Corpse Party: Blood Drive (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 25.10.2019 1

Review for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on Nintendo Switch

Between the several entries, remakes and various media that spans from manga to anime; this gruesome niche franchise somehow managed to find its way to western shores. Times have changed for such an obscure series to find a western audience to accept the remake of the original Corpse Party on PSP back in 2011. As the fanbase grew, so did the demand for the sequels. Not counting the spinoff, Corpse Party: Blood Drive was the third entry and was initially available on the PlayStation Vita in 2014. At the time it was a technical mess, rife with choppy animation, long load times and game breaking glitches. In 2019, one would assume that the extra time and advancements in engineering would smooth things out for re-releases. Cubed3 gets invited to Corpse Party: Blood Drive on the Nintendo Switch.

Anyone who does not know anything about Corpse Party or has not played Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is going to have a bad time with Blood Drive. The story, characters and plot directly follow the events of the previous entries and there is so little exposition to answer questions any newcomer will have. Luckily for fans who missed the terrible PlayStation Vita version, they will get to play a much smoother and more polished port on Switch.

On PlayStation Vita, Blood Drive was a tragedy. A simplistic visual novel with low poly chibi characters caused that portable to buckle to its knees and chug frames out in single digits. The Switch conversion finally delivers the latest chapter in the Corpse Party saga in a playable state. Whether or not if Blood Drive is to the user's taste, is a completely different matter.

Screenshot for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on Nintendo Switch

Every chapter is broken up into separated chapters that are selected in a menu. The beginning of each chapter begins with a ton of introductory story text, usually characters arguing or bullying each other and eventually the player can assume control. Navigation and exploration works fine and will require the chapter's protagonist to find keys and avoid the spirits of dead children and not die from traps. All of this would be fine if it weren't for the hilariously easy difficulty. Healing items are easy to come by- not that it matters since everyone gets padded out by a high HP pool. Light stealth elements involve running from ghouls and breaking their line of sight to hide in a closet for a quick-time-event mini game. These don't always work though and even after clearing these and stepping out of a closet it is easy to immediately get chased again. Turns out these are pointless and since the ghosts are rarely fast enough, they can easily be out run by baiting them and alternating between running and walking. This works for the entire game, circumventing any need for the closets.

Corpse Party: Blood Drive is not going to be for everyone. It might not even satisfy fans of the horror visual-novel sub genre. The biggest hurdle to overcome is not the lacking branching paths or expressionless models- its the lack of likeable characters in a large cast of very similar looking characters. Almost everyone is manipulative, overly emotional, petty or generally the kind of person an upstanding citizen would like to punch in the face. Incredible leaps of logic are made by some characters that are excused as them just being clever. Maybe this is part of the design to make it so users will actually enjoy some of the graphic and brutal deaths that can happen. Don't expect to get emotionally invested in anything thanks to the utter nihilism and complete disregard for humanity in most of the cast. Even the story itself which begins with a compelling enough mystery, devolves into a very cliched scenario about teenagers saving the world. It is around that point the plot drops any pretences of horror and all tension is deflated.

Screenshot for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on Nintendo Switch

What is left when a horror visual-novel has so little to grasp onto in terms of character and story? Corpse Party: Blood Drive's saving grace is its blood curdling writing. Examining objects or corpses nets very richly worded flavour text and this is where the game shines. Even when corners are cut to not show any animation and everything relies on text, the narration is very colourful and descriptive to such a degree that it becomes very easy to picture the imagery in the mind's eye. At times it kind of feels like Stephen King was involved because Blood Drive has a tendency to mix the macabre with sexual tension. Very unusual things get emphasised and fetishised as some sequences are charged with weird and creepy sexual energy. Parts are uncomfortable since the cast is made up of very young teenagers who are not only dealing with extreme nightmarish paranormal forces but also their own budding sexuality.

Since this was originally a low-budget indie PlayStation Vita title, expect it to look it. Visuals are quaintly rendered with just the bare minimum met to get the idea across. Everything is very simplistic and using silly looking chibi character models that all look alike just feels incongruent with the style and tone of the scenarios. The best effect is the real time lighting effects that end up looking very natural and atmospheric. In portable mode, Blood Drive ends up looking better which is likely due to its origins as a portable game.

Screenshot for Corpse Party: Blood Drive on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

The best parts of Corpse Party: Blood Drive is when the scenario demands only one playable character, isolated in a Twilight Zone Japanese meat-high-school. When these insufferable adolescents banter with each other, it clashes with any semblance of dread or horror. Their dialogue is obnoxious and petty, often commenting on the most superficial. Internal monologue fares much better, but some of the weird fetishised thoughts feel out of place at times. It is shocking that this was localised at all since this is such a weird franchise with some deranged sequences. There are far better Japanese horror games where a young school girl is the protagonist like the Yomawari games or Yumme Nikki; Blood Drive is only for those desperate for some cheap thrills.

Also known as

Corpse Party: Blood Drive

Developer

GrisGris

Publisher

Marvelous

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

It's a shame really the first in the series (the re-done first game by XSeed and Team GrisGris) is one of my favourite PSP games but I really feel like this game was a letdown.

Corpse Party 2 never got completed by the developers to my knowledge so this may be the closest thing to an ending to the Sachiko saga.

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