Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is the follow-up to Corpse Party, which I reviewed yesterday. This is the sort of series where the story continues from one entry to the next, so it’s important to play these games in order.
Book of Shadows is a bit of a departure both in terms of gameplay and in the sort of story that is covered. For the most part, the story of Book of Shadows is not really a sequel, but rather seven chapters that delve deeper into various events of the first game. You get to play through parts of the first game from different points of view, and at times experience new endings that make some chapters more like alternate timeline stories. You also get to learn more about some of the characters that didn’t get as much “screen time” in the first game, which is nice for fans of the franchise. So basically, the story of Book of Shadows is like watching all the extra scenes in the DVD extended edition of the Lord of the Rings films (making the original Corpse Party more or less akin to the original theatrical edition). Again, it’s great for fans–but for those not so interested in diving further into the lore it can all be a slog.
The gameplay for the most part is just reading text like in a visual novel. However, there will be times that you search through the haunted school the way you would in a 1st-person point-and-click adventure game. You don’t really walk around through the rooms, but rather you select a room on a map and you search about it the way you would in a game like 999. I personally did not find this as engaging as the exploration and puzzle-solving of the first Corpse Party, but it does provide a new way of looking at things in the school. The artwork is all fantastic (and there is a lot of it), and again, the sound and voice acting are top-notch. Be sure to play alone in the dark with headphones, just like the first game.
After you complete all seven chapters of Book of Shadows, you will be able to unlock a bonus eighth chapter titled “Blood Drive.” This is the sequel material that follows the events of the first Corpse Party, and is what leads right into the beginning of the Corpse Party: Blood Drive Vita release (which I’ll get to tomorrow). Basically, it’s the final chapter of Book of Shadows that serves as a bridge between the first and third games. If continuing the Lord of the Ring films analogy, it’s like you just watched the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring, and at the end you unlock a 20-minute preview of The Two Towers. The events covered in this “prologue” to Blood Drive proper are important and canon, so it is quite necessary for fans to go through Book of Shadows. Those who do not want to make the effort, however, may wish to simply look up online what happens in this final chapter.
Each story is completely different, so I might as well rate them separately:
- Seal — alternate timeline story featuring Naomi and Seiko — 3/5
- Demise — alternate timeline story featuring Mayu and co — 2/5
- Encounter — flashback story featuring Yui-sensei in high school — 4/5
- Purgatory — flashback/expansion story featuring Sayaka — 1/5
- Shangri-la — alternate timeline story featuring Morishige and co — 3/5
- Mire — alternate timeline story featuring Yuka and Kizami — 2/5
- Tooth — expansion story featuring side characters Tohko and Emi — 2/5
- Blood Drive — sequel material featuring Ayumi and Naomi — 5/5
Basically, my favorite stories were the ones that were complete departures from the first game, as all the others felt like they weren’t really adding all that much to what I had already gone through. (I feel my Lord of the Rings films analogy growing all the more apt by the minute here.) I really liked chapter three because it was a flashback that gave us much more insight on Yui-sensei (one of my favorite characters), and then of course chapter eight was the actual sequel material–and luckily it was great stuff. And a really wild cliffhanger for the Blood Drive game.
Well, I’ve rambled too long about this one. Basically, if you’re a really big fan of Corpse Party you will like going through this one well enough; the horror and tragedy is certainly still there in its trademark gruesome detail. But if you’re ambivalent about reading a bunch of visual novel side stories just to get to the sequel material, I’ll suggest just finding the last chapter online.