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Review: Corpse Party: Blood Drive

Writer’s note: I haven’t played any other Corpse Party games so going in this one was pretty hard. Still, I tried my best to compare it to the rest and I studied up on the lore so as to try and not make any mistakes. That being said minor spoiler might be in this review. 

The final chapter in the popular visual novel series is here. Blood Drive intends to end the Heavenly Host saga of the Corpse Party series. Blood Drive has a lot to offer for fans of the series but does it deliver on the promise of an actual conclusion?

 

It’s been two months since the “Book Of Shadows” incident.

Corpse party Blood Drive takes place two months after the events of the first game. Shinozaki and what’s left of her friends escaped and destroyed the horrible Heavenly Host Elementary School and upon returning to their world they realize that all of their past friends are not only dead but erased from history as if they never existed. Shinozaki herself feels a tremendous amount of guilt and wants to find a way to bring her friends back. After some time trying to adjust to this new reality Shinozaki is approached by a strange boy who claims that not only is it possible to get her friends back but also that heavenly Host is still left standing and that the answers to bringing back her perished friends is to go back to the school and retrieve the Book of Shadows. And so begins the last chapter of the Heavenly Host saga of Corpse Party. Blood Drive sets out to answer all lingering questions and close this specific chapter of the Corpse Party series, and it does a good job of that. Along with some new mysteries everything will be revealed. That being said if you want to play a Corpse Party game this certainly isn’t the place to start. The game gives a summary of what happened before but without too much context it will be fairly hard to wrap your head around what is happening. The story itself is gripping and enjoyable with a lot of reveals, twists and turns that don’t feel forced or out of nowhere. That is for one mystery that gets little focus and while the reveal does have a slight impact on how you actually play it’s just such a side note that could have been so much more. The lore and history of Corpse part is interesting and engaging and all the characters have something going for them to make you feel something for them, good or bad. Even if you don’t know what to think about a character it’s pretty clear that that’s what you are supposed to feel. All the characters are great for the most part. Some characters are rather specific Japanese stereotypes and the main character while understandable just can’t stop crying. While most people put in her situation would cry every five minutes it does get grating having to read five text crawls about in what specific detail she was crying. As said before this is the end of the Heavenly Host saga and the ending is done pretty good. It’s a bittersweet ending but considering the world Corpse Party was in it would have been a bit more fitting for the game to end on a much darker note. Several bad endings return and even if the game isn’t by far as scary or horrifying as it’s predecessor it still manages to describe some pretty disturbing and brutal murders in graphic detail. Aside from the main chapters there are EX chapters that tell side stories that are considerably shorter but most of the time are even more enjoyable than the main story.  All of this wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as it is if it wasn’t for the translations team who did a bang-up job. Not only is everything translated well but the team made sure none of the details or humor got lost in translation. Corpse Party is a fitting end to the series that wraps up everything nicely even if much of the horror is gone.

corpse party blood drive 2Its writing is top-notch and it’s the little touches that makes the story so much more enjoyable.

 

You mean there’s a way to bring them back?

