Corpse Party: Blood Drive wraps up the Heavenly Host storyline, but does it do so in a satisfying manner?
Corpse Party: Blood Drive picks up with the survivors of the Heavenly Host incident attempting to live normal lives. Unfortunately this is proving nearly impossible, and they soon find out a shocking fact: It appears that Heavenly Host still exists after all.
Now one by one, each of the survivors and a few new characters head back into the world of terror that is Heavenly Host. They have varying reasons, such as attempting to revive fallen friends or simply to collect spirit items in order to make a buck.
As you may be able to tell from the previous two paragraphs, it is highly recommended that you play through the first two games before diving into Corpse Party: Blood Drive. While this game does offer some quick recaps, if you are a fresh player of the series, you will likely feel somewhat lost as you attempt to piece together what’s happening.
Those who have played the previous titles are sure to enjoy the story and the many twists that come with it. Those who haven’t may still enjoy the story and the various twists, but not as much as veterans of the previous titles will.
The gameplay can be said to be broken into two parts. First up is the visual novel part as you read through the story. In this it shows characters against a static background as they speak with each other or to themselves and more and more of the story is revealed. Those jumping into the game just for the story will likely enjoy this part of the game most.
The second is much more interactive as you take control of a chibi character (or group, depending on the point you are in) and investigate your surroundings. Heavenly Host is extremely dark, and the halls are filled with all manners of traps, forcing you to use your flashlight and navigate with care, however your flashlight is limited in power. If you leave it on too long it will begin flashing, then shut off entirely, plunging you into darkness until you can find some new batteries.
As a result, you may find yourself attempting to conserve the batteries a great deal, turning the flashlight on once to get a good look around and memorize where the hazards, which can damage your health are. You also have the option in-game to turn on “Endless battery” mode, which makes the flashlight never run out, although if you attempt to use it after running out of batteries you’ll be out of luck.
As you explore Heavenly Host, you’ll come across evil spirits, and be forced to make a choice. You can run and attempt to hide, trying to avoid the tripwires, jagged pieces of wood, and other traps, or you can use one of your precious few talismans to attack and banish the spirit. If you opt to run, you may be able to hide in a cabinent, though you need to take care not to let the spirit see you duck in, otherwise they’ll drag you out and begin punishing you.
The puzzles are quite simple, and the game itself is broken into chapters. Some may complain about having to select a new chapter every time they finish one, but this makes it much easier to replay certain chapters either for trophy hunting or just because you enjoyed them more.
Graphics and sound
The sound can be quite impressive, particularly during the spoken portions. If you utilize a headset, there are times the dialogue, spoken in Japanese, can seem as if it’s coming from another direction, even behind you.
Unfortunately there are times that the sound can fail to impress as well. It was rare, but I encountered some stuttering that broke the immersion for me.
The graphics can either enhance or detract from the atmosphere, depending on your view. The chibi art style of the characters does seem to clash with the overall feeling of the game, but seeing the cute characters always showing a smile on their face can become quite creepy.
Unfortunately if something happens, such as having an eye injured, the models don’t reflect this, and thus can break the immersion again. Others may just find it funny to come across chibi characters with scissors sticking out of them.
When all’s said and done, Corpse Party: Blood Drive is a fun little journey. It is highly recommended to play the previous games in the series before adventuring into this title, but if you dive right in, you may feel a bit lost.
The game does have a few technical flaws, such as the many load screens as well, but if you enjoyed the previous games or you’re seeking a fun horror title that doesn’t rely on only jump scares or grotesque monsters, you should enjoy Corpse Party: Blood Drive.