Visual Novel Spotlight: Corpse Party: Blood Driveon November 3, 2015 by Shadocchi
The decades-long series of survival horror games, Corpse Party, comes to a close with its latest installment – Corpse Party: Blood Drive. With the game’s jump to the PlayStation Vita, Blood Drive brings a number of new horrific aspects to the scary supernatural game we know and love.
It hasn’t been very long at all since the five surviving friends in Corpse Party and Book of Shadows fled Heavenly Host and returned to a world where their dead friends have been erased from existence and their anguish ignored. Despite having exorcised the vengeful spirit keeping the nightmarish alternate reality together, the school is still standing, stronger than ever. When Ayumi stumbles across a way to revive her friends, she abandons all logic to grab at what she needs to save everyone. But things aren’t that straightforward when arcane magic and grand schemes are at play, and everyone is inevitably brought back to the corpse-filled halls of Heavenly Host.
Blood Drive makes a return to the RPG-like exploration that was missing in Book of Shadows to send you back to a very different Heavenly Host with very different characters. Environments and characters are now well detailed in 3D, much like Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient, and the focus on binaural audio is even stronger, if somewhat quieter. The game blends focus of the puzzle-solving exploration of the first game with the plentiful story of the second. Old mechanics like the Darkening stick around and new aspects are brought in to keep things fresh. Now you can light your path, run, hide in closets, navigate through floor hazards and flee from physical threats while solving puzzles and uncovering mysteries.
With new things, though, comes annoyances. Team GrisGris’ handling of the game is not firm, and Blood Drive suffers from long, frequent loading screens of up to eight seconds between every area, event and menu. This isn’t helped by the game stuttering if you move too fast with a flashlight on. Polish evident in later parts of the game is missing from the beginning – characters in anguish and showing pain on their 2D sprite will often show a carefree smile on their 3D model. And, while giving players a challenge, the harsh stamina system combined with increasingly frequent, unavoidable ghost chases can get irritating.
Even after all these annoyances, Blood Drive is still very much a Corpse Party game. It never lets up on violence or suffering, always seeks new ways to torture its characters, and maintains its unhealthy thirst for girls desperate to pee. The new cast of characters gives a certain life to the story in ways the core cast cannot, even if they shift the story to something more Fantasy. What is a little unfortunate about Blood Drive is that it only offers something for those who have played through the series. The story swiftly moves on to wrapping up the Heavenly Host saga, leaving players to play through a story intertwined with its exploration aspects rather than a horror game with some story bits.
There’s plenty more that can be said about Heavenly Host’s finale and an equal more amount of questions to raise. But beyond complaints and comments, having more time with the Corpse Party characters and getting to resolve the series once and (probably) for all is worth it if you’re wanting for closure.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is the final game in the Corpse Party series, wrapping up the story in a very finite way. Although it stumbles with its new engine and overused mechanics, Blood Drive holds fast to what gives it character. Because of this, though, it’s more a game to play after the others rather than something you can just jump into. For fans of the series though, it’s a welcome finale and chance to get closure with the characters who have been suffering for so long.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive is available on PlayStation Vita and is PlayStation TV compatible. In addition to the digital version on the PlayStation Network, you can purchase a standard, standard with extras or limited edition physical version of the game from the Rice Digital store, Marvelous USA or Amazon US.