Corpse Party (PSN)

By Moe Rantala

Published on Saturday, January 7, 2012

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 9.00
Gamelength: 10.00

An absolutely amazing murder mystery takes place in the ghostly ruins of an earthquake destroyed school somewhere in Japan.

Corpse Party is a murder mystery/adventure game, in which you take on the roles of students from a Japanese high school when something goes terribly wrong during their “we’ll be friends forever” celebration. From there it becomes a complete psychological destruction of their minds as they are trapped in a completely devastated school that looks much like their own, only much older, with corpses, fresh and old, all around them.

From there, it’s all about trying to find each other, trying to stay alive, and trying to return to their families, all while trying to figure out what has happened and where they are. The way the story unravels is completely amazing, and there are a lot of really tense moments, even though the graphics are very simple. The way the game is presented is absolutely outstanding, there isn’t anything complicated except some of the puzzles you have to figure out. The presentation itself is smooth and delivered in such a manner that a lot of the events that occur actually become more tense just by having such a simple set of graphics. It’s extremely vibrant in certain things, such as the spirits you encounter, but the school itself is dull and run down. It’s this kind of contrast that really makes the game shine.

Every bit of dialogue is voice acted, with the only language available Japanese (with English text, in this version), and it’s really annoying that there are times you can’t skip certain segments, in which you are forced to hear people screaming. It isn’t a huge deal but after a few hours of straight play, the high pitched forlorn screams of teenage Japanese girls can be incredibly irritating. The music is absolutely incredible. It’s a big reason why the game is as tense and as eerie as it is, and it can change at the drop of a hat as things begin to happen to the characters. It all works together amazingly well to the point where the characters’ voices, the music, and all the environment sound effects (thunder, creaking boards, etc), all seem to feed off of each other and just get even more disturbing.

The gameplay is extremely simple and there is literally nothing complicated about this game except some of the puzzles. You move with the d-pad, progress text with X, very standard fare. The thing is, the game is set up to the point where you can literally miss one thing in the beginning of a chapter, and at the very end die because you didn’t get something or do something the right way. There are multiple endings for each chapter but only one good ending. The game is so simple that you don’t even need to go to the item screen to use items, you get prompted when you want/need to use or give an item, so you can play through the entire thing without ever pausing if you wanted to.

The story itself is really well done. There are twists and turns along the way and the game is played in such a way as things that seem to have happened in the beginning of the game with no explanation (such as a massive blood splatter on a wall and floor in a hallway) are explained in due time. The game does an amazing job of showing how the characters’ minds get twisted and warped from being where they are, and there are legitimately moments in the game that can make you uneasy.

There are only 5 main chapters, but there are 10 bonus chapters which tell all sorts of stories of others that are also trapped there, so there is a huge amount of replay value. Overall this game is pretty awesome but it definitely isn’t for everyone. Younger people should stay away from this because there are some extremely messed up scenes with people dying violently and graphically, so you definitely (probably?) don’t want your kids playing it. If you love murder mysteries and love adventure/puzzle games you should absolutely buy this. You won’t be let down.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by XSEED Games

Overall Rating: 9.00

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