Part 60: Bonus Update: Biology is MagicBonus Update: Biology is Magic
Let's talk about Aya's special abilities, shall we?
In Parasite Eve 1, Aya gradually gained new "Parasite Powers" as she leveled up. They mostly skewed towards support spells, with only two actual offensive abilities. PE2 changes this up drastically, and we can see just how by going to the P.Energy option in our menu.
Instead of just throwing out random spells as we level up, PE2 separates our various abilities into a standard RPG Four Elements system. Squaresoft fucking loves this elemental theme, seriously. That being said, all of Aya's powers technically come from her mutant mitochondria, and not the actual elements, so the game can pretend it's no magic, even though it totally is.
Fire and Wind are offensive spells, with Fire leaning towards direct damage and Wind doing less damage but adding status effects. Water and Earth are support spells, where Water heals and Earth provides stat buffs. Each group has three spells, each spell has three levels, and the third spell for each class is unlocked after maxing out the two default ones.
The Leveling system is vastly different in PE2 in that it is basically gone. EXP doesn't level up Aya and make her stronger, it is instead basically just a currency you spend to unlock and upgrade spells. The nice thing about this system is that it means that you get to pick what spells you want and which you don't. And by "you", I mean YOU, the thread. You will get to vote on what I upgrade and unlock the next time I get enough EXP to do so.
But don't worry. I have an alternate save file just so that I can show off all the spells, because they are all pretty cool.
Now, let's take a closer look at the spells themselves. Pyrokinesis is the most basic spell, and Aya starts the game with it unlocked at level 1. Basically, it allows her to shoot fireballs. As it levels, you get more fireballs fired per casting, so it actually blasts out 3 shots at level 3. "Casting Cost" is obviously how much MP it costs to cast the spell. Depending on the spell, this will either go up or down as you level it up. ATP Loss is how long the spell takes to cast. The higher the number, the longer Aya is stuck motionless while her targets can move out of the way, or worse, just walk up and bash you in the face, cancelling the spell completely.
Pyrokinesis is a pretty good method of dealing a little extra damage every now and then. There are quite a few enemies later on that are weak to Fire, so a cheap and quick method of torching foes is rather handy.
Combustion is an Area of Effect spell, as it creates a stream of fire that sweeps back and forth in an arc in front of Aya. It deals much more damage than Pyrokinesis and can hit a whole swath of enemies all at once. It is, however, more expensive, both in MP and EXP, and takes much longer to cast. Nice if you have a big group of slow moving enemies, but very difficult to use effectively against faster targets.
Still, it's a magic flamethrower. That kinda rules.
Necrosis is the first of the Wind spells, and it demonstrates that Parasite Eve 2 thinks that "Wind" is a synonym for "Fucking Lightning". Aya busts out her Palpatine impression and fires a bolt of lightning at you target. It doesn't do that much damage on its own, but it also inflicts Poison. Well, it's actually acts like a flesh-eating virus, but in games terms, that means Poison status. Some enemies are immune to Poison, though, making Necrosis basically worthless against them. Not bad, but not great either.
Plasma is one of my personal favorite spells, and can be best described as an "Oh Shit!" button. If you get cornered, just cast Plasma, and an electrical blast will knock back everything around you. Some enemies will even be knocked prone to the ground, rendering them completely helpless! It's cheap and has a very short cast time, but it does basically nothing for damage. The real appeal is the knock-back effect, since even a little extra breathing room can save your life. It's also a goddamn lighting bomb, I mean, c'mon!
Metabolism is our first Water spell, and a very nice one since it cures all status effects, and in this game, status effects are a bitch. Ignore what is says about "Not 100% reliable"; this will cure what ails you, just not always right away. At lower levels, it can take a few seconds to deal with nastier effects, like Paralysis, but it still gets the job done. Maxed out, it's damn near instantaneous in both casting time and effect, for very little MP cost.
Of course, you can also find items and armors later that outright prevent certain status effects, so Metabolism is not exactly vital.
Healing is the most self-explanatory spell in this or any other game. It heals you. That's it. It's also the only spell you can cast outside of combat, so you can top yourself up if you have MP to burn (you always have MP to burn). Extremely useful and often more convenient that lugging around Recovery 1s, 2s, and 3s all over the place. As it levels up, it heals more for less MP, and casts faster, too. Despite what the image may imply, Aya cannot actually heal other people, so she can't really do anything about plot wounds on our NPC buddies.
This is the only spell I bought without thread input, because
The Earth spells are pretty standard buffs, and Antibody is your basic defense boost. It's dirt cheap, but takes a while to cast, and it protects you better with each level you give it. That being said, avoidance is really the best defense in Parasite Eve, since you have full motion and enemies tend to telegraph their attacks. Less damage is nice, but no damage is even better, right? My biggest problem with Antibody is that I always forget I have it, so I never use it. But that's not the game's fault, I suppose.
Energyshot is back, and much more useful this time around. Aya uses her mitochondria to make her bullets shoot harder (this game is very realistic, you see), basically giving you a temporary damage boost. Combined with, say, a shotgun, this can lead to lots of pain for any unlucky mutants Aya encounters. Leveling it up reduces the casting time and lengthens the duration of the buff. Most regular foes don't really warrant the extra damage, but Energyshot can be a Godsend in boss fights.
To unlock a spell, simply select it and choose "Revive". This kinda of implies that these are all abilities Aya had back in PE1 that she lost after the Chrysler Building bonus ending, but that's bullshit. The only person shooting fireballs in PE1 was Eve. All I had was a measly fully automatic shotgun that fired buckshot full of acid and cyanide.
Like I said, you just spend your EXP to unlock or upgrade your spells. The thing to note here is the Bonus MP. Reviving or upgrading a spell not only gives Aya a permant boost to her max MP, but also completely refills it! You can use to this your advantage if you wait to deal with spells until your MP runs low, but usually it's just a nice little convenience.
As a demonstration, here's Aya casting Healing.
While Aya's casting, sparklies fly around and a little blue bar appears. When that bar empties, casting is finished and spell kicks in.
Like so! That casting time is a very important thing to keep in mind during combat, so you need to be careful about what you cast and when. Of course, you still have a gun, so don't worry too much if you don't have time to bust out a fiery hellstorm. You can always settle for a fiery bullet-storm!
Next time, we return to your regularly scheduled LP when we solve a puzzle, go fishing, and fight our first boss!