Corpse Party: Blood Drive – Review
Platform: Playstation Vita
Developer: Team GrisGris
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release Date: October 13th, 2015
A review copy of the was provided by XSEED Games
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is a survival horror game by Team GrisGris and is the final game in the Corpse Party franchise series that takes place in Heavenly Host Elementary. The game takes place right after Corpse Party: Book of Shadows which takes place after the original Corpse Party game. In order to completely understand the situation, you’ll need to play its predecessors before you play this game. Note that playing Corpse Party -THE ANTHOLOGY- Sachiko’s Game of Love ♥ Hysteric Birthday 2U is not 100 percent necessary as it’s mostly non-canon. There are only some minor throwbacks to it. With 2U not being localized, there is not much to be helped there, but the nods do go mostly unnoticed.
To summarize Blood Drive, without spoiling too much, Ayumi Shinozaki is overcome with grief due to the events of Book of Shadows believing that everything that happened is entirely her fault on top of losing the Book of Shadows itself after the game’s events. She receives a mysterious tip saying that not only is Heavenly Host Elementary back, the Book of Shadows is there as well. That’s not all, she’s also told she can right her wrong (or potentially make the same mistake twice depending on how you look at it) if she uses the Book of Shadows inside Heavenly Host and ventures into Heavenly Host alone saying her friends shouldn’t be involved in this.
The inside of the elementary school we know and love is mostly the same, everything is broken and run down. There are buckets filled with “mysterious liquids” and sinks filled with vomit everywhere from its previous victims, but now recreated in 3D. What makes this one even more special is that this wonderful variant is housing organs and mounds of flesh on the walls and floors for various reasons. What’s even better is that further you go through the game, the more these mounds of flesh grow. Don’t worry, they even pulsate, it’s wonderful. Keep in mind, however, that these aren’t just for show. They can be used as traps to slow you down by ensnaring you in tentacles that are housed within. Slow you down for what reason you ask? Well, it wouldn’t be a horror game without something to hide from, and in this school has phantoms. These phantoms will chase you until the ends of the Earth. No matter how much you out run them, they’ll just chase you. Even if you leave the room and go to the next one, they’ll follow you in there. The only way get away is to hide in one of the few closets in the school. Of course, if they see you they’ll drag you out of it causing massive damage to your health. These phantoms are beatable by using talisman items you can find so all is not lost if you can’t escape one. Even though these talismans are collectible, they’re sort of scarce so be careful all the same.
Keep in mind that this game actually has two health bars, one for your physical health (for when you step on glass, get hit by a phantom, fall through a floor board, et cetera) and one for your mental health – your Darkness Meter. The only way this goes up is by examining the school, especially the dead bodies lying around. While your HP bar is clearly visible on the menu screen, the only way to measure your darkness meter is to look at the literal shade of their skin as a measurement. The darker the skin, the more you’re succumbing to the darkness of the school. If, for some reason, you can’t tell how much HP you have left or can’t tell how close you are to succumbing to the darkness, the screen will have a bloody outline when you have low HP, or the screen will have a static tint to it when your Darkness is high. You can recover your HP by finding bandages and the extremely rare food item or by saving the game at a lit candle. Unfortunately, saving yourself from the Darkness is not so easy as there is usually only one statue that can cure you only once so use it only when you absolutely need to.
This game has no map at all. So you will truly need to memorize the layout of the school. If you played the previous games you’ll be at an obvious advantage. If you didn’t, take the time to learn how to get around or you might be in a small pickle. That being said, you also don’t really get a sense of direction at times. Most of the time, it’s pretty obvious as to where you have to go and what to do. Although, there will be times where you just simply “explore the school until you trigger an event” happens. It isn’t really so bad. The issue here is that, at one point, I had no idea where to go. I went in every room and examined everything except one thing – the stack of desks blocking my path. Normally, when playing a game, if something is blocking your path you would ignore it and move on to somewhere else. In this case I had to move the stack of desks to get to a completely different part of the school. The only reason why this is a big issue is due to the fact that, in another part of the game, moving the desks that were blocking a different path was not an option. This caused justified confusion.
This is honestly one of the worst games I’ve ever encountered on my Vita on a technical standpoint. I can understand loading between rooms and maybe the menu. However, the loading times throughout the game are absolutely atrocious and will eat away at your patience as they can be relatively long and they’re constant since your going from room to room all the time. Sadly, it doesn’t stop at just annoying loading times either. The frame rate itself is just terrible by all means of the word. Normally, I’m not one to care or even bring up frame rate either. However, there are times where the game locks up for a moment to load up a sound byte of a fly buzzing around. Sometimes it’ll lock up to load the fact that you’ve died. There is a small way around this and that is to play the game without using the flashlight but that only helps the frame rate just a little bit. What’s even worse though is that the game is a buggy mess. When playing this, I had never encountered an error message where one is forced out of the game back to the Vita’s home screen. However I got something much worse, I got an error message I’ve never seen before; my whole screen went black and I got a message saying an error had occurred. Then my Vita shut down. Meaning I had to turn on my Vita, go back into the game again, and hope it didn’t happen again. Keep in mind I was at the very last segment of the game when this happened which made it very frustrating.
On the bright side of it all, this is Corpse Party and in Corpse Party fashion, the voice acting and the sound design is just top notch. Between the blood curdling screams, the sounds of bones being crushed, someone being beaten, there is just nothing more disgusting (in a good way) than this. Especially something with a chibi artstyle and its excellent use of binaural 3D audio (believe me when I say that you’ll want to play this with headphones or surround sound). Sadly, unlike the other two games, this came at a price. There are times where the voice is perfectly clear, is sounds like they’re yelling in a hallway, and when their voice is just plain old muffled. Of course when used appropriately it works really well. But sadly there are times where the sound used didn’t match up with the situation at all and felt out of place. This made scenes come off as sort of awkward sounding. Not to mention that there were rare times where the music would drown out their voices. It’s not a major issue, but a disappointment nonetheless.
All in all, this game is really good. Sadly it’s not as horrifying as the other games as it keeps jumping from Heavenly Host to the real world. However, things were happening on both sides of the spectrum so it works in its own way. The new characters certainly brought out a different feel which made the whole thing pretty refreshing despite treading old ground. These new faces mostly stayed mysterious and had their own agendas at work. If it wasn’t for all of the technical stuff, the only real problem with this game is the fact that the story at times forced itself along and didn’t really feel as if it was progressing naturally. Otherwise, it’s a decent end to an equally decent line of games.
+ Sound design is almost perfect
-A technical mess
-The story has some aggravating issues