I was just remembering the last time I played Dead Space. You know, when I pointed a gun at a necromorph… and shot it! Man, that was some intense shit, dude. Did you know it’s better with Kinect? *ka-ching* Thanks EA. *sniffs money* What do you mean, I’m a little late for that joke? What joke? Am I missing something?
So yeah, horror games. Strange subject that is. Some build up the tension by having a creepy atmosphere, some surprise you with jump scares and others just freak you out with cruel footage. But they all have one thing in common: the mystery surrounding the game ceases a little after the first game, and you’re left with just mostly violence. Is that the case for Book of Shadows as well? Let’s look into it. And don’t worry, just like with the review about the first game, I won’t spoil anything.
I mean, you did read that review and then played the game, right? You better do it and return afterwards, or Nana’ll get mad. JonTron reference anyone? No? Okay…
Now what exactly is CP:BoS to begin with? Not really a sequel, it’s more like a collection of… “what if” situations, that give a lot more insight on plot holes and less important characters from Blood Covered. For example, a big part of the longest chapter is dedicated to the fate of Morishige, who wasn’t all that… present in the first game, while Mayu even has her own chapter while she was not progressing anywhere in the first game, y’know, more or less “hitting a wall” in her path as they say.
Due to that, the game is much more about the story rather than the exploration which becomes pretty clear as the cutscenes are very lengthy and the areas and puzzles are not as complicated as in the first game. In fact, it’s so easy I would consider Book of Shadows more a Visual Novel than a game, adding the fact that you can save at any point, even mid-dialog. This is, however, not bad by any means, I think it was a wise choice. After Blood Covered, another game based around exploration and investigation wouldn’t have been as immersive due to the fact that a lot of the mystery surrounding the game is gone after finishing the first one. So it’s kind of nice to be able to sit back and relax while all those gruesome events take place. Don’t worry, the atmosphere doesn’t get lost because of this, it’s still the perfect game to play in the dark with your headphones on. You will just find it less difficult and more cinematic, something that shouldn’t bother anyone because the writing is top-notch.
The writing is so good in fact, it’s really unsettling. And I think story-wise, this game is even more cruel than Blood Covered. If I were to describe the game in two words, it would be ‘false hope‘. And damn, this time, you can really see who the assholes in the story are, and why.
Now if you suddenly lost interest because it’s not exactly a sequel, but more of a… let’s call it… story-expansion, there is one chapter in the game that takes place right after the events of the first game, and it is referred to as the ‘prologue’-chapter. While this is the actual canon follow-up to Blood Covered as it seems, this chapter is not really all that helpful to say the least – I tell you this because I want to inform you as a consumer, I’m not going to spoil anything – as this chapter is actually a teaser for a possible sequel to come, a huge teaser in fact with a massive cliffhanger that will blow your mind.
That’s the basic substance of the game. The actual gameplay itself is not all that complicated. You basically go from room to room and inspect your surrounding from a first-person perspective. It reminded me a lot of a PC-game I played last year called Darkness Within, which had basically the same gameplay, just with more puzzles to solve.
In the end, what else can be said about this game? It’s really hard to review something like this, because it really comes down to personal taste. I might as well review Katawa Shoujo and say “yeah, that’s a mainstream game anyone would be able to play”, it would be just as specific. So in the end, there isn’t much I can say that I didn’t already say about the first game. If you liked that one, you’re welcome to consider, if a purchase of Book of Shadows is worth it judging from the things I said. If you haven’t played the first game, don’t play this one, it will only confuse you.
Personally, I really enjoyed it. Not so much as Blood Covered because the mystery surrounding the environment was already gone, but it was still both heartwarming and depressing, and that’s what I love Corpse Party for. Like I said in my other review: doesn’t matter if you’re a sadist or a masochist or none of them – you will have an exciting experience! Although, for my taste, there was a disturbing lack of Kokuhaku in this game. She was my favorite character in Blood Covered and now she’s just gone. Booooooring.
So that’s how it is. It’s solid story-telling, but don’t expect a challenge or a happy end. Unlike the first game, this one was just meant to torture you by heart, except for Ms. Yui’s chapter which was actually kind of sweet. You know what this means… I’m all depressed now and I think I will ask the ghost hanging from my ceiling if I can borrow his noose to hang myself.
Okay, nevermind. Actually, if the game didn’t have one, I will just give this review a happy ending! LET’S DANCE!!! Cheers!