It’s been a while since the release of a PlayStation Portable title, but alas we see the release of the latest in popular Japanese anime series Corpse Party titled Book of Shadows brought to us by XSEED Games, and 5pb via PlayStation Network.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows puts a horror story into cartoon anime form which works in some ways but falls short in others. Best viewed on the PlayStation Vita, Book of Shadows is essentially a partially interactive comic book laden with still images, sound effects and lots and lots of reading with a teeny bit of gameplay thrown in.
The story is quite unusual yet relatively deep and told through eight unlockable chapters from the perspective of different characters. You begin the game as Naomi, who, after a rather weird sexual encounter at the beginning with her friend Mayu, performs a magical ritual which warps Naomi to a dark and dank abandoned Heavenly host Elementary School in a parallel dimension full of strange happenings and eerie goings on and every character you play as, wants out. Each character in each chapter has their own reasons for wanting out and each has different encounters and discoveries moving both backwards and forwards in time chronologically. Book Of Shadows starts as an innocent tale of two school girls exploring their sexuality however it soon spirals into an all-out horror story with scenes that may make your hair stand on end……..well not exactly but it tries.
The gameplay is disappointingly sparse sometimes making me wonder what the point in it was as it felt very tacked on to make Book of Shadows qualify for a video game. The gameplay consists of choice of direction in the story and controlling an on screen cursor that allows your character to search rooms and navigate around the school and when something is found or you move into a different room, it just triggers another scene to allow the story to progress. From the beginning it took a loooooong time until the gameplay actually kicked in, to be frank, it bored me to tears but then again I don’t like reading however avid readers and players who don’t mind the Japanese voice overs will find themselves right at home. Believe it or not your characters can die however dying just takes you onto a different path in your progress which made me want to try different actions and paths, luckily you can save anywhere at any time so I could experiment freely.
Book of Shadows looks just as a Japanese anime cartoon should with the over exaggerated characters, blood spatters and over the top squeals and screams of the games dialogue but it all added to the tension and feeling of the story. There’s a diverse cast of characters present ranging from cute and innocent seeming school kids to twisted maniacs and ghosts with blood and guts filling the corridors. It enhanced the feel of the horror story however without much movement of the visuals, I often found myself reading the dialogue missing most of the still images. The feel was also enhanced by the sound which added the tension during later chapters and made things more gripping and exciting……but then you have to read again, it would have been a whole lot better if the voices were English in my opinion as the Japanese voices get irritating fast causing me to turn down my Vita which is a shame considering the superbly haunting soundtrack.
Corpse Party: Book Of Shadows is onefor the readers with long spurts of dialogue accompanied by still images with very little pointless gameplay elements thrown in. This horror story didn’t provide any jumps or scares however look a bit deeper past the irritating Japanese voices and you will eventually find the eerie feel of a top notch horror anime flick. Not really worth its price tag but for something a bit different from your Call of Duties and Assassins Creeds, it’s not actually that bad.
Corpse party : Book of shadows
Publisher: XSeed Games
Release Date: 24th January 2013
Story – 3/5
Gameplay – 1/5
Graphics – 2.5/5
Overall – 2.5/5