Corpse Party is easily one of my favorite horror games with its jump scares, ambient background noises, and chilling story. The story follows a group of students who are spirited away into another dimension and trapped in a haunted school filled with hate, agony, despair, and murder. Corpse Party plays as a survival horror action game mixed in with visual novel elements. You follow multiple characters as they try to survive the horrors of Heavenly Host Elementary School. There are four installments to the Corpse Party series, Corpse Party: Blood Covered (PSP), Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (PSP), and Corpse Party: Blood Drive (PS Vita/Nintendo Switch), and a last installment, Corpse Party: Dead Patient (PC) which released in October 2019. Having already played all of the previous titles, I was stoked to jump back into Corpse Party: Blood Drive on my Nintendo Switch.
Blood Drive takes place a few weeks after the events of Book of Shadows where Ayumi and her friends believe they have destroyed Heavenly Host and Sachiko’s curse. They discover that not only does Heavenly Host still exist, the curse of Heavenly Host is spreading into the real world and has become more malevolent than ever. Tricked into thinking the Book of Shadows can revive her dead friends, Ayumi goes back into Heavenly Host to retrieve the Book of Shadows and, once again, try to destroy Heavenly Host for good.
I highly recommend playing Blood Covered and Book of Shadows before playing Blood Drive, or, at least reading the story/watching a walk through beforehand. The events in Blood Drive constantly refer to the events of Book of Shadows so you might feel a bit lost without the prior knowledge. If you opt to skip out on the former games, Corpse Party: Blood Drive does an OK good job or reiterating the previous story to you, but it might be difficult to follow on its own.
If you’re new to the series, game play is very straightforward but does not hold your hand past earlier tutorials. You have no map. You pretty much wander around the school until you hit the right point for a cut scene or obtain the correct item. It is important to read the dialogue because that is the only way you’ll find clues to the next location or object you will need to obtain. Picking up from visual novel aspects, your interactions also determine the fate of your character. Talking to the wrong spirit or picking the wrong action can lead you to a bad ending. Choices must also be made on the fly as you only have seconds to decide your next course of action. Failure to make a decision in time will result in the automatic selection of the bad choice and ultimately the “Wrong End”.
Heavenly Host itself is also a complete danger zone. If you’ve played the previous titles and missed out on Blood Drive, the school no longer simply poses obstructions and ghosts to stop you from proceeding. You can’t run haphazardly through the hallways because there are shards of glass, piled of debris, holes, and living flesh organisms that inflict damage to your character. Running is also limited. Running too much can cause your character to run out of breath and stop completely to catch it –which is terrible when you’re running away from something. My major upset about the game is not only the missing map feature, but the inability to control the camera. There are many scenarios where I’ll lose my character behind a wall or struggle to see the obstacles in my way.
The game doesn’t hold back on the horror either. Frequently, you’ll find yourself afraid to go into classrooms or walk down certain corridors because of a lurking entity. If you happen to run into a bad situation, getting a “Wrong End” will never be a pleasant experience. The writers did a wonderful job describing and depicting the torture and gore your character would suffer at the hands of an unforgiving ghost. Not only that, but Corpse Party offered a lot of jump scares. Yes, they were cheesy, but when the face appears in the hole you are looking through you can’t help feeling a shudder.
Blood Drive isn’t played as a continuous story, either. You go through Chapters, each chapter containing one part of the story. You can re-visit the chapters through the home screen. This is a nice touch, in case you want to go back and find anything you may have missed.
Blood Drive on the Nintendo Switch looks fantastic! The animation looks great on the Switch and the character models are much cleaner. With cleaner graphics, it makes the obstacles of Heavenly Host a bit more difficult to avoid because they don’t stick out as much as they did in the Vita version. Otherwise, the port to the Switch is absolutely stunning!
One thing I never really liked about Corpse Party games is the audio. At times you can sense the director was trying to inject a sense of distance between characters based on sounds (i.e. voices coming from the distance), but this doesn’t work very well with the way the graphics are presented. There’s a contradiction between the characters on screen and where the voices come from. Some instances, the characters will be standing next to each other on screen, but their voices will indicate one is nearby and the other is across the room. It’s a weird quirk in the series, but I think it’s something that would have worked best if it was an audio-only telling.
Pros: The port over the Nintendo Switch is absolutely stunning! If you haven’t played the title on the Vita, it is absolutely worth picking up on the Switch.
Blood Drive isn’t my favorite entry in the series (you can read my original review to get my thoughts) but it does come with a lot of jump scares and horrific scenarios.
Cons: There was no fix to the audio and camera angles can irk your nerves while playing.
I would give the Switch version an 8 out of 10.
Have you played any Corpse Party titles? Is this something you would pick up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!