Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Corpse Party: Blood Drive
It has taken Australia a long time to officially receive a Corpse Party title – while Europe and the US have both received multiple localisations over the past decade, the 3rd title in the main series, Blood Drive, has recently surfaced on the PSN courtesy of Marvelous Europe.
The Corpse Party series tells the story of Heavenly Host Elementary School, torn down after becoming the site of a brutal massacre and Kisaragi Academy, the new high school built on the site which experiences echoes of this past tragedy. Blood Drive is a hard sell to newcomers – much of the game is built on the player having completed the previous two titles in order to make sense of the story. The alternative is diving through encyclopaedia style articles featured in the main menu, which in an already text-heavy story isn’t the most compelling offer, especially as many of these only unlock after significant events have taken place meaning that I always felt like I was late to the party, storywise.
With a top down perspective and limited environmental interaction options, Corpse Party plays like a more involved visual novel a la Danganronpa, and should appeal to players of that series. Shifting between lengthy story sequences and interactive sections that involve traversing through the now decrepit and thoroughly haunted Heavenly Host Elemetary School, Blood Drive is replete with environmental hazards, gruesome corpses and menacing spirits. I don’t feel that Corpse Party lends itself to short bursts of play, given that save points in extended story sections are non-existent, while they can be more readily accessed in playable areas provided the player has taken the time to memorise the layout of Heavenly Host – Blood Drive offers no in-game map system and a lot of time and effort can be wasted backtracking if attention is not paid to this aspect of the game.
Much is made of the level of violence found in the series, however while it can be macabre at times I felt it on par with death sequences found in the Tomb Raider reboot, albeit with an anime aesthetic and oodles of blood. The biggest disappointment in my eyes is the lack of availability of the previous titles in the series for potential Australian purchasers – as a visual novel, story is of utmost importance as players bond with characters over a protracted period, especially by the time they have reached the third instalment in a series. Blood Drive drops new players into the deep end storywise and doesn’t do enough to acclimatise them, rushing headlong through a narrative that relies far too much on prior knowledge, with encyclopaedia entries a poor consolation.
Until Marvelous Europe decide to release the previous entries on the AU PSN, my advice is to pick up the previous entries in the series using a US PSN account and play through those first – of course, still vote with your wallet and purchase Blood Drive locally to show Marvelous Europe there is a market for this content.
Stephen del Prado