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Friday, July 10, 2015

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (コープスパーティー Book of Shadows)

Having heard that it was far inferior to the original Corpse Party game, I went into Book of Shadows with low expectations. It certainly didn't have the pedigree and history of the original game, polished and enhanced over the years with every new remake/port. However, the intro was very well done and I had my hopes up for at least a good game. Unfortunately, in the end, it turned out to be just as disappointing as everybody said even WITH the lowered expectations.

The intro was really good at least...

I knew going in that they had for some reason completely scrapped the overhead RPG Tsukūru style exploration (Jhipster name for RPG Maker) and turned it into a straight adventure game. But ah well, there are plenty of wonderful adventure games so it shouldn't be a problem if the story was good and therein lied the NEXT major problem.

Book of Shadows is really barely a sequel. It's more like a spinoff combined with a PREVIEW of a sequel that is unlocked only after you see every ending in the entire game. Fortunately, if you import a save file from the original Corpse Party, you only have to see the true ending of all chapters, and really, you have no reason whatsoever to play this game without having played the original.

Besides the last hidden chapter, the entirety of this game are various side stories that add some more detail about certain events and a bit of history on certain characters. For example, you can learn about characters from other schools that you only met briefly in the first game, which is nice. But then you have total fan service chapters like the one about going to "visit" the sick teacher at her home. Basically this whole game feels like some poor victim of Japanese cross-media franchise marketing tactics from 5pb, very far from its original doujin roots. But then you realize that they were just getting started because the next game dials up the fan service EVEN MORE.

I thought this was supposed to be a horror game...?
Now, I'm a fan of fan service but I still want a good, scary experience if I'm playing a horror game. In the first game, you had to run your ass off, trying to avoid ghosts while ghastly traps were popping up everywhere. In this game, it's like, "QUICK! Pick the right spot in this image!" Not exactly suspenseful and worse, not scary AT ALL. It really is a shame because the menu system of moving from room to room is tedious and slow. And there's this weird pointless penalty for investigating things as your screen slowly becomes more and more obscured until presumably you die (this was never really an issue for me).

The one major improvement is FINALLY the ability to skip through the text but that's not gonna matter much if you don't feel like replaying the game in the first place. Books of Shadows is not a TERRIBLE game. It still has those nice, shocking Corpse Party moments but it just pales in comparison to the first. At least the OST is still good and it was pretty easy to get through since it has full audio (even the narration!) and auto mode. (No reading for Jhipsters required)

Score: 2.5 uncomfortable horror fan service out of 5 (24 hours to complete)

I would say 2 if not for BEST GIRL Seiko. Lesbians are always automatic .5 bonus in my scoring.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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