Corpse Party: Book of Shadows – Fight Your Fate to the Death

By Laura . January 21, 2013 . 2:30pm

Note: Familiarity with the previous Corpse Party game recommended while reading this playtest. Also, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but a few will creep in. Be warned!

 

Things after Corpse Party ended aren’t happy, even for the survivors. Corpse Party: Book of Shadows opens with the mother of one of the survivors calling her therapist, asking what to do about her daughter. Naomi isn’t eating, isn’t sleeping, and is more or less catatonic… and talks about a girl who doesn’t exist. A girl who was supposed to be in her class, but no one actually remembers this “Seiko” person.

 

But then, events turn straight around, and it’s like a reset button was hit. Naomi and Seiko are preparing for a culture festival for their school. Festival over, they hold a farewell party for Mayu, where Ayumi suggests they perform the “Sachiko Ever After” charm so they will all be friends forever. And they grip the edges of the charm…

 

…except for Satoshi, who shouts at them to stop. He yells about how it’s dangerous, how horrible things would happen, but who’s going to believe him?

 

And so everyone falls into Heavenly Host once again.

 

The setting may be the same in Book of Shadows as in the first game, and it is true that many aspects of the game stay the same. The first and most noticeable is the absurdly amazing audio quality of the game—binaural audio makes a return and every last line of dialogue (including narration) is voiced. You can still hear the pitter-patter of little feet as ghosts search for you, circling the desk you’re hiding under.

 

However, just as many things are different, the first of which is the game interface. You no longer control a character from overhead, watching their 16-bit sprite move from one creepy hallway to the next. The game is presented as a point-and-click adventure, where you use the analog stick to scroll around the image and the X button to look at whatever is observable. When the time comes, you’ll be asked to make choices, which will often determine the ending you get.

 

You travel to different parts of the map by using the L button to open the map and then choosing which area you want to travel to. The map depicts the whole of Heavenly Host in flowchart format. Moving from one end of the school to another can be tiring due to the slow fade effects, but looking stopping is necessary to capture the details of a place. I’ve noticed that rushing past an area seems to prevent you from even catching sight of a corpse lying in the hallway, for example. Thankfully, events will stop you in your tracks so there will be no accidental deaths that way.

 

The game also advocates an interesting “search as much, but as little as possible” attitude that originates from the fact that as you discover more about the horrifying building you’re trapped in, your Darkening meter (shaped like the Sachiko paper charm) slowly fills. At 20%, red starts creeping into your vision, and it only gets thicker as you start reaching 50%…

 

The game is still divided into chapters, each with their own set of Bad Endings. However, the chapters aren’t connected. Instead, they are more like a series of short stories expanding upon the Corpse Party universe, either following from one specific ending in the previous game, expanding upon existing events, or acting as prequels for some of the side characters who appeared in Corpse Party like Sayaka (Naho’s best friend) and Touko (one of Byakudan’s students, where Yuuya Kizami also attends).

 

Because of the format of Book of Shadows, some aspects are certainly different than in Corpse Party.

 

For example, since you don’t actually walk through the halls yourself, you can just avoid observing the ghost boy in the corner instead of actively having to dodge around him to avoid a Bad Ending. Despite this difference, the art, music, and excellent (and detailed) writing weave together an atmosphere that’s just as unsettling as in Corpse Party. Sometimes there are timed events that force you to make a choice quickly, and Book of Shadows is not without its sudden scare moments. And then, of course, there are the characters, whom I cared about no matter the format.

 

And if you cared about the cast in Corpse Party, you’re bound to care more (or dislike them more) in its sequel because this time we see many events fleshed out and from different point of views. We also delve further into their thoughts than in the first game, and so we have a stronger and clearer grasp of who the characters are—even some of the more undeveloped ones like Mayu, Seiko, and Yui as well as students outside of the Kisaragi Academy—and their relationship with others in the cast.

 

For example, my favorite chapter is Chapter 3 because it is one of the more lighthearted moments and because it showed us more about Yui, past and present, and features Yoshie, one of the more horrifying ghosts present in the Corpse Party universe. I especially loved the small moment at the end that made me go “Oh, so that’s why she was there!” In Chapter 2, you play as Mayu and gain much more insight into her personality, and in Chapter 4, you are introduced to Sayaka, Naho’s best friend, before she is also dragged into Heavenly Host.

