Title: Corpse Party: Blood Drive
Release Date: October 10, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
After my ride with the Corpse Party series, I didn’t want it to be over so soon. Corpse Party: Blood Drive initially released on PS Vita in July 2014, but this would be my first time getting around to playing it. Luckily for me, the developers managed to fix known issues found in the PS Vita version for this release, which means Corpse Party fans who wants a second playthrough might see a few differences. That said, it’s necessary to play the other games in this series beforehand to be able to understand its story. I want to mention that here for possible spoilers that might get mentioned in this review.
The story takes place two months after the conclusion of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows when Sachiko was defeated along with the Heavenly Host school. Having lost three friends, Ayumi feels like it’s her fault for introducing the “Sachiko Ever After” ritual to her friends. Suffering for the loss, she ends up searching for any chance of saving her dead friends, which is when she finds out that the Books of Shadows. Sadly, it just so happens to be located at the Heavenly Host school. Yes, it turns out that this school didn’t get destroyed. She decides to go back, but this time alone, and the nightmare begins once again.
After the last entry in this series, Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash, we meet a few familiar faces in this entry. I enjoyed that I was able to learn more about these characters, despite them missing from the first Corpse Party title. During the game, the teacher gets replaced, but their actions were similar in that they both cared for their students. The story features many moments of courage when one of the characters is in danger, and the others do what they can to help. This expanded view of the cast allowed me to learn more about them, which help with the story delivery.
The gameplay in Blood Drive is similar to the previous Corpse Party, although Heavenly Host is a little different this time around. There are traps spread around the entire school, such as spiky wood, glass, tripwire, or phantoms, which can all kill you when not being careful. While you can just run around some traps or disarm others, phantoms will chase you unless you have a talisman. It’s possible to hide in cabinets and wait until they go away, although they will not disappear and might even notice where you’re hiding. However, there’s no shortage of talismans lying around. A returning system is how you can’t save during dialogue or cutscenes and require candles to do so at later parts of the game.
Something that slightly bothered me was that direction in the game was a bit confusing. There is no map, and it’s easy not to know what you’re supposed to do next. While investigating, things you have to do to unlock the next scene weren’t always clear to me, so I had to spend a few hours walking around and double-check everything. Something new here is that you can run faster, but the character gets tired very fast. So timing is everything during chase scenes, but it helped make the experience more nerve-racking. Once you know the mechanics of the enemy types, it’s possible to survive these events. For investigating scenes, however, it was quite annoying always having to wait for the character to recharge.
There are several dead ends available in each chapter of Blood Drive. Unlocking scenes require the player to obtain the true ending of the chapter. Most bad endings happen after a wrong action, but it’s possible to reload the last save file to avoid the dead end. I found this feature quite interesting as you don’t have to play the chapter from the beginning, but it’s enough to replay a small portion of the game.
As aforementioned, the PC and Switch version runs better than the PS Vita with faster loading times, higher framerate, and prettier graphics. I found the 3D models to be simple, yet it perfectly fits with the Corpse Party theme. Something I noticed is that Blood Drive is less gory than Corpse Party, but that doesn’t mean it’s less scary or messed up. Additionally, the voice acting is very high quality, and I enjoyed being able to listen to the character’s voices once again.
Although Blood Drive looks like a simple game, I enjoyed the final story of our friends while being introduced to a new cast of characters. It’s a title where you don’t want to part with any of these characters because they are so likable. I found the developers had balanced the gameplay and storytelling portions well, and I was never overwhelmed or bored by the cutscenes. While the lack of directions caused me to become lost at times, any progress made to help the characters out was always rewarding. Overall, I am satisfied with the ending Blood Drive delivers, with all its improvements added that made for a better experience than on the Vita. Now, I’ll wait patiently for Corpse Party 2.
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