The 3rd Birthday
The 3rd Birthday Cover.png
Developer(s) Square Enix 1st Production Department
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Hajime Tabata
Producer(s) Yoshinori Kitase
Programmer(s) Kogi Sugimoto
Artist(s) Isamu Kamikokuryo
Writer(s) Toshimitsu Takeuchi
Motomu Toriyama
Composer(s) Mitsuto Suzuki
Tsuyoshi Sekito
Yoko Shimomura
Series Parasite Eve
Platform(s) PlayStation Portable
  • JP: December 22, 2010
  • NA: March 29, 2011
  • EU: April 1, 2011
Genre(s) Third-person shooter, role-playing shooter


The 3rd Birthday (Japanese: ザ・サード バースデイ Hepburn: Za Sādo Bāsudei) is a third-person role-playing shooter co-developed by Square Enix and HexaDrive, and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation Portable. It was released in Japan in 2010 and in North America and Europe in 2011. The game is both the third entry in the Parasite Eve video game series, based on the titular Japanese novel, and a spin-off, having only a loose connection to events from past games. The game features a third-person shooter-based combat system with role-playing mechanics. A key mechanic is the Overdive ability, which allows the player to possess pre-positioned human allies and inflict damage upon enemies.


The game takes place in 2013, a year after creatures known as the Twisted have appeared from beneath Manhattan and decimated the city. To fight back against the Twisted, an investigatory team called the Counter Twisted Investigation (CTI) is formed. Among their number is series protagonist Aya Brea, who was found unconscious and suffering amnesia two years before the game’s events. Using her Overdive ability, Aya travels into the past to alter the outcome of battles against the Twisted. At the same time, Aya attempts to find out the origin of the Twisted and regain her memories.


The 3rd Birthday was created as a conceptual rebirth for Aya’s character, as well as a means of re-introducing her to the gaming community, with it being over a decade since the last game in the series. Among the staff were Hajime Tabata, Yoshinori Kitase, Motomu Toriyama, Isamu Kamikokuryo, and Aya’s original designer Tetsuya Nomura. Originally announced as an episodic title for mobile phones, the game was later changed into a PSP exclusive. Upon release, the game reached sixth place in Japanese sales charts, and was among the top five games in North American and UK sales charts during its opening months. Reviews have been mixed; critics praised the presentation and several parts of the gameplay, while opinions were mixed about the story, and many cited difficulties with camera control and some of the shooter mechanics. Several reviewers have also made negative comments on Aya’s portrayal.




Combat in The 3rd Birthday. Shown is Aya in battle with a Twisted, along with the health of selectable human units, her ammo count, and other HUD displays.

The 3rd Birthday is a third-person role-playing shooter. The player controls series protagonist Aya Brea through rendered-to-scale environments in from a third person perspective.[1] The game plays out as a series of missions, between which Aya rests at the Counter Twisted Investigation headquarters, which acts as the game’s main hub. In the hub, Aya can receive briefings for missions, view additional documents, buy and customize new weapons. She also has the option to transport back there should she die during a mission. The game can be saved both at the hub and in safe zones within missions.[2] At the end of each mission, Aya is given a grade based on performance, enemies killed, and the number of times she died. Depending on her score, she will earn differing amounts of Bounty Points, a currency used to customize weapons and repair protective gear in the hub area.[2]


During missions, players navigate a series of linear linked areas fighting off multiple enemies. Items can be picked up during missions, such as grenades and medical kits. Aya has access to multiple guns for use in combat, including handguns, assault rifles and shotguns. By holding down a button on the controller, Aya automatically aims at an enemy and can fire at will. Taking cover behind objects or shields, or standing idle outside of battle, allows Aya to regenerate health. While in combat, an energy meter is charged and can be activated when full. When activated, Aya entered “Liberation Mode”, a state enabling her to move around the battlefield at high speed for a short period of time.[1][2][3]


