Corpse Party Blood Drive is an interesting game if a little disturbing at times. To be fair I have never played the previous games because only a couple made it state side and I don’t do download only games as a general rule. I have however seen and heard a lot about the previous games, specifically on how psychologically jarring and gore happy they are. Not ‘Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared’ jarring but it gets the job done. It falls into that genre of horror movies that rely less on jump scares and more on how much blood and torture you can stand to watch, so more Saw less Paranormal Activity. Again, it is an interesting game but at the same time it felt really long for little pay off. As a sequel and the final part of the saga it is supposed to wrap things up and it makes damn sure you know it. It took me longer than expected to beat because it was so ridiculously padded, but it is October so just do what I did, play the game in the dark with a pumpkin pizza and orange cookie dough.
My main problem with this game is how ungodly long everything takes. I swear I couldn’t switch to a different screen without an entire loading screen that took so long I thought I was accidently on my old PS1 again. Even just switching from one menu to another in the pause screen takes like three different loading screens and they all take FOREVER. In an age where everything has to be bigger and faster it seems odd they couldn’t fix this problem, it’s not like that much really needed to be loaded every time. The story has a lot of dialogue so if you have trouble reading this game probably isn’t for you. It seems that the story could easily be reduced though. For all complaining and crying it seems the story could be burned down to ‘witches unjustly executed-witches mad-witches get revenge-revenge scheme goes out of control-a whole ‘lotta shit happens.
The entire first half of the game seems to exist just to figure out how to dump more characters into the game and cause even more shit to happen. They even have another opening video half way through the game to illustrate this. Some of the characters don’t even seem necessary, they just exist to make things tenser and add one more person to brutally kill. One little girl character specifically confounded me, her entire role was to point out the obvious and then die. Later though she appears again in a new form which turned out to be her real form all along; I was glad she was alive because she was one of the few characters I enjoyed but was pissed at the ridiculousness of her resurrection.
Gameplay is about as basic as you can get, with no way to fight the game becomes more of a point and click adventure with no humor and much fewer puzzles. A good amount of time in this game will be spent back tracking through the same few parts of a school to make sure nothing new has happened. For the record, adding quest items where there was none before is not clever or a puzzle; it is just filler to pad out the game and piss me off a little more. Constantly for the first few chapters I would get briefly stuck on a puzzle just to find the item I needed was back where I had searched earlier. The levels do expand a little bit half way through and then completely change by the end but it’s still just back tracking through the same areas over and over.
Health is kind of needless here since you heal when you save and you take little to no damage if you pay attention. Reserving power can be kind of a hassle though and becomes more tedious the longer you walk around. The real problem is exorcising ghost though. I assume there is a set number of ghost compared to talismans but if you run out then you are stuck running around until the ghost stop which seems kind of random. Sometimes I would run from a ghost and lose it instantly while others I wouldn’t be able to shake after multiple laps around the school. The corpse tag hunt was an interesting aspect and the genuinely creepy part of the game in the way it describes how everyone was killed. Again though, it becomes unnecessarily annoying when the placement of bodies switches every chapter. It is the same place and the school is haunted by spirits not zombies so they shouldn’t be moving. I did like how the chapters were broken up into different parts though.
The game looks and sounds very meh; it sticks to the exact same settings the entire game with a slight change in the levels of fleshy bits as you progress. It’s not anything special though, the old haunted school isn’t exactly a new concept. It’s all just really dark and grimy or red and the affect kind of wears off after a while. There are actual art pieces here and there during cut scenes that look interesting but they are few and far between. The chibi characters in gameplay are interesting but they are so basic the only real emotion you get from them involves wiggling around like someone just touched them weird.
I also had some trouble with the voice acting which usually doesn’t affect me. For the first few chapters all the spoken dialogue sounded like it was echoing or poorly recorded, of course half of the dialogue is just screaming anyways so it would still have been annoying. It became better as I progressed but it still always felt off to me. One of those things you never think about but I noticed quite a bit in this game is how the background music would just cut in and out during dialogue. Even professional music has some sort of background noise to fill in the blank space but here there would be nothing. I assume they were going for a creepy factor but it never came across that way.
I’m not really sure what else can be said about this game, it has its moments but not many of them. The main problem is that it relies too much on assuming that the player is already well acquainted with the series and feels a need to finish the saga. Like a new born calf this game just doesn’t stand up very well on its own. Personally I don’t know who I would recommend this game to, maybe people who really enjoy text adventures. There just isn’t a lot to do here and the story isn’t much of a draw unless you actually played the previous games. I know people who tell me the real pull is the horror aspect of it but a lot of screaming and random bloody parts doesn’t really make a horror game. The death scenes were kind of gory but I’ve seen the same if not worse deaths in non-horror games and the game just never really had the intended affect. Maybe if someone really wanted to get some use out of their Vita this could be something to try but without playing the previous games the experience just feels kind of hollow.