Corpse Party: Blood Drive is the sequel to Corpse Party: Book of Shadows and the third games in the series to be brought to the west by Marvelous USA. Blood Drive marks the series’ first foray onto the PlayStation Vita as the last two instalments were released on PlayStation Portable. The first title in the series, Corpse Party BloodCovered: …Repeated Fear, known in the west as Corpse Party, is also available on iOS devices. The series began with Corpse Party on the NEC PC-9801 in 1996 in Japan and has since received two remakes resulting in the title coming to PlayStation devices where it feels right at home.
Blood Drive is the direct sequel to Corpse Party: Book of Shadows and the final chapter in the Heavenly Host storyline. Ayumi Shinozaki receives a visit, while in hospital after recovering from her misuse of the “Book of Shadows”, from a woman claiming to be an associate of Hinoe Shinozaki. Ayumi, thinking that the Heavenly Host ordeal was over with, is informed that the book still exists and is within the tattered remains of Heavenly Host. Obsessed with the thought of reviving her dead friends, Ayumi, feeling the responsibility as a Shinozaki of ending this nightmare, once again steps into Heavenly Host.
Blood Drive has some great new updates to its classic formula and a load of new ways to die. The story is progressed through chapters, with 11 in total and 8 “Extra Chapters”. You can choose to revisit old chapters in order to unlock alternate endings as you’ll more than likely end on a “bad ending”. Some chapters will require revisiting in order to unlock the “good ending”, luckily you can skip through the lengthy dialogue making the process easier. It also helps to keep multiple saves to hasten the process.
The visual novel style dialogue scenes during chapters can be a tiresome process and often do little to progress the story. The gameplay feels teased at times and often after finally getting to some action it’s quickly snatched away reverting back into more long and tedious dialogue. Loading times are also a pain and simple tasks such as going in and out of the menu can set you back some time. However, the game does maintain a tension-filled atmosphere throughout so get used to some heavy breathing as the story becomes more disturbed and uncomfortable.
It wouldn’t be a Corpse Party game if you didn’t die a couple of times along the way and Blood Drive doesn’t disappoint. You can very well find yourself in a gruesome pool of blood having just been cleaved in two. Many wrong choices within the game can lead you down a gruesome path, this being a huge drawing point to these types of games. The 100%’ ers out there will no doubt be hunting down all possible outcomes within a chapter the good and bad. An effective use of save files will be key in achieving this. While making the wrong choice can lead to an unhappy ending, so too will not making a choice at all. Fail to even make a choice when prompted your time will run out and you’ll have to face the consequences.
Blood Drive is not only the first in the series to appear on the PlayStation Vita, but it is also is the first to feature 3D renders for both environment and characters. This allows for some great additions to gameplay such as the use of a flashlight. Characters appear in chibi form during gameplay that doesn’t really keep in with the horror theme. Dialogue scenes feature the usual character portraits, not in chibi form of course. The game is fully voiced in Japanese and uses binaural 3D audio for simulated surround sound to great effect. Having the game voiced even if it is only Japanese really helps with the overall tension within the game.
The game features a large number of extras outside of the main story that is unlocked as you progress through each chapter. Extras include voice actor interviews, art and music as well as the Extra Chapters. For those looking to experience all of these extras, you will need to work hard on obtaining all of the different endings for each chapter.