Reviews

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Review

Does Corpse Party: Book of Shadows have the same emotional impact as the original?

Anthony Fernandez
610

Corpse Party was a creepy emotional roller coaster of a ride. Does Corpse Party: Book of Shadows have the same emotional impact?

A Different Party, A Different Dance

Since Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is a direct sequel to its predecessor, I’ll start by saying that you’ll definitely need to play the first game to even understand what is going on.

With that said, the gameplay between both games has been altered slightly. While the first game was an adventure title that used the presentation of a traditional 16-bit RPG ala Chrono Trigger, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows goes back to its adventure game roots. It uses a first person point and click perspective similar to a visual novel. Because of this Corpse Party: Book of Shadows falls more in line with games like Snatcher and Policenauts as opposed to its predecessor.

Mmmm, what's on the menu?

Mmmm, what’s on the menu?

Also, thanks to the changed presentation, the game’s atmosphere improves. The environments of the school feel more alive and have much more detail than it did in the previous game. Broken stairways, fallen hallways and dismembered bodies are illustrated better. The audio part of the games is unchanged, but this is not a bad thing. It retains the high quality that was found in the earlier game. Because of this a good pair of headphones will get you the most out of the game’s brilliant sound effects. Creaky walls, footsteps in the dark, and the disgustingly detailed sound of gore come alive with keen execution.

Along with the new presentation, the game also adds a new mechanic that changes its health system. This new mechanic, called the Contamination Spirit System, causes you to lose sanity. As your health is brought down in the game, you’ll start seeing hallucinations. These hallucinations distort the play field and disorients the player. When this happens, navigating the game becomes overly difficult as images start to interrupt the screen. This subsequently can cause the player to accidentally go some where they do not want to go, or go around in circles.

The Flow of the Party is muddled

While the gameplay and atmosphere has been improved greatly the story, unfortunately, did not. The game opens up with great potential by picking up on one of the most shocking moments of the original game. Many familiar characters return, and even characters that were not fleshed out in the previous game are given more life. But, despite these seemingly positive aspects, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows falls apart due to it being overly intricate and unnecessarily complicated.

This is due in part because the plot jumps around way too much. For instance, one chapter involves recreating a whole chapter from the first game with  some minor differences. It felt at times that this was just unnecessary. There was not much differentiation in this chapter from its counterpart in the first game aside from its ending. But even that was lackluster for it had no impact that was worthwhile.

This is how the plot makes you feel....

This is how the plot makes you feel….

In hindsight, I felt that Corpse Party’s story was much more straightforward and, most importantly, coherent. This fact alone allowed the game to be more emotionally engaging and not hidden by a muddled up premise. While the characters are still very interesting, it just seems that the muddled up premise takes so much more of your mind share that they became buried under it. Even characters like Naomi and Satoshi from the original game, seem more disconnected.

A Good Dance, But Terrible Flow

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows seems to fall into the old cliché, “One step forward, two steps back.” This game improves what many people had issues with and goes into a more traditional route. And while gameplay additions like the Contamination Spirit System benefit the game greatly, thanks to the games muddled plot Corpse Party: Book of Shadows just lacks the emotional impact of the previous game’s story. If you played the first game and liked it, ultimately I think this is a party worth going back to. But be forewarned that while the dance is great, the flow of the party is overly muddled.

Anthony completed the original Corpse Party shortly before playing through Corpse Party: Book of Shadows. XSEED provided us with a review code for Corpse Party: Book of Shadows for review.

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  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ NautoAceOne

    Nice review, maybe someday… looks trippy…

  • Sevyne

    If you went into Book of Shadows expecting a fully direct sequel then I can totally understand the complaint about a muddled plot, but it was never advertised as a sequel. In fact, folks at XSEED have gone on record to say that it wasn’t several times.

    The game is mostly a bunch of “what if” scenarios of the previous game’s bad ends. Their is just one chapter that truly moves the story forward from the first game. With that all in mind you’ll find it much easier to follow. This is mostly to serve as a filler for the wait until Blood Drive which should wrap up the story of these characters.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    Not to say that I don’t believe you, but it clearly states in their press release sent to us that it is: “The sequel to 2011’s hit horror title, Corpse Party, which follows the tales of a group of Japanese high school students trapped in an alternate reality, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows…”

    If it were true that what you’re saying is correct, they should’ve made that apparent even with the press releases that they’ve given to us. Seeing as how this is the official word, we wanted to make sure that it’s accurate.

    If you’d like, we can try to clarify it with XSEED and make sure, but that’s what we’ve gone with at this time.

  • Sevyne

    Well I’d imagine that for promotional reasons saying, “The ‘what if’ filler stories with a touch of sequel to 2011′s hit title, Corpse Party” probably doesn’t slide off the tongue well or look very good on paper. It does make things a bit misleading though.

    As someone who frequently lurks their boards it has definitely been clarified upon a few times, and I know they have stated it various other places. This is also why I say, “If you went into Book of Shadows expecting a fully direct sequel then I can understand”, because in a lot of cases I can see that happening. You have to follow pretty heavy on XSEED’s offerings to get that bit of info.

    Definitely not knocking your review, because it was fine. I just wanted to make it clear to you why you may have felt the way you did about it.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    Of course! And I’m glad you’re able to provide us with better context!

  • Sevyne

    I see y’all are trying to be fair and honest about it, so instead of pitching a fit I figured I’d clear a bit of the fog on that matter. Still a job well done though on the review. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.fernandez.31521 Anthony Fernandez

    Thank you For the Compliments, but I will have to disagree with you on this. Like Alex said, we assumed it was a sequel. Two, while it may be a plot or what if scenario, I still felt it was way to confusing regardless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.fernandez.31521 Anthony Fernandez

    I will continue where I left off. The fact of the matter is that I still felt this game had potential but could not exceed. As I said in the review, I appreciate that certain characters were expanded on, but still, this game was all over the place. That was my issue. Whether it is a side plot or a sequel, it should have a cohesive story none the less.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    I think we’re beating a dead horse here. lol

  • Sevyne

    What is there to disagree with? THAT is exactly what it is and that is a fact.

  • Sevyne

    It’s not supposed to be it’s own story so no it shouldn’t have it’s own cohesive story because that’s not what it is. It’s a gathering of what if scenarios NOT a story in of itself. Each chapter was it’s own thing. They were never supposed to come together into one. You simply don’t get it do you?

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    I think there’s some miscommunication here. I think what Anthony means to say is how the story is told makes the story a bit muddled and just restating what he said in his review. I think he’s just confused haha.

  • Sevyne

    But there isn’t one story to be told. Each chapter is it’s own story. If he is trying to mash them together into a single story then he’s doing it wrong. That would explain why he thinks it’s a bit muddled. That’s not what it is. They are not meant to come together because they are alternates to things that really did happen. The only chapter that is to be taken and applied as direct sequel to the first game is the Blood Drive chapter.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    Again, I think we’re just beating a dead horse here and it seems we haven’t done enough due diligence to research on this game if the review states one thing and a fan states the other. We’ll make sure to make this an example so that we won’t be committing the same fallacies all over again.