Thursday, 20 June 2013

Corpse Party:Book Of Shadows

Gamespot Score: 7.0 (Good)

My Score: 7.5

(+)Pros: - Still pretty scary, - Deep alternate story that serves as great insight for the many interesting characters that we don't know much about, - Plenty of new interesting characters in addition to old ones, - Epilogue is a true sequel to "Blood Covered", - Deep puzzle sections that are well laid out for the new visual novel style play, - Bad ends can be strangely satisfying.

(-)Cons: - Only the epilogue is a sequel, and its annoying to get if you don't have a cleared save of the first game, - You won't know jack shit if you haven't played the first game, - A lot less "game" this time around.

Remember "Corpse Party"? Yeah, Xseed localized the sequel, f**k yes, respect to those cool dudes. "Corpse Party" is one of the scariest horror franchises around that actually circles around real horror and not just jump scares, pulling players in with its immersive characters and terror inflicting story. The context is just great, and the fact that made it themed with such great adventure/puzzle elements only made the experience more unforgettable. In "Corpse Party:Book Of Shadows", Team Griscris and 5pb decided to change the overall gameplay style into a more visual novel styled game, rather than an old school retro adventure. However, whether or not they changed the core gameplay, "Corpse Party:Book Of Shadows" still remains as an experience that'll keep your mind locked in horror for days after you complete it.

For the most part "Book Of Shadows" serves not as a proper sequel (until the very last bonus chapter), but as a bunch of fill-in-the blank "what-if" scenarios for many of the game's characters that we never got to see much of. It takes place during a bad ending of chapter 5 in the original game, where the entire cast gets thrown into a time loop where everything in the first game had to be repeated, but Satoshi remembers it all. You play as Naomi, as she and her friends get thrown into Heavenly Host after a series of dreadful events. Everything repeats itself just like it did in the first game, but Naomi suddenly regains her memory of what happened in the alternate timeline. Now in desperation, she tries to fix things to ways they should be.....

Choices still play a big role in the game.

As mentioned earlier, the gameplay took a drastic change. Instead of navigating your character around a map like in the first game, they made this sequel a lot more like an interactive visual novel experience, something similar to a game I really love "999:Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors". However in "Book Of Shadows", you are thrown into a gigantic area filled with different maps and rooms, where you can choose to navigate BETWEEN the rooms (instead of the small area we are given "999" to do puzzles) to search for items. It makes travelling easier, but also changes up a lot of how the game is meant to be played, which can lead to different preferences depending on the player. To me, I felt that it was a slight step down from the original gameplay, but it didn't hinder the game TOO much, because for the most part, "Book Of Shadows" does its job right.

The game is still scary, despite switching to the visual novel style of gameplay. Jump scares still come from time to time, and since you aren't given the liberty to "run" from ghosts, they appear out of nowhere and suddenly you are dead with a bad ending. Dead bodies still litter the hallways of Heavenly Host, tattered doors and walls are everywhere, and sometimes you'll see a face appear in the slight corner of your screen and suddenly see it disappear.....Things still pretty much get you on your nerves (though nothing beats the piano room in the first game, god that room). Among all this, you will still find yourself intrigued in these alternate "what-if" stories. While they may not relate to the main canon story line (we still don't know this), these scenarios provide insight about these characters and tell us MORE about them that we as the players, would want to know.

Bondage! This turns me on for some reason.....

Despite giving insight on old characters that we want to know more about (Mayu died too early in the first game, and we never knew much about Morishige other than him being a creepy pedophile), "Book Of Shadows" also provides us with new characters that we can explore. Minor characters from the first game, like the ones that appear in the extra chapters that we never really CARED about, they appear in this game as main characters and we get to see more of them, and HOW they are like. Hell, some of these are more interesting than the original characters that we already have. And as you spend time with these characters navigating the halls of Heavenly Host, solving puzzles, you know more about them and you start to care more about them.

Speaking of puzzles, they didn't slack off on that as well. Sure the gameplay style has changed, but the puzzles still remain pretty top notch even then. Searching for items in these vast hallways can be challenging, and some of the later problems encountered can be REALLY tough on your minds (god the password to the library in Morishige's chapter). As usual there are hints lying around, and solving a difficult problem usually requires a lot of time/patience. To top it off, the new "darkening" feature doesn't let you waste too much time as "darkening" increases the more time you spend in the chapter. If it clocks too high, you get a wrong end, so you're basically on a timer for all chapters. Wrong ends...oh boy, there are still PLENTY of them in the game. Not to fear though, these bad ends add to your "collection of bad ends", and when you see your character DIE, it might actually serve as motivation to do better the next time around....

Ugh, that girl is SO dead....

Now onto the cons, these can be obvious. The first one being that most of the game ISN'T a sequel, which most of us players are HUNGRY for. Fortunately, there IS a proper sequel, and its the epilogue bonus chapter. The bad news? You either need to have a cleared save date from the original, or get all bad endings in the game (I had to do the latter because I lost my save for the first game). Speaking of that, if you walk into "Book Of Shadows" without experience from the first game, you'll know jack shit. The game plunges you into it taking to account that you already KNOW most of these characters, and they won't go in depth at all. Finally, as a visual novel styled game now, one can argue that you'll spend more time reading than actually playing the game (like I stated in my "999" review), which aren't some players' cup of tea.

Overall "Corpse Party:Book Of Shadows" still does what it does best, provide an immersive story with great characters to indulge ourselves into. It also attempts to KILL these characters that we grow attached to in gruesome, horrible well as inflict impending fear into our hearts. Personally I thought the first game was scarier, but both games provide that same level of intense despair that strikes deep, deep into the brain.The ending to the epilogue clearly screams a sequel, and we are getting "Blood Drive" soon on the Vita, so I only have one thing to say. XSEED, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LOCALIZE THE DAMN THING, YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT.

Oh and Kizami's class is badass as f**k.

Happy gaming!