Feb 8, 201390A literary masterpiece that pushes the boundaries of video games being legitimate art with its suspenseful, thrilling, and unique narrative that takes the horror genre to a new level. It is a classic for those Halloween fright nights but just make sure to double check the doors are locked when you turn the lights out.
Ok, after reading a couple of disappointing reviews from critics who did not grasp what this game is about (I'm looking at you IGN), I felt compelled to write an honest review that really breaks down what this game is about.
This is a Japanese game developed by Team GrisGris/5bp. and the good guys at XSEED Games are the ones responsible for publishing and localizing this game here in North America, and I must say, they made an EXCELLENT job with the localization. Tom Lipschultz from XSEED Games was the man who almost single-handedly translated the whole thing from Japanese to English, and he really nailed it. It's very difficult to translate Japanese to English with all of its meaning, but in this game, you really don't feel like anything is missing in the dialogue from the original Japanese release, so a great, great applause to XSEED Games (Tom you're the man) for the flawless localization.
First things first before getting into the core review, this is a horror VISUAL NOVEL game, meaning there's only reading most of the time. Ok so with that said let's get into the review.
This game is a direct sequel to "Corpse Party: Blood Covered" (or just "Corpse Party" as it it's known here in NA), so it's strongly recommended that you play the first entry before playing Book of Shadows or you'll not know what's going on even before the main screen appears (there's a small introduction that continues one of the first game's endings). The game's story focuses on complementing as well as continuing different endings from the first game, and giving more screen time to characters that were overshadowed before, so you'll feel right at home with the scenario. The main story is divided in chapters that are each focused around different characters and their experiences on Heavenly Host, making each chapter unique and fresh. I really won't get into details regarding the story, but I can surely say this: You'll be hypnotized reading and reading and reading for hours.
The gameplay on this game is like this: You explore levels/rooms in a first person view mode, in which you move a cursor around to inspect points of interest, which then lead to the characters to activate the voiced dialogue and advance the story, think of it as the Zero Escape series but without a strong emphasis on puzzles and a more brutal story. There's also points where you need to make a decision (some of them have a countdown) that will greatly affect what kind of ending do you get, but worry not, you can save anytime at any point in the game, and to top it off, there's a "skip text" function, so you'll never worry having to read the same thing over and over, which is a wonderful addition from the previous entry.
The audio in this game is TERRIFIC, there's a really talented voice cast in this game. (If you watch anime you will probably recognize a voice or two). The voice actors really convey exactly what they're going through in this game, making the characters really feel alive. But it's not only the voice actors that shine on this game, it's also the ATMOSPHERIC sound quality, which is one of the things this game emphasises on. You'll hear everything that's going on in the haunted place known as Heavenly Host, from sadistic children laughs, the ceiling creaking, footsteps, and all those sounds that put your ear on edge, so, playing with a good pair of headphones will make the experience a real feast for your ears (in more ways than one). Take note that this game is fully voiced in Japanese, so for those of you that like to hear how the characters sound in English, or dislike the language, sorry, but you'll have to stick to reading.
Also this game offers certain bonuses for clearing/progressing in the game, like: CG Galleries, Audio/Sound gallery and some special words from the Japanese Voice Actors (fully translated of course). If you played the first game and you have the save file on the Vita/PSP you're playing on, the game will recognize the save file and add special bonuses, even more the reason to play the first entry before giving this one a try.
With all that said, there is of course, a certain audience that will fully enjoy what this title has to offer, and some others will probably enjoy it but not how it's supposed to be. If you're easily offended by anime style gore and sometimes meticulously detailed brutal scenes, then you will be thrown back and probably never return. But if you like reading a very good story, with good characters, and enjoy a very unexpected and nicely crafted scenario with an overall superb sound, then you'll definitely enjoy this offering from Team GrisGris and 5bp.… Full Review »
Was there any mistake when it came to marketing? This is not Corpse Party 2. This entry is for the Hardcore Corpse Party fans playing through the first game over and over again. It's a Visual Novel with point and click parts, many hard decisions to make and various endings. So, if you're not familiar with the story of Corpse Party, even some parts are a retelling of the original story, you will be hopefully lost in Book of Shadows like it's protagonists.
The writing is well written (what's wrong IGN?) and the voice acting is awesome. Of course, Book of Shadows features, like the first game, only japanese voice acting.
There isn't much to say. If you're fascinated by Corpse Party, dive deeper into the world of hell. A great soundtrack combined with really strange images will make you shiver more than one time. Experience the 7 short stories taking place in an alternate Universe or conclude arcs from the first game.
So, grab you PSP or Vita (you can even import your save game from the first game and receive a few goodies) and enjoy one of 2013 probably most underrated games. But remember: This is a Visual Novel. So don't blame the game if you was not informed good enough. Oh, and again, you have to play the first part to understand Book of Shadows.… Full Review »
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is not quite as good as the first game, but it is a solid entry in the series which wraps up the plot of the first game. The story is interesting, even if it does omit crucial plot details, more or less blatantly assuming the player has played Corpse Party. The worst thing I can say about it, is that it clarifies ambiguities the player may wish had not been clarified. Book of Shadows is far, far bleaker than Corpse Party. After a shocking twist ending, the the game points forward to a sequel titled "Blood Drive" which will hopefully bring closure, and perhaps a brighter conclusion to the nightmare.… Full Review »