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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

For: PS Vita   Also on: PSP

Don't leave me hanging

Product: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows | Publisher: Xseed Games | Format: PS Vita | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: US
 
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows PS Vita, thumbnail 1
Terror, as defined by the dictionary, is a state of "intense, sharp, overmastering fear".

Terror as defined by Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is knowing that a horrific end is coming and being powerless to stop it.

This time around, the ill-fated group of friends from the original Corpse Party once again find themselves terrorised and trapped in the hellish halls of Heavenly Host Elementary School under the twisted machinations of Sachiko.

Will they all make it out alive? Not bloody likely. Will you enjoy watching their fates catch up with them? Absolutely.

Dead and gone

Book of Shadows picks up after the events of the original Corpse Party but features frequent flashbacks that help explain the events of the first game.

This creates a strange sense of unease, as the narrative jumps forward in time to follow a survivor (or victim) of the first game as they relive the events that brought them to their eventual fate. In between these periods of déjà vu, you'll play shorter character study chapters that flesh out the minor characters nicely.

The scares and gore are all top-notch this time around, and several of the "Wrong Ends" left me more than a little scared to venture out of bed in the middle of the night.

Fans who enjoyed the horror element of the first game will certainly relish the unsettling ends that await the cast of Book of Shadows.

Superb voice-acting helps bring this home, and despite the lack of an English voice-over (as was the case with the original), a scream or terrified gasp doesn't need to be translated in order to have the desired effect.

Dead again (and again)

The basic gameplay of Book of Shadows remains eerily similar to the original Corpse Party: you follow the various survivors around encapsulated chapters and ferret out the various Wrong Ends before you find the true ending.

In the course of this sleuthing, you'll wind your way through the ruined halls of Heavenly Host and avoid the various vengeful spirits and hammer-swinging ghouls that lurk there.

Despite the basic similarities, however, Book of Shadows offers tremendous gameplay enhancements over the original survival horror gorefest from Team GrisGris.



The most notable of these is the ability to fast-forward through dialogue by holding the R shoulder button, which makes replaying a chapter in search of a different ending an absolute breeze as there's no more repetitive dialogue to sit through.

Not that replaying should be issue, mind, as Book of Shadows is also far more generous with game saves: you're given a robust 64 save slots over the original game's five.

Additionally, much of the 16-bit sprite exploration has been removed from the game (although it still exists on the map), with that pixellated portions replaced by a point-and-click-style adventure game screen.

This can be a bit tricky to acclimatise yourself to if you've played through the original, but the visual payoff is well worth the effort.

Once the curtain falls on a given chapter you'll also unlock bonus interviews with the voice-actors, which provides a welcome bit of insight to the creative process behind the game. These may not be for everyone, but they're a nice inclusion all the same.

Sachiko Ever after

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is more than a simple sequel - it's what Corpse Party should have been from the very beginning.

At times, its narrative becomes a bit ham-fisted as it tries to ratchet up the pathos you'll feel for characters when they come to their eventual ends, but the overall story it tells is good, captivating, and most of all terrifying.

I don't know if I'll ever return to the halls of Heavenly Host with future instalments of this series, but I know I'll return to Book of Shadows whenever I need a good scare.
 
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 15 February 2013
Scary and modern in all the right ways, Book of Shadows preserves the feel of its predecessor while improving on its aged gameplay and graphics
 
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