits of Aya Brea.
  8. Apr 1, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is not a true Parasite Eve sequel: it does not continue the original story of the saga, and it also has a gameplay different from the predecessors. But the same is a great action game, with lots of customization options, a good control system and some good RPG elements that enhance the game.
  9. Apr 6, 2011
    The problem is, it's hard to ever truly engage with it when so many of the The 3rd Birthday's key encounters are fundamentally spiteful. If you're really determined to eke some enjoyment from the rubble of frustration, there are a few moments that might make you feel like it's worth it. Sadly those occasions don't come along nearly enough to justify all the joyless attrition en route.
  10. May 3, 2011
    If you can get past the difficulty swings, The 3rd Birthday is a surprisingly fun experience. It's pretty; it's easy to dive into (a pun!); and the story is told in such a way that it's easy to follow… especially for a Square-Enix game!
  11. Mar 28, 2011
    All in all, this is one birthday party you shouldn't regret skipping.
  12. Mar 28, 2011
    Those who have been longing for years for a Parasite Eve sequel could get slightly dissapointed by The 3rd Birthday, which continues the story, but not the gameplay, becoming a more linear and repetitive game, focused almost only on combat. But it is a great action game, with lots of customization options and a good control scheme.
  13. Games Master UK
    Apr 1, 2011
    Polished. [May 2011, p.94]
  14. Mar 25, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday's emphasis on fast-paced combat and the Overdive mechanic help the game overcome its more abstract flaws (despite some occasional repetition). Still, for old fans of Parasite Eve, the game's treatment of its heroine and legacy is frustrating.
  15. Mar 22, 2012
    The 3rd Birthday is still one of my favorite PSP titles, and playing it again on the Vita just re-enforced my love of the series. Once PSOne titles start working on the Vita I can finally have my Aya Brea trilogy in one place to play at my leisure, and while this new game is a radical departure as far as gameplay is concerned, it still fits right in with the theme of the series as a whole.
  16. Mar 27, 2011
    The story may turn off fans of the first two Parasite Eve games, but if you can get past the inane plot and characterizations, there's still a solid action-RPG underneath.
  17. Apr 11, 2011
    With 3rd Birthday Parasite Eve's franchise collapses, losing many attributes that granted it success in the past, proposing story, characters and enemies without personality, and a brand new action-oriented gameplay system, although too afflicted by several issues.
  18. Mar 28, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is a satisfying RPG-shooter with great production values.
  19. Jun 27, 2011
    Expect 15-20 hours of gameplay just to get through the game and that's not including any replays for secrets, alternate paths, or checking out any of the secrets or unlocks. The 3rd Birthday rivals a lot of console action-RPG's these days, and while it probably would have played better and received a wider audience on the PS3, I have to commend Square Enix for publishing a fantastic sequel and an exceptional gameplay experience on the PSP that any fan of the genre or the series should definitely check out.
  20. games(TM)
    Mar 23, 2011
    Ideal for portable gaming - handy, with it being a PSP game - and its mix of action, RPG elements, a challenging (though sometimes unfair) level of difficulty and a few nifty tricks to keep things strategic make it another solid title in the PSP's catalogue. [Issue#107, p.108]
  21. Edge Magazine
    Mar 15, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday remains a strong proposition, marrying eastern and western design sensibilities to produce a strong and relevant update to a latent, outmoded series. [Apr 2011, p.92]
  22. Apr 14, 2011
    To consider The 3rd Birthday as a real sequel of Parasite Eve is a bad mistake: it is just a pretty good TPS spin-off that has its ups and downs... Now, dear Square Enix, we want a real third chapter of this glorious series!
  23. Apr 25, 2011
    With its impressive visuals and compelling storytelling, The 3rd Birthday is an exciting new chapter in the Parasite Eve series. Too bad the game is marred by stiff controls, frustrating gameplay and cheap bosses. If you can get past these hiccups you'll discover another worthwhile PSP game!
  24. Mar 29, 2011
    It's likely that most of the old time followers of the series will be put off by the extremely shooter-driven gameplay - but despite having the structure of something very standard, the game has a deceptively creative centre.
  25. May 9, 2011
    In the end, 3rd Birthday disappoints Parasite Eve fans and provides a rather mediocre experience for new players. It would be hard to suggest this game as an entry point to the series, or really suggest it at all.
  26. 50
    Few PSP games look as good, but this is still a hugely disappointing return for Parasite Eve and the ruination of a once intriguing heroine.
  27. Mar 30, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday tries to ride the success of the Parasite Eve franchise, but doesn't manage to impress despite its stunning visuals. The clunky camera, over-average story and sloppy controls really undermine what would otherwise be a surprising, challenging and varied game.
