[Vita Visual Novel Review] Corpse Party: Blood Drive
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is the latest game in the Corpse Party series that is set in a hellish elementary school called Heavenly Host which resides in an alternative dimension. This time, Ayumi Shinozaki (one of the survivors from the previous adventures) decides to go back to said school to save her friends who died there.
Take note that this game depicts explicit violence and is for a mature audience.
While some members of Kisaragi Academy’s class 2-9 survived their trip to the hellish, otherworldly elementary school known as Heavenly Host, many did not… and those who were unfortunate enough to perish within its halls were doomed to remain there forever, eternally reliving the pain they felt at the exact moment of death. Worse still, all memories and records of their existence were wiped from the face of the earth, leaving only those who survived the ordeal to mourn their loss.
The last hope of reverting these miserable fates rested with an ancient tome known as the Book of Shadows, but Ayumi Shinozaki’s misguided attempts to employ its power claimed yet another victim, and the book was forever lost in the chaos.
…Or was it? When an acquaintance of the deceased turns up with a spiritual photograph suggesting the Book of Shadows may now reside in the tattered remains of Heavenly Host, Ayumi becomes obsessed with finding it so she can attempt once more to bring back her lost friends…
Corpse Party – Blood Drive – Launch Trailer
For me, entries in the Corpse Party series are games that must be played in a dark room, very late at night, with headphones on to get the full experience. For this third game in the franchise, things are to remain the same if you want to get the most out of the experience as you live every moment, holding your breath after every scream of agony that enters your ears.
In Blood Drive, one of the survivors of the previous games (Ayumi Shinozaki) learns that she can go back to Heavenly Host and bring back her lost deceased friends. This means a lot to her, because when someone dies in this alternate dimension, he/she is completely wiped out from existence and from the memories of everyone in the “real world” which means that only those who survived Heavenly Host know about them. Ayumi therefore must try and enter the cursed school once again to try and make it out from that hell in one piece.
Making a departure from the point-and-click gameplay of the previous game (Book of Shadows), Blood Drive has now upgraded most of its locations to 3D using the Unity Engine, and all characters are now presented in a chibi anime-style. I really loved exploring Heavenly Host and the other locations in 3D, but I do have to warn you about something: you better get used to the “loading” screen because you’ll be seeing it a lot, especially when moving to a larger zone! The loading times are also a bit too long for my taste, but luckily I eventually got used to them and managed to enjoy what the game had to offer.
Exploring the different zones of Heavenly Host is very dangerous (as expected), and a lot of hazards must be avoided on each floor. When running away from “something dangerous” (you know what I mean!), your character’s stamina drains quickly and he/she will quickly show fatigue. If you continue to run at this point, then the character will become exhausted and need a few seconds to recover … which is bad! I liked this, and it made me feel as if the halls were even more dangerous this time around. There are also other dangers, like getting “darkened”, which is a curse that makes a person go crazy if he/she isn’t healed quick enough.
Blood Drive features 10 chapters, and each one has a few good and bad endings that can be attained depending on your actions in each chapter. Your character WILL die often, and while dying usually unlocks one of the bad endings, it also brings you back to the Title Screen and you’ll have to reload your game. Since dying (and reloading the latest save game) happens often, the game allows you to use the R button to skip text in conversations and interactions so that you can quickly get back to where you died. My advice is that you save often and that you use all of the save slots in the game so that you can see all endings for each chapter since this will make getting the Platinum trophy a lot faster.
Finally, something that stood out for me in the first Corpse Party game I was the soundtrack and the sound effects. It was genuinely excellent, and I still regularly listen to some of the tracks from the OST at work. I was glad to realize that this new game also possesses a really strong soundtrack which helps get in the mood for playing, and the sound effects are still as gruesome and crazy as in the two previous games. This game is fully voiced in Japanese, but strangely, I noticed that the voice tracks had a lower quality that what we’re used to hear. I didn’t detract much from the experience, but I did want to bring it up.
Corpse Party as a whole features great visual novels adventures with excellent stories and soundtracks, and I was glad to see that Blood Drive continues with this tradition. The game does take a bit to get started (you’ll play for around 2 hours before the “real fun” begins), but once it is on, it doesn’t let you go. This game also features a Platinum trophy that will take some time to reach because of all the collectibles and different chapter endings, with estimates putting it at around 20-25 hours total.
I recommend this game to every player looking for a good visual novel game on the Playstation Vita!
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Soundtrack and sound effects
PSN Game Size: 1.5GB