A Return to Heavenly Host Elementary School, or “Corpse Party: Book Of Shadows” Coming to America This Winter, or NO YOU CAN’T MAKE ME PLAY IT PLEASE GOD NO!

Earlier in the year I made mention of a little PSP game called Corpse Party. The first link gives you the skinny on what I thought and what the game’s about, but the gist of things go like this:

Seriously, I have never played a game so relentlessly grueling. You think you’ve hit the worst of it, then it goes the extra mile just to prove you wrong. Every. Freaking. Time. This is a game with over forty endings and not a single one is happy.

Like I needed to see more of the Ghost Kids. Shiver.

My opinion hasn’t changed in the slightest. Corpse Party remains one of the best games I’ve ever encountered that I in no way shape or form want to play again.

However, I do want to play the sequel, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows.

No doubt because I’m a masochist. A masochist who doesn’t like himself very much. At all.

I followed out the terrible… excuse me, GREAT news from an article on the Playstation Blog. Here are a few highlights, with commentary from me to justify my existence:

It’s divided into eight chapters, each of which tells its own self-contained short story. Some of them help fill in the blanks of what happened during crucial off-camera scenes from the original game. Others go into the back-story of various characters, helping to flesh them out and make their roles in the series mythos a bit clearer. Still others ask “what if?,” presenting an alternate version of events from the first game in which characters who previously died are kept alive and given a fleeting chance to stay that way.

It’s that last bit that really interests me, as there were more than a couple of characters that died that I would have really, really liked a chance to save. One of the big pluses of the original Corpse Party is how good the character work is.

And the game’s wonderfully-titled final chapter, “Blood Drive,” serves as a true sequel, focusing on two of the first game’s survivors as they venture somewhere even deadlier than Heavenly Host Elementary School in order to dig up some answers.

I could help the kids out with the answers. Or, rather, the single answer: “YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW!”

Honest. The more answers I got in the original, the less happy I was. By which I mean not displeased, just squicked to the quick. To coin a phrase.

The whole game is presented in a first-person point-and-click adventure game style, and is much heavier on dialogue- and narrative-driven cutscenes than its predecessor (even venturing into visual novel territory at times). The spooky atmosphere is as thick as ever, though, and the gameplay is aided by fast-forward and message log features, as well as the ability to open the menu and save at absolutely any time (even during cutscenes).

The words “point-and-click” fill me with dread, and not the good kind. I remember a little Playstation game called Clock Tower that went that route, and while the story and other portions of it were… well… within reason, the interface held the game back for me. For a lot of people.

That all said, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is quite likely to be a Cullen Purchase once it comes out. So I hope all who read this takes a moment to pity me.

Seriously. If it’s anything like the last one, it’s going to be hell. But I think it’ll be worth it.


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