Average User Score: 8.3Jan 24, 2013Ok, 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 feltOk, 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.… Expand