Review by VictorReviews
"Even though it doesn't compare to Corpse Party, it's still a good experience for fans."
Corpse Party, released in 2011 as a downloadable title for the PSP, was a surprising localization in the West. The game was a 16-bit like adventure where you played as a group of students who got caught in Heavenly Host, a haunted school full of threats, and tried to find a way out of it. Despite its looks, the game had a terrifying atmosphere, mainly due to the incredible soundtrack and voice acting with binaural sound. This, together with the intriguing storyline, earned the game a fan base big enough to ensure localization of the second entry in the series: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows.
This time around however, the game doesn't follow the gameplay style from its predecessor, but rather makes a leap toward the visual novel field, making its localization in the West even more surprising than the first game's.
Is this second installment as scary as the first game? Is it worth playing if you played the first one? And if you didn't? Keep reading to find the answers to this questions and more.
As I mentioned earlier, this game plays very differently from Corpse Party. Players will spend most of their time reading, but there are also some sections where you walk around the school and search different places inside of it. Make no mistake though, you can't actually control your character, but rather choose where to go, and search in a point-and-click like interface.
Sometimes, you're given choices during conversations. Similarly to the first game, a bad choice may trigger a Wrong End, which is basically a game over with a storyline. Usually, Wrong Ends are just gruesome ways in which your character dies.
There are other ways to trigger Wrong Ends. For example: walking into the wrong place, doing certain tasks, and getting your darkening meter to 100%. The darkening meter is a bar that plays like hit points do in a regular game; if you get the darkening meter to 100%, you lose and get either a Game Over screen or a Wrong End depending on the chapter and in-game location you're playing at. The darkening meter goes up every time you examine a corpse or do other certain actions.
This game is considerably easier than its predecessor. The point-and-click interface makes it faster and less of a chore to look around the school.
As with any good visual novel, there's an option to fast-forward the text, and you can save anywhere, which takes away the fear of getting a Wrong End and having to replay long sections like in the first game. This, unfortunately, makes this game less scary than the first one.
In the first game, some of the most terrifying parts were the ones in which you had to run away from someone, and sadly, those are gone in this game.
The new gameplay has its pros and cons. While it is disappointing to have some of the fear from the first game gone, some new additions like the ability to save anywhere make the game less tedious. Overall, the gameplay deserves a score of:
The game manages to take the top-notch presentation that now characterizes the series.
The graphics in this game are basically anime-like CG still images. There are no cutscenes, which is a disappointment but is understandable, since the game's file size is pretty big due to so many voice acting lines and music tracks, and this is a downloadable game.
The game's graphics help convey a sense of fear. However, what really makes this game like no other is the voice acting. The game has binaural sound, so, as long as you wear headphones, you're bound to get a scary experience, with voices coming from many unexpected places.
The game's voice acting is in Japanese. This however, is not a bad thing, because all the voice actors do an amazing job, and the game is subtitled.
Most of the game's gory scenes are not visually shown; you only hear them. This talks about how much effort was put in the voice acting, special effects, and music, because the game manages to scare the player without much visual support.
Some of the musical tracks in this game are from the first game, but some others are completely new. The choices are very varied, from happy songs to others that make you completely freak out to others that just stick in your head, helping give the game the atmosphere it requires.
The game does an amazing job in terms of presentation. I found the atmosphere to be really creepy and similar to the first game, despite the change of gameplay. With a combination of amazing voice acting, awesome soundtrack, creepy sound effects, and great graphics (despite being still images), the game's presentation deserves a score of:
In contrast to the first game, this one doesn't have a linear storyline. Instead, the game is divided in eight chapters, each one with a different, mostly unrelated story.
Some chapters are based off Wrong Ends from the first game, other are prequels, other are events that took place at the same time of the first game's events, and the last chapter is a direct sequel to Corpse Party.
Something to note about the story, is that it will only be understood by people who played Corpse Party, since it contains more than simple references to said game.
The story this time is not as great as in the first game. I found that, in some chapters, the story really dragged and felt like filler, making beating the game a chore sometimes, especially because most of the gameplay is reading text.
A good thing about the story is that there is a lot of character development for some characters that didn't get it in the first game, making the story of richer.
Some players will find that playing the game is a chore. While some people will enjoy the story, others will find themselves going through the game only to get to the last chapter, which is without a doubt the most interesting part of the game. Overall, the story deserves a score of :
Surprisingly for a visual novel, this game has a lot of things to do besides getting all the different endings.
You can collect name tags from dead corpses in Heavenly Host. Once you collect a name tag, some information like name, school, and cause of death of the person will appear on a menu.
Other collectibles include CG images (these can be exported to the memory stick), the game's soundtrack, and comments from the voice actors. Also, if you have a save file from Corpse Party, more CG images are automatically unlocked.
Unfortunately, most collectibles are automatically obtained as the story progresses, so if you beat the game once, it is unlikely for you to be missing more than a few things.
Another feature that the game includes is the EVP Machine, which is basically an option to create your own conversations between characters using the lines said throughout the game. This allows for a lot of creativity. The EVP Machine is unlocked after you beat the game.
Many different collectibles, the EVP machine, and the multiple Wrong Ends make this game's replay value worthy of a:
As I mentioned earlier, this game was a chore to play sometimes. I found chapters to be either boring or a blast.
Fans of Corpse Party will definitely find some enjoyment in this game. Even though the game is nowhere near its predecessor in terms of fun, it is still fun enough to deserve a score of:
While the game can be a chore sometimes, and certainly doesn't compare to its predecessor, the amazing atmosphere and new storyline , combined with the surprising amount of replayability and bonus features, make the game worth a buy for fans of Corpse Party. Overall, the game deserves a score of:
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/07/13
Game Release: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (US, 01/15/13)
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