In a world where black magic is real and curses exist, being left alone to wander a large, seemingly abandoned school, filled with corpses around every corner does not sound appealing. There may come a time where you must choose to live in regret or face your fears. Corpse Party: Blood Drive continues the Book of Shadows’ story and concludes the Heavenly Host Elementary School sega.
After the events of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Ayumi finds herself drowning in a sea of regret. Little did she know her actions could lead to grave consequences with the occasional plot twist.
The story is told in chapters. The majority of the game is reading the dialogue with choices and gameplay elements to accompany it. Unlucky decisions or hesitation can lead to death in this seemingly unforgiving adventure horror game, loaded with creepy scenes that horror fanatics will enjoy.
Even though Blood Drive is not a pure visual novel like Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, it still features ‘Wrong Turns’. Wrong Turns are dead ends to the story, normally triggered when you die in the game. They each show various ways important characters meet their end while prompting players back to the start screen menu. A majority of the chapters in the game will have multiple Wrong Turns to experience.
With many wrong turns around every corner, it’s safe to assume you’re going to die in the game regularly. Corpse Party: Blood Drive allows players to fast-forward through dialogues, however, no absolute skip functionality is available. This means with each death, players will be forced to endure watching cutscenes repeatedly until getting it right.
Previous Corpse Party Knowledge
Previous knowledge about the Corpse Party series isn’t compulsory, however, it is helpful. Flashbacks of past events will help make plot points more clear although you shouldn’t expect everything to be covered. The main story may seem underwhelming if previous games were not played.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive will have players exploring the deadly Heavenly Host Elementary School once again to scavenge useful items, collect name tags of the dead, and complete their objectives. Its tutorial is short and to the point, aiming at helping new players learn the fundamentals of the game without getting annoyed during the process.
Exploration and Hazards
The lack of a map and the many hazards will complicate navigating around the school. Figuring out how to advance could mean revisiting locations, sometimes even if not intended. It’s not a difficult task getting lost within the creepy walls in the depths of the school.
The variety of hazards isn’t large, however, the quantity is notable. It’s enough to intentionally cause a disturbance in exploring and running away, making the game more challenging. Unfortunately, it isn’t the brutalist of games, as it’s possible to make a full recovery without the usage of scavenged items.
As the school is darker than before, a light from a torchlight or phone goes a long way. Managing the device’s battery life will be expected of the player and the controls make it seamless. Failure results in the lack of light, making it tougher to see corpses and hazards during the expedition. Swapping through party members shares the same user-friendly experience. Each character shares the same stamina, therefore there’s no exploiting the system. Hazard damage is shared between all members of the party while the leader will always take the main damage.
Survival Of The Fittest
Malicious and evil entities lurk the death-filled building, seeking out new victims every opportunity they get. Players who cross their paths have two options; run away and hide or exorcise. The latter can be achieved with the Talisman item. Getting too close to an evil entity automatically activates a talisman regardless of whether you like it or not, eliminating any strategy you could have possibly come up with to progress through the Heavenly Host Elementary School. This leads to wasted talismans where they could have been used more efficiently.
Running uses up stamina and when a character is out of stamina, it causes them to stop so they can catch their breath. This helps keep the balance between too easy and too hard. Some can be annoyingly persistent, especially if you’re lost and in a room filled with hazards. Hiding in one of the lockers spread across the school makes it possible to ditch them. Although it heightens the difficulty, it can get tiresome to see the same enemy models repeatedly.
Amount Of Content and Replayability
Each chapter should take from twenty minutes to an hour and a half to finish. Detours can consume more time while skipping the dialogue from cutscenes can drastically reduce it. The first playthrough should take 10-13 hours to complete while the extras should add up to several more hours.
Similar to most heavily story-based games, once you clear a chapter and learned that part of the story, there’s no need to replay it again. The same can be said about Blood Drive unless you missed name tags and want to collect them all.
Clearing story chapters unlocks ‘Extra Chapters’. These additional chapters are mostly novel-style stories with little decision-making. Anyone who wants to learn more about the deceased characters who did not get much screentime will appreciate learning about their past when they were alive.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The game takes an anime-style approach with stunning artwork and well designed 3D character models. The lockers, the booby traps, the boarded-up doors, and even the old, wooden floor are all presented in great detail. Together with the poorly lit rooms and the creaking noises of the rotted floors, it gives off the ominous atmosphere a game like Corpse Party desperately needs.
The soundtrack works hand in hand with the game. It fits the horror vibe the game gives off. It switches from scary to calming to upbeat to silence at the appropriate times. People who are not accustomed to the horror genre will experience jumpscares before finishing the game.
While Corpse Party: Blood Drive excels in exploration and horror, it misses the icing on the cake in perfecting its survival tactic mechanics and can be an inconvenience to players who frequently die. Nonetheless, it’s a great way to end off the Heavenly Host Elementary School sega. It’s recommended to play the previous games, watch the anime (although they aren’t that great) or at least read up on the ‘Book of Shadows’ story before playing this game to appreciate it more.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive gets an 8/10.