 

Book of Shadows also comes with many extras. There’s the usual CG gallery and audio gallery, although you’ll have to unlock both by finding them in the game. The Unlock Status option in the Bonus menu allows you to see your progress in that. There is also another option—EVP Machine—that seems to allow you to “listen to and create conversations using any of the game’s binaural 3D voice files,” although I haven’t unlocked that yet. Finally, you can listen to cast commentaries that are also gradually unlocked as you complete the game.

 

If you also have Corpse Party data from the first game, you can view the game’s CG in Book of Shadows, which is very nice since Corpse Party itself doesn’t have a CG gallery. I believe all the CG are unlocked at once in Book of Shadows.

 

Food for Thought:

1. You can also collect name tags, like in Corpse Party, for completion’s sake.

 

2. Uploading the data from Corpse Party also allows you to automatically view the last Chapter. Otherwise, you’d need to view every Bad Ending in Book of Shadows to unlock this last Chapter, which contains hints of another sequel.

 


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  • shion16

    I bought the game but i havent played it yet
    Maybe its because i remember all the times i died in the first one and i dont wanna die again
    Im scared xD

  • fds_nextdart

    I have finished the first chapter (with all its respective endings) and I can say: Fate is a bitch. But other than that, it’s as amazing as ever. The sound is too damn good, the opening with Naomi’s mother talking to the therapist reminded me of AAA thriller movies and I can’t wait to play Morishigue’s chapter~.

    All in all, my only regret is that once I finish the game, it’ll probably be 3+ years before I get to play a localized sequel~.

  • AlteisenX

    I love the feeling of these type of “Different Fate” themes. Umineko no Naku Koroni, and Higurashi no Naku Koroni are excellent if you want to get into this type of “genre?”

  • Göran Isacson

    That particular ending (or maybe “beginning”) made me SO butthurt. I thought that Satoshi doing NOTHING to prevent the events after the groundhog loop taking him back in time was supremely silly and just made me roll my eyes.

    That aside, this looks pretty nifty, even if I’m a bit surprised they made such drastic alterations to gameplay. I suppose the final chapter is the only one that builds from the Best End in the original Corpse Party?

  • Detrimont

    and again, it wont come out where i live, because it’s digital only, and Xseed never release digital games on the NZ or Australian PSN

    • ali mohammed

      LOL , when I saw the article , I thought to myself : ” Now now , it’s the time for you to start playing digital games , there’s no other chance for you to get this game in a physical form ”

      Than , I noticed your comment XD , haha , I guess , since there’s more people like me , I’ll keep the habit X)

      • Detrimont

        i’ve wanted corpse party since it was announced, so i was going to get the digital release anyway, since that was the only way to get it, what i was saying was that the digital release wasnt released where i live, but now it seems it might.

    • wyrdwad

      I believe I’ve addressed this concern elsewhere, but I’ll address it here too:

      The first one would need to be released before Book of Shadows, as this is NOT a series to be played out of order.

      It’s only recently that it’s actually become POSSIBLE to release these
      games in Australia and New Zealand, however, since you guys didn’t have
      an R18 rating until this month, and Corpse Party would’ve never
      qualified for R15.

      But now that the R18 rating exists, it’s definitely something we can
      look into. Contrary to what a lot of Australian gamers seem to think,
      too, we HAVE been looking into releasing our back catalogue of games on
      the AUS/NZ PlayStation Store, and will continue to pursue that.
      Remember, though, we’ve never gotten a game rated using your system
      before, and we also have no contacts whatsoever with anyone at Sony down
      there, so this isn’t something we can do quickly or easily. There’s a
      lot of legal stuff to take care of, a lot of back-and-forth emailing,
      and a lot of confusion to work through. We’re less than a dozen strong
      here, after all, and we’ve only been releasing games outside North
      America for about 2 years. We’re still pretty new at this whole
      international thing!

      Sorry to keep you waiting, though, nonetheless. Be patient, and hopefully, good things will come.

      • http://tos.revasser.net/ Taylor

        > since you guys didn’t have an R18 rating until this month
        Wait, what? We’ve had an R18 rating for ages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NZ18.jpg
        Or are you referring to Australia, and we only ever get things if Australia gets them too. … sigh.

        • wyrdwad

          Yeah, that was specifically in regards to Australian PSN. It is easier to get a game rated in New Zealand, but it still requires an entirely separate rating that we have NO experience with, so it’s still taking a long time for us to get that taken care of.