Corpse Party is a visual novel so it’s relatively light on gameplay which might not have been such a bad thing. When you get actual control of your character the main part of the game is exploring the school. It’s interesting returning to the school as it’s not exactly the same as before. The player walks around in a 3D environment from an overhead perspective. There are some threats in the school however. Glass and wooden planks are scattered all around the school and stepping into them will hurt the player and drain their life-bar. One of the more out there and wackier methods the spirits use to kill the characters is by spooky way of tripwire. These are scattered all along the school and do a lot of damage on top of being barely visible. The only way to do anything about them is going up to it and disabling it, and while these traps usually are barely visible turning on your flashlight will make them stand so as to make them easy to spot. The player will need to keep an eye out however because the batteries can deplete and need to be replaced. Along the school players can find bandages, batteries and more stuff like key items. Here is where the problems come though. For some reason some items have a bright shimmer to them so players can see and take them. However some key items will not shimmer and this inconsistency causes players to enter a room, see nothing and leave, when in actuality they should have looked in a random locker. This problem will make some player’s game grind to an absolute halt but this problem is only apparent mainly in chapter 3 as the rest of the game does a pretty good job leading the player on the right track by straight out telling them where to go or using traps and items to guide the player. Traps aren’t the only danger in the haunted complex. As the place itself suggests it is filled with spirits of the beyond and they’re pissed. Though you don’t come across a lot of them these spirits will relentlessly chase players that come too close. And even if your sprint is faster than the undead ghouls you get fatigued real fast so outrunning them is only a temporary solution. instead, players can kill the creepers by letting them touch you while holding a talisman or they can hide in a closet and wait until the ghost goes back to its original spot. While Corpse Party doesn’t play bad the main problem is that the game tends to stutter sometimes when running from something and it can screw with you resulting in getting hurt or even death. It also tends to be kind of cheap when it comes to deaths. And the problem there is that when you die you revert to the last save point and more often than not this means you need to scroll trough the walls of text over and over again. Overall Corpse Party isn’t a masterpiece or even that amazing but it works and certainly doesn’t feel like it’s unnecessary or bothersome. But the game is certainly one where you want to get trough the actual gameplay as fast as you can so you can see how the story progresses.

corpse party blood drive review 3While the gameplay won’t light the world on fire it’s relatively fun to explore the school as long as the technical issues don’t pop up.

 

Happiness is born from much sorrow.

The visual part of Corpse Party is just as it should be. The game uses a rather generic anime art-style that while for the most part doesn’t do anything crazy with it, it also doesn’t mess things up. the character portraits look good the backgrounds look good and the rest looks good. The school looks really good too with it being dark, deserted and haunting. Nothing really sticks out as crazy or amazing but at the same time nothing looks bad. That is for one character that needlessly runs around half-naked with a Scythe. Most of corpse Party while dealing with supernatural stuff stays in the realm of possibility character-wise and such but this one character pops out like a sore thumb. There is absolutely no reason for her to be as weird as she is. The art-style that does cause some problems is that the chibi art style doesn’t allow this game to get as scary as it thinks it is. A lot of the gory or scary moments loses all it’s intended effects when you look at some Nendoroid dolls that don’t move their lips when they talk. That being said the graphic descriptions still manage to be very disturbing. As far as the sound direction goes the team deserves a lot of credit. Characters voices are recorded well but the team went one step beyond in trying to make it sound like characters are in the distance when they actually are or muffled if necessary. Sometimes it misses the mark and things sound weird but most of the time it works and shows that extra bit of effort and is really appreciated. The music is great, using some of the old tracks of the first game and some new ones. Most do what they’re supposed too and then there are some that sound so good they almost take over the scenes they”re in. Aside from the main story and some EX chapters there are some great extras. An encyclopedia explains some things you didn’t understand or some character’s history. You can look at the artwork featured during important scenes if you want to in the art gallery or you can listen to the music with the music player. There is also an EVP machine in which you can make your conversations but unless you understand Japanese there really isn’t anything to do here. But by far the coolest extra feature is the Soulful Testimony section where the actual voice actors talk about their time playing these characters and supposedly saying farewell to the series and the characters they played. It’s really neat and is sure to evoke some emotions for fans of the series. Corpse party has a good art-style for its animated stills and great music on top of the great extra features.

corpse party blood drive review 4The new engine allows for more camera shots but way fewer scares and disturbing imagery.

 

Butter up your poopers.

 

Closing note:

Corpse Party Blood Drive is a fitting ending to the story. It wraps up everything nicely and leaves almost no stone left unturned. It suffers from a few technical issues, a lot of loading screens, the chibi art style doesn’t allow for the horror it once had and the game can be a bit cheap with its deaths, but those are just about the only complaints there are. There are some nice extra features, an interesting plot and great writing. Corpse Party might deliver the ending fans might of wanted.

7/10

I'm a fun loving guy who like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and long walks on the beach. I work hard, I play hard. Must like cats. Ugos need not apply. If you want to ask me anything you can contact me at yordi.verhoene@gmail.com