Corpse Party has seen its fair share of releases throughout the years. It is a very deceptive game with its 2D pixel sprite art. I originally played Corpse Party on the PSP about two to three years ago and I remember loving every minute of it. Thankfully, the game still holds up in 2016. Corpse Party is a top down adventure game with a mix of visual novel and survival aspects thrown in. Don’t go into this game expecting to play a game full of adventure of survival though, this is all about the story and as a result it makes the game one you shouldn’t miss. It is harder to recommend if you have already made the journey into this series before, but a great entry into the series regardless.
Corpse Party is available on the 3DS for $29.99.
Corpse Party is less of a game and more of an interactive visual novel. You will take control of multiple characters throughout the game, each one plays similar, but you control them in different parts the school that the game takes place. For a horror game there is very little that you, the player, really gets to interact with that will change the outcome of the game. This is not Five Nights at Freddy’s or even Outlast, in this game it is all of the subtle things you do that change up the game. If you interact with a certain piece of paper, it has the possibility to change the entire story of the game, every option, and every decision that you make can change up the entirety of the experience.
This is a huge positive and I would say that this game is best played in bite size chunks. Every chapter is about an hour or so long, and unless you are in the mood for a reading marathon you will want to take it a bit slower. This is where the gameplay is at its weakest however, in the game variety. The variety is almost non-existent. There will be moments when you are trying to outrun certain enemies and escape from a room, or even trying to figure out a certain puzzle, but most of these puzzles and situations are spelled out for in the beginning and will not challenge you much. However, when one does show up that threatens or challenges you, the challenge will be greatly appreciated. Some puzzles have you searching throughout the entirety of the school looking for little bits of story, in the form of notes, or finding certain items and just overall exploration of the school.
The gameplay is where things will really start to fall apart for many gamers and this is why I call this game somewhat niche. I love visual novels, but it’s not for everyone. If you aren’t a fan of reading a lot of text, avoid this game, because you will be reading…A lot.
The storytelling in Corpse Party is perfect. This is anime meets game in a perfect sense. This is one video game that honestly deserves its own anime. The game was created in RPG maker back in 1996 and since then has become something of a cultural phenomenon. It has become such a widely accepted hit mostly because of the story that is personal and endearing. If you watch shows like The Walking Dead, this is a story that should interest you. The story is not based off of pure horror aspects, even though there are some, or is about you just searching the school to find out what happened there, but you will discover those secrets as you play the game.
The games premise is one of simplicity, the characters themselves and who they are in this world. You play as multiple characters in the game and then there are even side stories “extra chapters” where even more characters are playable and whose backstories are explained. Each individual character has wants and needs that drive them in their personal lives. One character has a little sister who he cares for and watches out for in the mysterious school, another has a crush on another character, and one character is even a simple teacher who is willing to sacrifice her life for her students. Every characters backstory and story in the school is personal and brings you closer to them as a result. You want to know them even better by the end of the game and their time in the game itself.
I won’t spoil any of the individual stories here, but it really is one of the best personal stories you can experience. The story is not only character based but it is also told in the school itself. You discover early on that one of the students is leaving for another school, so your group decides to have a type of party after school. As the party ends someone has the brilliant idea of performing a ritual so that you can all be tied together for eternity, because nothing bad has ever happened performing a ritual at school. You all complete the ritual and an earthquake appears out of nowhere causing all the students to fall through the floor. When everyone awakes they are in this new school and they all awaken in different place, but with some paired up with other students.
The story starts with everyone trying to find where each other individual is, but it starts to change almost immediately into a story of horror and personal introspection. You won’t believe half of the things these students have to go through and the decisions that they will be forced to make. For a story made in 1996 it is just as good today as it was back then, it may be familiar to some long term fans of the genre, but it is still told wonderfully and makes you sit back and think.
2D sprites and pixel art make absolutely beautiful worlds. Think of Add to dictionary Symphony of the Night, a game that still holds up today, that is the type of graphical fidelity that Corpse Party has. Every character has a unique pixel art appearance, even if two of them where the same outfit and look similar, there is a difference in their character models. These characters really come to life with this style of presentation and it really does lend itself well to the horror genre, even if you think that it would take away from that horror aspect. You see horror does not have to be 100% visual, horror can come through in a variety of ways, and Corpse Party proves this time and time again.
That’s not to say that it isn’t visually impressive or that the horror does not come through with the graphics itself. The pixel art blood and gore really does come through, with examples like blood spilling onto the floor from a knife stuck in a students gut, it looks and feels terrifying, especially when you weren’t expecting it. Every feeling and emotion comes through the simplistic art style. From characters that are barfing up what looks like a mangled mess of bloody guts, to gore that is lying against a wall in the world. It all just looks and makes for a great experience of a horror game. The pixel art is also backed up by some of the in game stills. These still gives some of the items you see context, such as what the wall of gore actually looks like, or a door that is held together by hair. All of these little details add to the overall sense of horror present in the game. It may not be graphically “impressive” in 2016, but it still holds up and gets its sense of horror across.
The place where this horror really comes through however is in sound design. The soundtrack is redone from the original and PSP release, but it still works the same overall. The sound design is a mixture of melancholy and mystery. No sounds will jump out at you, but the horror aspect will start to kick in once a character screams, that sound design shines brighter than most. Sounds will fit every situation such as characters screaming, shelves falling over, or even an individual killing another, these all lend to the great sound design. The soundtrack backs all of this up and makes you feel like you are truly in a horror movie at times.
In the end the presentation will sell you on the overall experience. From a school that is completely dilapidated and destroyed, to rain dripping in the background. Every scene and every moment will feel natural and bring you closer into this world. If you decide to play this game, be prepared to be drawn into a horror filled world where these kids’ emotions and lives are your playthings.
Corpse Party is a hard game to classify as “fun” since there is very little that you get to do in the game itself. It really is just a great excuse to play a great horror story in the gaming medium, and that’s okay. You will not be upset if you buy this because it really does have a great story, but it is at the expense of a lot of interactive gameplay. You do get to search this school, but expect to be stopped every minute or so for character development to occur. Now this is a rerelease of the original so how does it hold up? Pretty well overall, it is the same game that I remember from years ago, but there are more chapters in this release. These chapters fill in some of the story gaps and where certain characters were at certain times. If this is your second or third time playing through this game though, I can’t recommend it, it really doesn’t add that much.
Corpse Party came out a long time ago and the differences in this version are very few and not enough to warrant another $30 purchase. Especially when you get the PSP version on sale for around $5, it’s not a bad re-release just nothing was really added to justify the price point. The biggest downfall is in the way of no 3D support. There is one or two 3D aspects in the game, such as the main title screen, but in the base game and entirety of the extra content it is non-existent. There is a little bit of an upres, so it does look just a little bit prettier.
Corpse Party is a great game, one that you should play, but I’m not sure if the 3DS version should be the way to go, especially if you own a PC or a PSP. If you have played this game before, the rerelease is really not for you either. The story is fantastic however and will keep you interested in the game the entire time, but it is definitely meant to be taken in bite size chunks. A 12-15 hour experience that will make you want to keep coming back for more and discovering the multiple endings, Corpse Party is a game that you should experience, period.
|+ Great Story||– Very little gameplay|
|+ Sound Design||– No native 3D|
|+ Presentation and Graphics are fantastic||– Re-released with very little to no content|
|+ Genuine Horror|
|+ Upscaled graphics|