  28. Apr 17, 2011
    Is Aya Brea's third adventure worth it? If you like shooters and past Parasite Eve titles, probably. If you want a Square Enix title with a more RPG slant, then steer clear. I had fun with the game beginning to end, but I have a sneaking suspicion I could be one of the few that will.
  29. Mar 28, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is different from its elder brothers, being an action-based adventure with few RPG elements. Although the visuals are stunning, the gameplay suffers from a few glitches, along with the metaphysical storyline, that has nothing to do with the original Parasite Eve titles. This said, it's a great buy if you're looking for an interesting game with a beautiful empty-minded protagonist.
  30. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    May 17, 2011
    Has pleasingly strong gunplay. [June 2011, p.112]
  31. Apr 1, 2011
    Aya Brea puts its origins to rest in order to provide a third person action title full of thrills, quite dynamic, and appealing. There's also blame to be passed, on the light and not really consistent story for example, a camera system that's not beyond reproach, and a short lifespan, but overall, it does succeed in providing excellent action.
  32. May 9, 2011
    It's important, however, that one doesn't expect Parasite Eve III when popping this into their PSP, as that would surely result in acute disappointment.
  33. Mar 28, 2011
    The movies are eye-candy, the plot is okay and some role-play elements have found their way into the game. Unbelievable what Square Enix is able to do with the PSP nowadays.
  34. Apr 2, 2011
    Parasite Eve this is not. The 3rd Birthday squanders some clever concepts with clumsy execution, and the end result is just another mediocre shooter that has very little in common the PlayStation classics that preceded it. This is one birthday that is not worth celebrating.
  35. Apr 3, 2011
    Square Enix and HexaDrive sought to introduce fresh mechanics to set The 3rd Birthday apart from its peers, but they forgot to center a cohesive game around their collection of neat ideas. Much like its protagonist, too often The 3rd Birthday is caught with its pants down.
  36. Play UK
    Mar 21, 2011
    One of the PSP's most original titles. [Issue#203, p.88]
  37. 40
    Some of the first magazine advertisements for Parasite Eve, back in the late 90′s, used the tagline, "The Worst Foe Lies Within the Self." How oddly ironic that all these years later, a new Parasite Eve game should come out in which the worst foe truly is not a monster, but flaws within the design of the game itself. That's heavy.
  38. Apr 11, 2011
    An uninteresting story combined with repetitive gameplay give the player little else to grab on to.
  39. Mar 30, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday has a lot going for it, but it falls short of being a top-notch production due to significant control issues, a high level of frustration, and a main character that looks and sounds great, but doesn't contribute much.
  40. Apr 14, 2011
    If you were expecting a unique experience, equal to that of the PlayStation era games, you will be very disappointed. On the other hand, as a plain third person shooter, The 3rd Birthday is capable of delivering some quality gaming hours.
  41. 80
    The 3rd Birthday may not be what fans wanted, however, it is still a good game.
  42. Apr 10, 2011
    An otherwise ordinary shooter redeemed with that game-changing Overdive idea. [May 2011, p.90]
  43. Mar 25, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is disappointing; it brings back a series and a character that fans adore, and destroys what fans held as a paragon. The narrative is filled with holes and problems, the tough Aya people were hoping for is absent, the gameplay is a mess, and the story tries harder to throw you into cheap plot twists rather than to be enjoyable.
  44. Apr 11, 2011
    This is the calibre of game that you would expect to be coming out for the PSP at this point in time. With unique features, nail biting battle and an interesting story concept The Third Birthday is more than worth the purchase.
  45. May 18, 2011
    The story is at times highly confusing, the the challenge is at times a bit too hard, but you'll still have fun jumping between bodies as you fight your way through nasty creatures from the great beyond.
  46. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Apr 15, 2011
    Mostly, though, Birthday is about shooting the hell out of big gruesome monsters. This might be all the meaning most of us require. [May 2011, p.82]
  47. Apr 10, 2011
    Like its protagonist, The 3rd Birthday is a pretty body with nothing inside.
  48. Apr 8, 2011
    While not thoroughly original, it's at least consistently enjoyable during its short ride.
  49. Mar 29, 2011
    Not a game that's best suited to the PSP but, if you can look past its refusal to adapt itself to a handheld console, The 3rd Birthday is a rich, engaging experience.
  50. Mar 29, 2011
    A case of style over substance. Despite an abysmal scenario and some flaws regarding the core gameplay, The 3rd Birthday remains a technically solid game and an enjoyable experience overall.
