Note: This is a two game review. The first page reviews the original Corpse Party available on the PSN. The second page reviews the recently released Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, and can be found on page two by clicking HERE.
|Title: Corpse Party
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developed by: Team Gris Gris
Console: PSP or Vita
Release Date: 11/22/11
Genre: Horror, Adventure
Rating: ESRB M, PEGI 16
Corpse Party Website
Corpse Party is a game that is very story driven, much like an RPG. You do not encounter any battles in the game play however, nor do you level anything up. You make choices that effect the rest of the game and then you see how the story plays out around you. The game is presented in a 2D top-down style that features 16-bit visuals. It also includes some very artistic scenes that help to convey its point when needed. The visuals being done this way were actually quite brilliant. It manages to showcase the gore in such a way that you have a deep understanding of what you’re looking at but it also allows you to use your imagination quite a bit. The game is rated M for 17 and up, for good reason.
The game tells the story of each individual who is trapped inside this nightmare with you by splitting things up into chapters. You simply finish one chapter and move onto the next. If you think you have done something wrong in any given chapter you can revisit it. When you first start Corpse Party you have to chose which chapter you would like to play and if you want to continue or start a new game. Even after you have beaten the game, and completed its bonus chapters you can revisit any given chapter to try things differently and see if you can get a different outcome.
The nightmarish school is littered with ghosts and things that go bump in the night. There are dead bodies and pieces of people laying around that will make your characters stop and reflect on exactly what and who that used to be. In addition to the bloody pools of meat there are also skeletons that can be seen. Walking up to these and examining them by clicking x will give you information about who that skeleton used to be as well as name tag data, which is essentially the person’s name and class room number, and how they died. You will also see candles from time to time, mainly in stairwells that can be used to save your game.
The story in Corpse Party is top notch. You’ll find yourself wanting, and even needing to know, what will happen next. You can’t help but want to know what is happening, where exactly you are and what events transpired that lead to you ultimately be there. The game doesn’t disappoint at it; by the end of the game, you are given all the details you wanted and maybe even some you didn’t realize that you wanted.
In chapter one, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the rest of your classmates are, and how to get the hell out of there. As you walk around the school in total confusion and examine everything you can, the story begins to unfold. I really can not go into too many details about the story, if I do the game will be spoiled. What I can tell you is that things happened in the past which lead to these circumstances that you are now trapped in. Every cut scene will unfold new and terrifying details that are sure to keep you trapped in this world with your friends. People who you thought were the true culprits may in fact be pawns in a much bigger scheme. The doors/windows that lead to the outside all seem to be mere props and not actual useable devices.
You have full mobility in the game and you are free to roam about, so long as there is not damage to the area and you have a clear path. As the game is viewed from a top down perspective, you can see your character as they traverse the school. You will find yourself wandering around a lot so those of you who don’t like to be trapped by having to go in one straight path, you will have no worries. For those of you (like me) who get annoyed at not knowing exactly where to go every second of a game, you may find yourself slightly annoyed. Not enough to want to put the game down though. Usually a quick back step or trip into a classroom you forgot to double check will get things going and you’re able to progress the storyline.
There are no enemy battles in this game, other then the relationship battles between yourself and your fellow class mates. The puzzles in this game are more about figuring out where to go then anything else. You will encounter a few things like objects that are there, but when you get close to them they are suddenly gone! It is up to you to remember where the item was and figure out how to get it to stay still long enough for you to pick it up.
As with a game of this style, the choices you make will influence the story. You can’t change much by walking into the wrong door per se; instead you get dialogue choices. You will have to decide what to say to ensure the best outcome for yourself and your fellow classmates. You do pick up a few items throughout the game that you will choose to pass on to others lurking in the school or not.
I suggest that you listen to the game while you’re playing. Normally, when I am playing a game, I can be found with a set of pretty pink headphones attached to me. If not, then I have the game volume rather low while something is playing on my laptop; usually music that fits the theme of the game. When I am writing a review, though, I feel I have to listen to the music, get a sense of the ambiance and really immerse myself into it. I am after all, here to get the full effect of the game so that I can pass on an accurate account to you all, our readers. The music and sound effects go along with the game in a beautiful way that truly do inspire you and make you feel like you are a part of this world. Things gets quiet at times, which can be eerie and then the truly creepy sound effects set in and you find yourself looking around to be sure you’re the only one in the room.
If you are playing Corpse Party on the Sony PlayStation Vita (like I did) you will want to ensure that your screen brightness is turned up. Mine wasn’t, due to an oversight on my part and believe me when I tell you that it makes a difference. Each chapter has several different endings that will change depending on your actions. I was at a part of the game that required me to keep a safe distance from a certain entity and avoid looking it in the eye. I did not manage to do this. I would have most likely been able to keep a crystal in this chapter safe had my screen been brighter. I got caught on a hole in the floor that went unnoticed by me, thanks to the screen being dimmer then was ideal. Since the game changes based on decisions and actions that you make I am sure that this happening did change my game experience. I am very much interested in going back and redoing that chapter to see what changes I can elicit from being more careful and keeping that crystal intact. The fact that I am saying this goes a long way towards expressing how truly great the story was, as I tend to play through a game once and not return to it for quite a while, if ever.
Playing on the Vita also gives you access to upscaled visuals. I have seen the game on both the PSP and the Vita and the difference is very noticeable. While the game doesn’t look bad on the PSP, it certainly benefits from the upscale that the Vita offers.
The characters in Corpse Party each make you reflect on parts of your own personality. I would like to offer you the text of a brief scene in the game. This is not something that happens to a main character in the game so I feel as though I can share it without spoiling anything. You already know that you’re trapped in a school, which is going to lead to some dire circumstances.
“I ate my friend today. What else was I supposed to do? I was starving. We both were… We left it up to a game of rock-scissor-paper. Loser eats winner. I lost. I felt her blood going down my throat, quenching my thirst, and her meat was supple and satisfying. But that blood and that meat was once my friend. Up until just a few hours before, I’d been talking with her. As I feasted I kept thinking, this food used to be a person. Before I tore it all apart, it all worked together to sustain life. And every time I thought about that, I just started crying… and I couldn’t stop. I wanted some part of her to be with me even after she died, so I decided to keep one of her eye balls. I thought I should write some small part of this down, to preserve part of my sanity.”
Well, I am thinking that sanity has already gone out the window!
The game, while disturbing in the best way possible, also seemed to open me up to inner reflection. Did I jump at anything? Was I shaken by anything I read or saw? If I am to be honest, yes. When I came across the part about eating a friend, which I discussed already and wont go to into any more detail about, I was slightly shaken. My reaction was to pause the game, look at my husband wide-eyed and read to him what I had just been subjected to. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that part. Let’s be honest though and admit that being faced with the possibility of eating a friend is rather disturbing. I don’t want to even think about how the friend went from being a living, breathing person to being your supper.
This review was done as a part of a double feature. I played through Corpse Party, completed it and immediately started Corpse Party: Book of Shadows. The review for it will be available on the same day as well. I will skip rehashing anything about the storyline other then to talk about new developments (spoiler free) since the reviews are meant to go together.
Corpse Party was purchased by the reviewer and played on the Sony PlayStation Vita.