No orange juice after this blood drive.
The genre of Horror in video games is something I feel has much more room for growth than any other.
Think about it.
While movies can only have the viewer feel involved vicariously through the character on screen as a spectator, video games can give direct control to the player, raising the stakes and intensity to positively terrifying levels.
As a fan of the genre, I’ve been following along various releases, both small and large in hopes that more developers would tap into the potential of the medium to provide a truly thrilling experience.
When I first discovered Corpse Party for the PSP, I was impressed by its setting, story and choose-your-adventure style that allowed for some incredibly tense moments.
Now the third and final entry to the trilogy has been released and while it maintains some of what made the original so interesting, a few unfortunate gameplay decisions has this ghastly series stumbling through the finish line.
MSRP: $39.99(Digital), $49.99(Special Edition)
Platforms: Vita Exclusive.
Compatible with PSTV: Yes.
Voice Acting: Japanese only.
Length: 15~ hours
For those people who have not played any of the previous Corpse Party games, I recommend you just stop reading this review now and consider picking up the first title “Corpse Party: Blood Covered”.
It’s playable on the Vita even though it’s a PSP game, and I recommend it to fans of horror that don’t mind a fair bit of reading.
The reason for this is not just because I believe the original to be the superior overall game, but also due to how crucial fully understanding the story/characters are to the enjoyment of this game.
There is also the sequel titled, “Book of Shadows”, but with its drastic change in gameplay styles, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the original.
Fortunately, Blood Drive plays much closer to the original, but instead of 2D maps/sprites it uses a 3D engine instead.
While the visuals aren’t terrible, there’s a certain charm the 2D artstyle brought to the original that I sorely missed in Blood Drive, but that can easily be chocked up to personal taste.
What does matter is how this actually impacts the gameplay, as the new visuals are not optimized well, resulting in serious frame rate drops, especially when using the flashlight.
There’s also an excessive amount of loading in this title as well.
Loading to get into a room, loading to get out.
Loading to pull up your inventory/status menu, loading to get out.
To say that I was looking at a loading screen every minute or two would not be an overstatement at all, and given how frequent they were, it actually ended up hurting the overall atmosphere and tension.
As for the gameplay, it’s a series of elaborate fetch quests, where I needed to find a key or another equivalent item that would allow me progress through the game.
There were phantoms and other things that go bump in the night that chased after me relentlessly when I encountered them, but due to how slowly they attacked, they were more of an annoyance than a source of any real terror.
The levels themselves were littered with traps, and it was no easy feat to check every nook and cranny to find that one item I needed to progress.
Given that there was no map of any kind, I often found myself getting lost.
The way the levels were designed felt unintuitive- ultimately blending into itself as every corridor and classroom looked the same.
There was also a mechanic called “Darkening” where a character that is exposed to too much evil would go insane, but it was very easy to keep in check and became mostly a non-factor after the first few chapters.
This being the last entry, the story does manage to come to a tidy, and yet tragic conclusion. Even though it’s not going to blow the minds of any horror fanatic, it was interesting enough to keep my attention until the credits rolled.
There were also the inclusion of EX chapters that filled in gaps in the story, and while short, its existence served the story and characters well.
While not exactly the swan song to send this tragedy off to the ever after in satisfaction, fans that have kept up with this cult favorite will be pleased to see how it all plays out.
Fun Tidbit – It is absolutely imperative that you play Corpse Party games with headphones, as much of its atmosphere/mood is set using the music/sound effects.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.