Corpse Party: Blood Drive is the sequel to the survival horror adventure game, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, as well as the conclusion of the Heavenly Host Elementary School saga. Whilst the game is a sequel to Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, it actually takes place after the events of the first game. Blood Drive continues the story from the prologue of Book of Shadows.
It’s highly recommended that players experience the previous two games before playing this epic conclusion to the Heavenly Host Elementary School saga, due to how story heavy the game is. As someone who’s never really played any of the games before, it was certainly an exciting experience to try Corpse Party: Blood Drive, but did it live up to the hype? Let’s dive into the game and find out! (WARNING! THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR MULTIPLE CORPSE PARTY TITLES!)
The story starts by recapping some events from the previous titles and how these events are effecting the characters in the current game. Various scenes show the emotional impact past events have had on each character in a way that feels natural. I personally felt sorry for the characters dealing with such traumatic events due to how incredibly well the scenes and dialogue are portrayed.
As the game progressed scene by scene, the future plot of the game was revealed. To my disappointment, most of the games initial plot is revealed in just one scene and seems to come completely out of nowhere. Given how well the characters emotions and thoughts are structured, it seemed somewhat out of place for the plot to be revealed via a character monologue.
This tradition of explaining the current and future events in one long monologue was a trend that continued throughout the game and did slightly take away from the experience of figuring out the story. Heavenly Host Elementary School was announced to still exist, despite the main character Ayumi and all others involved with past events thinking otherwise. During the same monologue, some information about the previous game, Corpse Party: Book Of Shadows is given too. I assume this is to catch players up to current events, however I felt it could have been done in smaller intervals rather than in one large scene.
From chapter 1, the story is laid out very clearly. Despite various surprises and plot twists, it’s pretty clear to any horror game fan or gamer where the story will progress. I feel that Corpse Party: Blood Drive leaves little room for true plot twists due to how much information is unloaded onto the players. It is something I feel could have been done differently to enhance the story telling experience.
The introduction to gameplay is incredibly fun and easy to understand. During the beginning of the game, there are small little objectives that teach you the controls. The first objective is to talk to all your friends before entering the school. This teaches you how to interact with people and objects. The next objective is to get bread from the cafeteria, which teaches you how to run. These simple and easy to understand objectives are welcoming to new players and veterans alike.
Moving onto the first scary portion of the game, in which Ayumi explores a run down apartment. From the very beginning of this area, the game introduces you to a save point and HP restore point. This being an instant realisation that Ayumi may be in danger in this coming section. As I moved forward into the apartment, the atmosphere was quickly changed from slightly uncomfortable to truly unnerving. Ghosts appearing in windows and banging on doors made simply walking around a scary experience.
Moving onto later in the game, I was transported to Heavenly Host Elementary. I immediately knew that the experience that made the earlier games enjoyable had returned. The rotted down school mixed with the intense music greats an atmosphere that left me on the edge of my seat constantly. The 3D models and environment make Heavenly Host Elementary a lot more terrifying than the original sprite based art style approach. Combining new jump scares and puzzles make this environment feel brand new and familiar at the same time.
One major issue I had with the game is the lack of save points available. Due to how text heavy the first part of the game is, it can be at times hours between save points. At over 2 hours in I’d only had two save points to interact with. Being able to save before or after dialogue would have been a good solution to this problem.
Collectables come in many shapes and sizes. In Corpse Party: Blood Drive there are many types of collectables the player can attain. The Gallery Of Spirits shows event illustrations that have been previously seen in game. These are often shown during or after dialogue. The Cursed Phonograph allows players to listen to in game music or create a playlist. The Cursed Phonograph is an excellent way to listen to any and all music that has played during gameplay.
The EVP is a very interesting feature that allows players to build their own conversations using character voice files that have been obtained throughout the game. It’s my first time seeing such a unique feature and I think it’s very well suited to the experiences the game is trying to offer. Another feature featuring in game voice acting is the Soulful Testimonies. This section allows you to access messages from the voice cast. Last but not least is the Encyclopedia Obscura. As the name implies it holds a lot of obscure information that is gained through exploration and gameplay. It holds information on characters, locations and terminology relating to Corpse Party.
The graphics in Corpse Party: Blood Drive can be altered to suit the needs of the user, as with most PC games. Various elements such as quality, resolution, anti-aliasing and shadows can be altered in the menu at any time. Whilst in the normal world, buildings tend to look very basic. Only the characters themselves stand out which unfortunately leads to everything else looking worse overall.
This problem in the normal areas of the game becomes an enhancer in the main setting of the game, Heavenly Host Elementary. The shift in environment lends itself perfectly to player focused graphics. The environment being someone mediocre in comparison to the character models helps lend a feeling of focus to the character themselves, leading the player to be more wary of the location they’re in. Running from high resolution enemies in a somewhat rundown looking building made the experience somewhat more terrifying.
During the various dialogue scenes, the layout is similar to all Visual Novel type experiences. A set background, with characters and their dialogue boxes appearing over the top. Most art was well done and fit the feeling of each scene. Each character had poses and emotions that suited what they were expressing via text and voice in the scene. Overall the graphics provided in Corpse Party: Blood Drive serve their purpose and do so well most of the time. Despite not being the best game graphically, the style still works well with the type of game Corpse Party is.
Soundtrack & Sounds
The soundtrack in Corpse Party: Blood Drive is outstanding for conveying the tone of the game. The simple stop and start of music, rather than music being faded together, creates a sense of various feelings. such as urgency or panic. The music fits each section perfectly.
Scary music is varied and not overly obnoxious like some horror titles, whilst the calming music worked well at making me feel more relaxed during fun or casual scenes. The Cursed Phonograph within the main menu can be used to listen to these excellent pieces of music as many times as the player desires.
Sounds and dialogue are crafted to fit each situation perfectly, be it screaming ghosts or general ambience. The voice acting during dialogue makes the game far more enjoyable, as it conveys the emotions that the game sometimes fails to get across. Fear, sadness, happiness, relief and more accompany every line of text in Corpse Party: Blood Drive. A feature that no doubt increases the gameplay experience.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is a very mixed bag of experiences. Whilst the music and general atmosphere are perfect for a horror game, it is let down by it’s long monologues and easy to predict story arcs. The gameplay helps pull the game up to be a fun experience, but in a story driven game it can only do so much. If story had been found out via the gameplay elements rather than the dialogue scenes, it’d likely be a lot more exciting to play, and hold a lot more replayability.
Ultimately I feel it had a weaker story that the first game, but still kept true with gameplay, so whilst it’s not the best Corpse Party experience, it certainly isn’t a bad game overall. I would still recommend playing earlier titles to fully understand and appreciate the story-line of Corpse Party: Blood Drive.
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