In case you thought the ’90s motion flick Face/Off had an identification disaster, wait till you meet Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive. Half visible novel, half survival horror, Blood Drive is the third sport within the Corpse Occasion collection and options the surviving forged of the prior two video games. Whereas the unique Corpse Occasion – initially launched in 1996 and rereleased for different platforms (together with 3DS) in a while – is one thing of a cult basic, the collection by no means actually took off within the West and has a comparatively small however loyal viewers.
Along with its relative obscurity, the sport fashion that the Corpse Occasion titles make use of has additionally morphed over time; the unique sport kicked issues off with a top-down view and its sequel makes use of a full visible novel fashion. Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive, the ultimate entry within the Heavenly Host Elementary College saga, makes use of a mix of survival horror exploration and visible novel, although you’ll not be pressed to do a lot exploring in any respect within the sport’s opening hours.
As a substitute, you’ll kick off Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive wading your means via hours of voiced visible novel scenes, with slight pepperings of exploring for small intervals of time as you start the story in earnest. Whereas this would possibly work for individuals who have already been invested within the Corpse Occasion collection, the sport is actually not welcoming to those that have but to undergo the preliminary video games within the franchise – which is one thing to contemplate in case you had been simply looking the eShop in search of one thing to play.
Nonetheless, there’s a novel really feel to the kind of plot and survival horror that Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive employs; it’s a mix of grotesque, supernatural components, with that distinctive creepy lick of the obscure that makes it so distinctly J-Horror, and makes all the temper and tone of the sport really feel extremely distinctive – one thing that you simply don’t usually see in lots of western horror video games. This additionally interprets over to among the character improvement seen all through the sport, and we see characters like Ayumi get pleasure from shining character moments that make Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive stand out.
Whereas it’s not probably the most tactful sport on the planet with regards to matters like self-harm, Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive isn’t serving to painting these matters in a critical gentle, and the intent is as an alternative to serve up a dose of shock and the grotesque. Is it the appropriate technique to painting one thing that impacts tens of millions of individuals? Most likely not. Does Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive nonetheless get the meant impact on the viewers? Completely. As unusual because it sounds, it is part of what makes the J-Horror style so memorable; the audacity to shock an viewers by subverting expectations is one thing that made items of media like Yume Nikki or Suicide Membership so impactful.
For all that Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive does proper with regards to characters, drama and capturing the temper of its style, it falters on very fundamental ranges with regards to the exploration facet of the gameplay. The sport will introduce you to the realm to discover with a rudimentary problem; this will vary from discovering objects to hiding from spectres.
The gameplay by no means actually finds its ft, and by no means provides a satisfying loop as you’re virtually all the time given some type of whiplash, be it from the sport instantly switching again to a visible novel format or a rendered 3D scene exhibiting horrific occasions unfolding in entrance of you within the type of a cute 3D anime characters vaguely doing one thing which may look just a little bit terrifying in case you squint just a little bit. The environments look flat, and the characters could be tough to distinguish every so often. The low-poly fashions imply that you simply’re usually left wanting a bit extra from the sport when it comes to presentation, because it simply sits at odds with the fashion and tone that the remainder of the sport presents.
It could have been implausible to see Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive capitalise on its sturdy character improvement and writing chops with a robust gameplay loop supporting it, however what you’re finally left with is a sport that feels prefer it’s attempting to spin too many plates directly. Had it been a straight-up visible novel fashion outing, it might have ended up feeling barely extra constant.
Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive is the very definition of a combined bag. Its 3D exploration features by no means fairly work and simply while you’re lastly capable of settle into enjoying the sport, it instantly switches again over to a different visible novel stretch. Mixed with poor pacing within the sport’s early hours and a scarcity of any choices to assist clarify the occasions of the prior video games to new gamers, it appears like Corpse Occasion: Blood Drive struggles to resolve what it needs to be, and regardless of the occasional present of power in its writing and characterisation, it finally leads to a irritating, inconsistent expertise.