Before I begin, do note that this is the first in my newly-revamped ACTUAL Impressions series. In short, they are smaller-form posts/videos of games that are either unreleased (such as Early Access titles) or games that I simply did not want to do a full review of. I encourage you to check out my “about my reviews” page if you want to know more.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is the first of several Corpse Party titles from XSEED coming over to PC. Unfortunately, while the porting job may have been well-done, the game really pales in comparison to its predecessor, especially when it comes to its gameplay elements.
Before I get into that though, I should mention that XSEED has yet again done an excellent job with the PC port. I did not run into any technical issues during my time with Book of Shadows and had a pretty smooth experience overall. What is even more impressive is that the game did not even look that bad at 1080p, a surprise coming from what was originally a PSP game. Even with the game’s art blown up and zoomed in on, it still managed to look pretty smooth, with very little blurriness or jagged edges. XSEED is once again proving that they are one of the best English localization companies on the platform.
However, even a good port cannot save this Corpse Party sequel. Whereas the first game cleverly blended exploration-style gameplay with its visual novel side, Book of Shadows instead opts for point-and-click gameplay on top of its visual novel elements. I say “on top of” because this game is much more visual novel-oriented than the first, with the gameplay taking a backseat to the story this time around. This would not be so much a problem if the story itself at least somewhat matched the quality of the first game, but it simply does not do so. All of the game’s chapters are described as being a “sequel, prequel, midquel, or alternate universe tale”, so essentially a bundle of unrelated stories released under the Corpse Party name. The chapters I played just felt like unnecessary additions to the universe, adding nothing of value to an already great storyline.
As for the gameplay, Book of Shadows really took a step down in that department, so much so that it felt like an afterthought to the story. If the first game could be described as a 60-40 split between story and gameplay, the second would be somewhere around 80-20. The point-and-click elements just feel shallow as a result, making for some rather dull exploration and boring puzzle design. It largely boiled down to me wandering around, inspecting objects that came up, and hoping that doing so would not result in a bad end. Sure, the first game had a somewhat similar formula, but at least there I had full range of movement, rather than being limited to just one picture that I can scroll across.
As such, I cannot recommend Corpse Party: Book of Shadows. The port may be great, but the story and gameplay elements simply do not measure up. Compared to the first, it is such a drop in quality that it simply is not worth the time. Even when not comparing, I would say the game still does not hold up, but given that this is an extension of the first game, the comparison is inevitable. I can see die hard fans enjoying the additional stories, but if you are on the fence, definitely give this one a pass.
You can buy Corpse Party: Book of Shadows on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.