Corpse Party: Blood Drive (PS Vita) Second Opinion Review

By Drew Hurley 25.01.2016

Review for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on PS Vita

This new entry in the Corpse Party series makes the jump to Vita for the first time and brings with it a complete graphical overhaul as it transforms from 2D to 3D, but the guts of the series remain much the same. A heavily psychological Japanese horror that mixes visual novel and adventure elements with some truly disturbing gore-covered moments.

Blood Drive is a direct sequel to the previous game in the series, Book of Shadows. After Ayumi tried and failed to use the Book of Shadows in the Heavenly Host Elementary to resurrect her friends - costing her the life of her sister - she hasn't been able to deal with her guilt. Enter some mysterious strangers who conveniently offer her a way to resurrect the dead…though it does involve returning to Heavenly Host Elementary and using the Book of Shadows…because it went so well the first time! Definition of insanity?

Anyone who has played through the other titles in the Corpse Party series will know what to expect with Blood Drive, whereas anyone who hasn't would be wise to play the other titles first. This game relies heavily on knowledge of what happened in the previous titles in the series and while there are storytelling devices in place, like flashbacks and exposition-laden conversations, they're never comprehensive enough.

For fans of the series who are knowledgeable on the lore and history, the story is quite enjoyable. It's driven by the Japanese style of horror - which imparts a creeping kind dread into the player instead of relying on boring jump scares - but, again, new players will find this exposition- and terminology-heavy tale to be a confusing mess.

While fans will enjoy the story, the gameplay is a very different matter. Both fans and new players alike will have major issues with almost every aspect of the gameplay. There are ten chapters to work through, and each progresses in much the same way: explore creepy rooms, run or hide from spirits, solve a puzzle, repeat. There are pitfalls and traps which actually use the HP of the player in this iteration, a nice addition considering the pointlessness of it in previous games, but it makes little difference when levels are filled with points where a momentary misstep or choice results in an instant death.

Screenshot for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on PS Vita

The game does away with the 2D art style of the previous titles and instead has chibified 3D graphics for its adventure parts. The Visual Novel aspects of the title thankfully have not changed, keeping the same signature artwork, fantastically depicting gruesome deaths and truly chilling moments. The 3D chibi style does not manage what the art does. Instead, it clashes harshly with the dark nature and tone of the series.

The game has upped that "dark" nature too, adding a new feature where darkness overwhelms the majority of the adventure segments. It makes sense that the darkness is trying to evoke a fear of the unknown and perpetuate the tension, but it often just feels frustratingly annoying. The game sets up a way to cut through this darkness by providing a horror mainstay, the inefficient flashlight (Find those conveniently scattered AA batteries!), except that just hitting select toggles the endless battery mode.

It's not all bad, to be fair, the translation team have done a great job on the localisation, and the shocking moments of gore which helped put the series on the map make a welcomed return. There are also nice small touches for returning players, like the results of the previous game being noticeable in the new 3D representation of the school; the remains of some students are still exactly where they fell.

Possibly the worst aspects of Blood Drive are the maddeningly frustrating technical issues, the biggest offender of these being the constant loading screens. They get absolutely ridiculous. Not only do they take far longer than they should - being guilty of eating up more than a few seconds each time - but they are also abundant everywhere - starting a new game, entering a different area, even opening a menu! It has a huge impact on the experience.

The delays from these constant loading screens are even further compounded by the sudden deaths that can occur. Combined with save points being spread very far apart, it makes for an all-around annoying experience which ruins any sense of horror or fear it could impart.

Screenshot for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Being the conclusion to the story that has been told through the original title and Book of Shadows, this is something that fans of the series will want to experience. It's just a shame that the story is locked behind such a terrible game. There are just too many glaring flaws with this new iteration for even fans of the series to truly enjoy the slog.

Developer

5pb

Publisher

Marvelous

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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