Corpse Party fans might be eager to try the latest game in the series titled “Blood Drive” featuring a return to the haunted Heavenly Host Elementary School. This new entry in the series features familiar faces and locations and it is also the first one that utilizes real-time 3D graphics. Corpse Party featured 16-bit sprites as it was originally developed for PC-98 version of RPG Maker while Book of Shadows was designed in the style of a Visual Novel with point-and-click gameplay.
The original Corpse Party was developed as a freeware game for PC-98 version of RPG Maker, which was then later localized and ported to the PlayStation Portable. It offered an excellent and absolutely terrifying story and likable characters. Despite having simplistic 16-bit visuals, it was still a scary experience thanks in part to the excellent sound design and the creepy atmosphere. It immediately became a cult classic among the fans.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive continues the story of one of the survivor of “Sachiko Ever After” incident, Ayumi Shinozaki, as she returns to the Heavenly Host Elementary hoping to resurrect his friends that became a victim of this cursed school in the previous games. If you haven’t played Corpse Party and especially its sequel titled “Book of Shadows”, we recommend to check it out before starting with Blood Drive, as the story directly picks up after the epilogue of Book of Shadows.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive combines the gameplay from Book of Shadows and the original Corpse Party to provide a brand new experience. This experience is further enhanced by the 3D graphics, which unfortunately are designed for Chibi-style characters. The character design is a negative here as the Chibi-style characters often don’t mix with the survival horror tone of the game.
While this might be the first game in the series to offer 3D graphics, this feature comes with its own set of technical issues. The game was developed on the Unity Game Engine by Japanese developer Team GrisGris and as it stands, the game is plagued with long load times, multiple load screens and a choppy frame rate. Don’t let this stop you from playing the game though, as the core of the game, especially its story, is absolutely fantastic and deserves to be played to completion.
As we talked about the technical issues earlier, the gameplay in itself becomes a victim of the technical issues. Even if we open the inventory screen, we will have to sit through a loading screen just to select an item. Since the players will have to utilize items to manage the health of their characters, this can become frustrating in the long run. These loading screens are not limited to inventory access, as entering a new room or location also triggers a loading screen. The abundance of them unfortunately makes the game a bit hard to play as it requires patience to sit through all of them.
The majority of the game is set in dark and empty corridors and classrooms while players are armed with a flashlight to navigate them. The flashlight runs on a limited battery that can run out with time, fortunately their is an option to make it unlimited in the game. The flashlight perhaps has the biggest impact on the performance as it can often result in choppy frame rate, thanks in part to the lighting and shadows, that appear to be taxing for the Vita hardware.
While Corpse Party: Blood Drive offers an engrossing story full of thriller and twists, it unfortunately doesn’t offer an exciting gameplay. The core of the game revolves around exploration and solving puzzles. Most of the story is unfolded in Visual Novel style conversations that are often too long, but thanks to the interesting writing, they don’t appear to be boring at all. Infact the best part of the game is definitely the story as experienced by its various characters. This experience is further enhanced by the Sound Design, which is one of the main strength of the series and manages to shine in this latest game as well.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is a well deserved entry in the series that unfortunately falls a bit too short due to its technical shortcomings. The game has an excellent story and it will definitely be a treat for all the Corpse Party fans, provided they can deal with the issues and don’t have them impact their experience. Blood Drive also offers a satisfying conclusion to the original Corpse Party, and nicely wraps the story of this trilogy of games until we get the next one in the series.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is available exclusively on the PS Vita. It was developed by Team GrisGris and published and localized by XSEED Games for the West.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive Review (PSV)
If you are a Corpse Party fan and want to see the conclusion of the story, but don't mind the technical shortcomings of this latest chapter in the series, you might get your money's worth for it. This is not a short game since it can take roughly 20 hours just to finish the main story.