      • Detrimont

        good, but NZ has always had R18
        also, how is nz’s raiting system different?

  • TatsuyaKyo

    …except for Satoshi, who shouts at them to stop. He yells about how it’s
    dangerous, how horrible things would happen, but who’s going to believe
    him?

    Eh, maybe he should’ve kissed Ayumi. It’s a temporary measure at best, but I reckon that would leave her dazed enough to render the charm unsuccessful.

    On a more serious note, the Darkening Meter is an interesting feature. It kinda reminds me of “Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem” where you had a sanity meter that had different effects as the meter goes down, like the illusion of your saves “disappearing”. God, I hated that.

    • revenent hell

      Any game that does that hates the gamer.
      Makeing ones saves appear to not be there thats just hatefull period…but so great on the other hand.

  • psycho_bandaid

    agh time for another bout of depression. at least they seem to have cut down a little on the “WTF am I supposed to do!?!?” moments of the first game. I might give it a whirl if the mood hits me.

    • Go2hell66

      no they haven’t, not really.
      i’ve gotten stuck at least 3-4 times, on the 1st game i only really got stuck right before the end

  • Go2hell66

    I’m on the final chapter, pretty much my only complaint about this game is that they censor the wrong endings waaaaaaaay too much, half the wrong endings are just blank screens with text descriptions and sound effects of how you died. i want to see the carnage :O, (sigh i guess most of them are way too violent to be shown on screen)

    and they need to have more cutscenes like the one right in the beginning where you have 5 seconds to find where the strange noises are coming from with the flash light.

    also more seiko and naomi fanservice cutscenes

    ok that was more than one…
    but the games is still freaking awesome

    • SirTeffy

      IIRC they didn’t “Censor” anything in the US version, it’s presented that way even in the Japanese version – the challenge comes from making it as horrifying as possible by forcing your mind to fill in the picture rather than SHOWING you the result and missing out on the potential horror.

      Asian horror tends to do that a lot, in fact, specifically not showing gore but rather telling the viewer or cutting away instead of showing a death.

      • Barrylocke89

        The fact that you usually hear the death scenes in all their agonizing glory makes the whole situation a little creepier to me. In a good way.

    • Barrylocke89

      Since you’re on the final chapter, can you answer something that’s been bothering me about the scenario (but still with as little spoilers as possible, since I haven’t actually picked this up yet).

      Does the game ever explain why Yuka’s still there? I know that Satoshi wasn’t able to stop the group from going to the school, but at the very least, he could have not forgotten his umbrella. In the original, that’s the only reason that Yuka goes to find Satoshi in the first place.

      • Go2hell66

        no they haven’t really explained anything yet but they might point something out in the final chapter, she has quite a lenghty chapter to herself though(the 2nd last one) and well… lets just just say the yuka fans won’t be too happy…

        o_o

        • Barrylocke89

          You mean she finally found a corner to use the bathroom in?

          (JK, I actually know how that particular chapter ends thanks to a fandub I saw part of online. Can’t stand her, but still…)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594742092 Robert M Fenner

        Remember the bad end of Corpse Party? When Satoshi wakes up at home, he believes he succeeded in escaping. He feels things are a bit off, but he doesn’t realize he’s been thrown back in time until he arrives at school and sees the ceremony taking place again.

        Also, it’s likely that his umbrella would be the furthest thing from his mind after the ordeal at Heavenly Host.

        Unless BoS adds depth/rectons this. I’ve only just started playing BoS so I’m not even an hour in.

      • fds_nextdart

        Satoshi doesn’t realize that he is caught in a time loop until it’s too late; as you may remember from that Wrong End, he’s not even sure of what is going on at first and thought the whole thing at Heavenly was just a nightmare~.

        It’s not until different episodes of deja vu at school assault him that he understands that everything is happening again. I’m not going to spoil anything for you but “Seal”, the first chapter of Book of Shadows explains the phenomenon and the mystery of a deja vu from Naomi’s perspective. I strongly recommend you get BoS as soon as you can because it’s just too damn good to pass on~.

    • PoweredByHentai
  • gamefreak86

    waiting on vita memory card from amazon and I’m grabbin both games.

    • fds_nextdart

      Hope it’s a big one, between the two you are looking at around 1.7GB ~ 1.8GBs. Totally worth it though~.

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