Unwanted Christmas presence
It's Christmas Eve, and New York City is in the grip of something far worse than an icy winter. In The 3rd Birthday for PSP, the slithering, single-minded menace of the Twisted has plunged the metropolis into panic – and it's up to you, as gifted operative Aya Brea, to pull the city out of the abyss.
Hauled from the rubble of a decimated Manhattan, Aya is little more than an empty shell. The blood soaked wedding dress she's wearing symbolises a new life very different from the one she hoped for: her memories are all but gone, and in their place are powers of awe inspiring potency.
Without knowing how or why, Aya can inhabit other humans at will.
Fast-forward two years, and Aya is the spearhead of a special unit set up to lead the counter-attack against the Twisted. Her abilities now have a name – Overdive – and an entire resistance movement has been built around her. Aya is the key to purging Manhattan of its tentacled infestation, and she must travel through time to destroy the Twisted before they can establish their terrifying stranglehold.
Twist and shoot
Alien invasion has never looked as attractive as it does in The 3rd Birthday, an astonishing blend of innovative features and glittering production values that showcase the qualities of PSP.
Blast your way through eerily deserted Manhattan streets, its skyscrapers strangely vulnerable in the wintry emptiness to the looming onslaught. Slick, crisply rendered action sequences set each new scene, before frenzied Twisted attacks get under way in a storm of bullets, debris and bodies.
Overdive sees the on-screen action dissolve into a swirling haze as you surge at frightening velocity into a fresh body, bringing electric vitality to the game. These confrontations are staged on a grand scale, among the theatres, banks and smart squares of downtown Manhattan, and your PSP screen is rocked by huge explosions and shockwaves.
Survive these, and The 3rd Birthday reveals itself to be one of the finest visual treats available on PSP. Characters are a dynamic presence – Aya Brea herself is bewitching to watch as she darts about – while the New York battleground is full of familiar landmarks in unsettling situations.
And, faceless yet unforgettable, the Twisted are one of the most unnerving threats you'll ever meet on PSP. Prepare for an intense introduction.
Soul to soul
War against the Twisted cannot be fought by just one woman. Luckily, in The 3rd Birthday, Aya Brea's Overdive skills let her command an entire army, one soldier at a time.
Aya would be torn apart in seconds if she were fighting alone, so from her base at the Counter Twisted Investigation, she projects her soul back through time and into the fighters on Manhattan's front line. Each soldier she inhabits has his own attributes and weapons for Aya to take advantage of, giving The 3rd Birthday a unique tactical slant.
Flank, storm or pick off the Twisted from distance. All you need to do is spot the options open to you, then hit the Triangle button to assume a new position in the blink of an eye and attack from a different angle. You can even Overdive into helicopter pilots or tank commanders to unleash the mighty arsenal at their fingertips.
Clever manoeuvring helps you trap the Twisted in a hail of crossfire, then you can quickly rip through them with Overdive. Even more destructive is Overdive Kill, which lets Aya possess a Twisted creature and gruesomely explode it from within.
Exhilarating combat is backed up by an intuitive upgrade system that lets you put the spoils of genetic warfare to impressive use. Against an enemy this formidable, Aya needs all the help she can get...