The original Corpse Party, a creepy visual novel import, was a shining beacon among savvy adventure games when it hit the scene in the states, taking established horror conventions and spiking them into what would normally be considered a cute, “safe” anime environment. It’s follow-up, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, once again localized and enhanced by XSEED games, takes the original game’s successes and improves upon them exponentially, offering more chills, thrills and assorted craziness to last players a lifetime.
Handily, it’s also on the Vita. This horrific adventure picks up right where the original game left off, and delivers creepy storytelling in droves. Again, Heavenly Host Elementary School acts as a hellish prison for our heroes, as the bizarre Sachiko has her way with the modified students, though this a direct sequel, it’s still a game that can be enjoyed by even those who didn’t have the pleasure of playing through the original. There are plenty of flashbacks scattered throughout the game that offer an alternative for those who may have missed the original (or experienced it on a different platform) without having to read up on the lore or previous narrative. This welcome augment keeps the channels open for those playing the game on PS Vita or those who don’t want to feel compelled to play the original when its sequel betters it in so many ways.
In this quite uneasy adventure we follow the students through dark halls permeated with blood, gore, and guts – all that good stuff. The schizophrenic narrative allows for great character development as well as some spine tingling moments sprinkled throughout that are especially unsettling should you reach a horrific “Wrong End,” or bad ending.
Book of Shadows finds you following the characters around each bite-sized chapter, avoiding the vengeful ghouls who’d have your head. It’s less of a traditional RPG/adventure game than it is a visual novel, but in some ways this only serves to enhance the tense atmosphere. So it’s safe to assume there are droves of dialogues boxes to wade through. Improvements over the original include now being able to make use of a fast-forward button to skip through dialogue, and tons more save slots than the original Corpse Party, meaning there are many more opportunities to save your progress before making a decision that could possibly head you down the wrong path – a Wrong End. And you don’t want that.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows creates an excellent, disturbing atmosphere for all types for a humoring portable adventure that anyone looking for a new and unique departure should love. Coupled with a unique adventure game-styled interface and horrific dialogue that begs you to keep playing even when things feel too hairy, this follow-up takes everything that fans loved about the original game and improves them exponentially, including being able to fast-forward through dialogue and generous save points that help make bone-headed wrong moves and the dreaded ‘Wrong End’ scenarios less frequent. Even better, there’s no need to have played the original as its story is encapsulated here, meaning those playing the game on PS Vita won’t be lost in the drama. A superior visual novel, especially if you’re looking to have the pants scared off you.
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