In most battle situations, Aya is accompanied by a group of allied NPC (non-playable character) soldiers that the player can direct around the battle area. Available commands include offering supporting fire, directly attacking enemies, or staying behind cover. They can also all fire at the same enemy in certain situations, dealing high damage. Each NPC has a separate health meter, and is permanently removed from battle upon defeat. Central to combat is Overdive, an ability which enables Aya to transmit herself between bodies. If her health is low, Aya can transport into the body of an allied NPC, taking on their health level, position and current weapon in the process. NPCs not controlled by Aya are controlled by the game’s AI. Aya can remain in a body for the duration of a level, or until the unit has died. If Aya cannot jump to another body, she dies and the level must either be restarted or exited. Overdive can be activated at any time, enabling Aya to transport around the battlefield to avoid enemy attacks or save herself when her current unit’s health is low. Overdive can also be used to attack enemies if Aya maintains a sustained assault. After a time, a triangle icon appears on enemies, allowing her to perform an Overdive attack, dealing high damage to the targeted enemy.[1][2][3][4]


During combat, Aya gains experience points and gains experience levels when a certain quantity is achieved. Gaining a level both restores her health and raises her maximum health and energy levels. Weapons also gain levels the more they are used.[1][2] In addition to leveling up, Aya’s stats can be customized using Over Energy (OE) clips found during missions or acquired during Overdive attacks. Using a 3×3 grid accessed in the hub area, certain OE clips grand different stat boosts and abilities. Creating a new grid automatically deletes the effects of the original.[2][3]



The game’s story plays out in episodes, similar to a television series, with many events told out of sequence. On Christmas Eve of 2012, monstrous creatures dubbed as “Babels” appear in New York City. Along with lifeforms spawned by them called the Twisted, they lay waste to the city and consume any human in their path. By the following year, an investigatory team known as the CTI (Counter Twisted Investigation) has been formed. One of the CTI members is Aya Brea, who was found outside St. Thomson’s Cathedral in 2010, just before the Babels and Twisted began appearing. Dr. Hyde Bohr, Chief of the CTI, finds that Aya is suffering from amnesia, and that her personality has changed. After taking Aya in, the CTI discovered that she was capable of transferring her soul from body to body independent of time, an ability dubbed “Overdive”, which enables her to fight the Twisted.

Bohr and the others planned to use this unique ability to travel back through time and prevent the disaster, developing a machine called “Overdive System” to allow Aya to travel into the past and change events. As she embarks on each mission, she is confronted by powerful, sentient Twisted born from corrupted humans, later dubbed High Ones. One such High One is Kyle Madigan, a man she met and fell in love with during Parasite Eve II. As she defeats each High One, she regains pieces of her memory, most prominently her memories of being engaged to Kyle, and the existence of Eve Brea, her adopted sister. After an incident that saw the CTI HQ and the Overdive device destroyed by the Kyle High One, Aya reunites with Kunihiko Maeda, a man who aided her in Parasite Eve, to resolve the entire mystery behind the appearance of the Babel, Twisted and High Ones. Aya eventually discovers that Bohr is himself a High One. Bohr masterminded the death of other High Ones in order to form the Grand Babel, which functions like a giant Overdive system. Bohr seeks to dive back in the past to Time Zero, the point where events were set in motion, to fulfill his plan for the survival of his own species from a time war cycle between humans, the Twisted, and the High Ones. Aya battles Bohr and is pulled with him into Time Zero, where she discovers the truth.


In 2010 at St. Thomson’s Cathedral, Aya and Kyle were going to be married. The Cathedral was attacked by a SWAT team and Aya was killed. Eve attempted to save Aya by sending her consciousness into Aya’s body, creating the Overdive ability. The event caused Aya’s consciousness to separate from her body and fragment through time to create the Twisted, Eve’s consciousness to become trapped in Aya’s body, and parts of Eve’s body to be transplanted into people close to the pair to create the High Ones. The “Aya” of the main story is in fact Eve in Aya’s body. After these revelations, Eve returns to her body and is asked by Bohr to assimilate him and trigger the birth of a new species. Eve refuses, and when Bohr tries to force the process, a reborn Aya shoots him to death. Aya then reveals that to avert the birth of the Twisted and High Ones, the sources (Aya and Eve) must be removed. Expressing her regret at not being able to marry Kyle, she tells Eve to shoot her. In a fit of emotion, Eve switches bodies with Aya before shooting her, creating a new timeline where Eve’s body and Aya’s consciousness do not exist, erasing the game’s events. Though Eve offers to marry Kyle, he refuses and hints that he is going to find Aya. In a post-credits sequence four years after the game’s events, Eve is walking the streets of New York and is wished a “Happy Fourth Birthday” by a woman resembling Aya.[5]




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