Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Review

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Review

XSEED Games' 2011 release of Corpse Party was a welcome surprise for most fans of JRPG games, as it combined an old-school Super NES-style art design with a disturbing and downright unsettling atmosphere. It permeated throughout the entire game as the group of children stuck in Heavenly Host Elementary tried to find their way out of its horrors. Needless to say, it struck a chord and for that reason the publisher decided to release the second game in the series, titled Book of Shadows.

Instead of taking the obvious direct sequel route, Book of Shadows is a mix of recapping the original game's events (with some differences) and some outright quirky side stories, capping off with some sequel-ish development near the end of the game. And to change things up even more, the developers went for a full-on visual novel approach instead of the top-down exploration of the original. So how does it all hold up, you might ask? That depends on what you're looking to get out of the game.

Book of Shadows opens up with the mother of Naomi, one of the survivors, trying to help her daughter who has become driven by rage. Namoi escaped from the events in Heavenly Host Elementary in the first game, but at the cost of anyone who perished in that alternate dimension being forgotten by everyone except the people who were there. One of her dear friends, Seiko, was one of those who perished and its tearing her apart mentally - she's at her breaking point.

The initial few chapters in Book of Shadows take place in an alternate timeline where the events of the first game have been turned back, allowing the player can relive the events before the horrors began. Similar to the first game, following a culture festival at school several students decide to partake in a charm ritual for a friend who's being transferred to a new school. Of course, nobody is aware of what will unfold except for one boy who those who played the original to the end will know full well. Without spoiling anything else, Book of Shadows is just as gripping as its predecessor, especially when the player has knowledge of the previous game's events.

Just like the original, Corpse Party's main highlights are its soundtrack and voice work. Unlike most other games, Book of Shadow's Japanese-only voiceovers were recorded "three-dimensionally", so those who play with headphones will feel like the voices are in the same room as you are. Complementing the voiceovers is an excellent soundtrack which is cheery at times, but also downright disturbing at others depending on what the situation calls for.


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