Set two months after the events of the previous game, Corpse Party: Blood Drive sees Ayumi Shinozaki return to make amends for the havoc that she wrought. Ayumi is told if she returns to the Heavenly Host Elementary School and casts a spell from the magic grimoire, the Book of Shadows, then she can bring back her deceased friends who were lost as a result of her actions.
For newcomers to the Corpse Party series, there are a lot of gaps to fill in. Events of the previous games are glossed over, and with no faces to put to names, it can be a little hard to keep track of who is meant to have done what. Upon completing a chapter, encyclopaedia entries are unlocked which can help to provide some key plot points, but they aren't accessible through the main game and are only viewable from the title screen.
The game world itself is dark, and for a horror game you'd expect this. What you might not necessarily expect is not being able to see the game clearly when playing in anything other than moderate room lighting. Skipping from moody and intense, and straight to fumbling and inadequate, the lighting doesn't help ease any frustrations. An in-game torch is provided, but as explained early on, batteries are scarce, so you're going to want to conserve light. It's frustrating, then, that you can't if you want to remotely see where you're going and avoid any of the many traps and hazards lying around.
On exploring the many scenes that Blood Drive puts in front of you, a similar pattern unfolds: investigate the area, and then solve a basic puzzle to proceed. There never appears to be any real challenge in any of the conundrums, and the answers are often glaringly obvious. At other times, you can find yourself retreading old ground waiting for the game to progress until you trigger a cut-scene which moves the plot forward.
Perhaps key to the enjoyment of a survival horror game is the engagement with characters, and unfortunately with Blood Drive, it's not easy to feel any affection or sympathy towards anyone. Given the events and consequences of the previous game, it would be reasonable to expect the characters to be a bit more cautious when dabbling with the occult, but they don't seem to have learned any sort of lesson from their experiences. It's akin to the girl in horror films who leaves the front door open when there's a serial killer on the loose. Ultimately, you just kind of accept that they get what's coming to them.
Effectively, the game is split into two parts: explanation and exploration. The explanation scenes are dialogue heavy, but are a lot more visually appealing than the alternative, with rich animation that evokes the kind of tension that you'd expect from a horror game. Meanwhile, when you take control of the characters, and you're not just scrolling through text, you're able to explore the settings in 3D for the first time in a Corpse Party game. In contrast, the cute, chibi-style animation is at direct odds with the horror theme – it's hard to get scared when the characters, and villains, are presented in such a cute manner.
In fact, the most frightening thing about Blood Drive is its unforgivably long load times. Although just about bearable when booting the game up, or loading a major scene, it often feels like you spend more time looking at the bland waiting screen than you do playing the game. Even minor game actions such as visiting the inventory or trying to check your health status 'reward' you with a visit to the load screen – so much so, at times, it's hardly worth bothering with such actions. On completing a chapter, you're redirected to the title screen to endure the load screens yet again, having to manually select the next chapter to proceed with the game. It's an irksome choice, which makes it feel like there's little reward for progressing, and creates a slow pace which isn't needed.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is more scary in execution than anything. Veterans of the series may be happy to see the continuation of its plot, but the game offers little to bring in any new fans. Those looking for a good scare would be better pointed in another direction, as the promises of previous games are not lived up to in this new iteration of the series.
Hmm. I liked the first Corpse Party, but never played the second one on PSP. This sounds very disappointing - a shame. Great review, though, Jade!
damn that doesnt sound too good
I have to say I have never played the predecessors but Im planning to do so some time, the first entry (PSP) has much praise over the internet and looks very appealing to me - maybe if you played the first and second the newest entry is much more appealing
I've not played any of them so that's me out I guess.
At least they got rid of the RPG maker graphics. That pic tho. I don't feel OK looking at it even tho I'm a woman. They look too loli.
I think I'll just pick the first up on PSN and play it on Vita. It was pretty good from what I remember back in the day
@consolfreak1982 I played the first two and am really enjoying the third one thus far. Most of what was said in this review I disagree with, except the bit about load times, but I suppose that's the thing about opinions. ;3
@get2sammyb The first one was amazing, i had to beat it. I gave up on the second one, cuz it is completely different. However i was waiting for this. Looks like i will for a price drop too cuz of loading times.
This review is poor.
This game is meant to be played in the dark, so I don't get why you would bash it because of that. Even if you for some reason don't want to, you can just activate the flashlight. There's also an infinite flashlight mode if you don't feel like venturing to find batteries, so it's not a real issue.
What the real issue is, the terrible frame rate. I would expect any good review to address this, but this review didn't say anything about it. Loading screens are also constant problem. The game is still playable, but the technical issues may hurt the overall enjoyment of the game.
Also, it is unfair to lump the entire characters to that just one "they didn't seem to learn anything" group, when it's exactly only one character that does that (arguably, it's part of the character, but that depends on your judgment). The characters are much more varied compared to the previous two games. As for art style, it's subjective, so I won't say anything about it.
Blood Drive is good, but the execution is poor. I would rate it around 6/10 just because the story at least managed to be gripping.
this reminds I still have the first two games that I bought in sale but have not had time to go through
Is it a set ending or can you affect the game by doing certain stuff?
Is it a set ending or can you affect the game by doing certain stuff?
The game is up in the store. It costs 40 euros while in the blog it says it should cost 35.
@Flaming_Kaiser I haven't gotten to the end yet, but in past games there are plenty of different endings and wrong ends. I've encountered several wrong ends thus far in my play through but haven't been actively seeking them to see them all.
@thatguyEZ thats right, to each his own
Im gonna start with the first one though, heard/read so many good things about it ^^
@consolfreak1982 Have fun! It really is a fantastic game, and you'll have some scares just in time for Halloween.
@thatguyEZ Thx for the info it's good to hear that the ending is not set in stone in teh previous games i doubt they changed that then.
Who on Earth plays Corpse Party in anything other than darkness? It's a horror game, for goodness' sake!
I'm enjoying it. Obviously, the game has some technical issues (frequent load times, poor framerate, etc.), certain chapters are more annoying than others (looking at you, early chapter 4 with your millions of phantoms that stalk you everywhere!), and there's some annoying harem-style comedy stuff early on that undermines the mood. The plot is actually quite good, though, and I love the return to the more exploratory style of the original game. It also has the best OST in the series (followed closely by BoS).
Many of the review's criticisms are unfair. Most of the characters are incredibly averse to dabbling with the supernatural again, for instance. ONE character manages to drag everyone else back into the fray, and her voluntary involvement makes sense given her history and inclinations. Moreover, the original also had an art style that clashed with the darkness of the material involved. For better or for worse, that tension between the look and content of the game is quintessential Corpse Party.
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