  51. Apr 10, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is a fun and reasonably well-made game that, unfortunately, attempts to do too many things to do any of them terribly well.
  52. Apr 17, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is a good attempt at reviving an old franchise, but the content doesn't quite fit the format. Controls are clunky and dependant on your view, and there is some questionable content in the game. However, the interesting combat, story and gorgeous cut-scenes do make for a good thrill ride.
  53. Mar 25, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is a difficult game to recommend. There are aspects of it that really shine and make it an enjoyable experience, but others features, particularly the game's tortuous story, will surely disappoint those who were expecting the game to be in the vein of the previous Parasite Eve titles.
  54. Apr 8, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday should have been brilliant, but is merely decent.
  55. Apr 11, 2011
    The story of The 3rd Birthday is extremely complicated, but the game has a lot of great elements. The feature 'overdiven' works perfect, the game is challenging and got epic boss fights. But there are also less good points, like the AI, the crappy voice-acting and the gameplay can be frustrating. A good game to check out, aside from the negative aspects.
  56. May 11, 2011
    The 3rd Birthday is one of the PSP's better games and it's just a shame they had to muck things up with its ridiculous plot and juvenile fan-service.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed PSP Game of 2011
#3 Most Shared PSP Game of 2011
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 118
  2. Negative: 38 out of 118
  1. Apr 6, 2011
    This game is a disaster. The gameplay is horrible (you basically hold L+R to auto-aim and shoot and not much more), the characters are nothingThis game is a disaster. The gameplay is horrible (you basically hold L+R to auto-aim and shoot and not much more), the characters are nothing more than grotesque caricatures, the writing is worse than in any random fanfic you'd stumble upon on the Internet, the plot is horrendous and nonsensical, and what's worse, it completely butchers everything that fans of Parasite Eve have grown to love. Motomu Toriyama is known to be a horrible scenario writer, and this -- well, this is his worst work by far. Square Enix should really take notice and keep him away from their future games. Full Review »
  2. Apr 2, 2011
    refreshing, polished and i fancy Aya... seriously though its got a wicked style nice controls (for PSP) and the lv up system is very engaging.refreshing, polished and i fancy Aya... seriously though its got a wicked style nice controls (for PSP) and the lv up system is very engaging. this game isn't about aiming, so what.. its about surviving and there are some quite deep tactics involved... very impressed and i HOPE there bringing Aya to the NGP!!.... oh, i forgot to mention the graphics are pretty spot on too. Full Review »
  3. May 12, 2011
    I am a huge, HUGE fan of the Parasite Eve series. That being said, this game is nothing like it, and it does quite a lot to blemish theI am a huge, HUGE fan of the Parasite Eve series. That being said, this game is nothing like it, and it does quite a lot to blemish the series. Let's start off with the problem that pains me the most, Aya Brea. She's not the same Aya Brea you know from Parasite Eve, at all. She's weak and looks like a slut. The strong-willed, badass Aya Brea you know from Parasite Eve is dead, and in her place is a skimpy, frail, teenage-like girl with a gun. It really, REALLY hurts me to see one of the most amazing female characters in gaming become this, and it definitely killed much of the game. To make matters worse, Aya now loses her clothes when she gets hurt. Square said this was a matter of realism, although I have a pretty hard time imagining they would treat a male protagonists the same way. They aren't being subtle here: Aya Bra is a sexual item in this game. Most of the satisfaction you will get from this game is watching her clothes fall off. The next problem would be the story, which makes little sense. If you watched the trailer and wondered why everything was happening the way it was, don't expect this game to explain it to you, because it won't. You are a tiny girl possessing soldiers from the past shooting monsters. That's all you will get from this game's story. Don't expect memorable characters either. They are all shallow and you will forget all their names a week after playing the game. The last parts to address in this game are the graphics and gameplay, which luckily are fantastic. The graphics are probably the best I've seen on a PSP, very similar to that of Crisis Core and Birth by Sleep. Absolutely stunning for this fiveish year old handheld. Gameplay is creative and addicting. You play by taking control of different soldiers and unleashing special attacks when gauges fill up. It's very difficult to describe properly so you'll need to look it up in the videos. You get to lock on to targets which may seem too easy at first but the game itself is not easy at all, as the enemies will be ruthless and have interesting weaknesses you need to discover. Overall while the game suffers from brutally murdering the Parasite Eve image and has a horrible story, the graphics and gameplay make it worth trying on the PSP. If you have never played Parasite Eve, you will want to pick it up. If you are a fan of Parasite Eve pretend The 3rd Birthday has nothing to do with it, because for the most part, it doesn't. Full Review »