Where To Get It: Steam
Content Warning: There’s a fair bit of gore here, and one of the zombies is a small child (pictured in review.) No jumpscares that I noticed in this particular episode, although that may change in the future.
It’s not often I end up reviewing something episodic. Not least because, then as now, episodic games may or may not finish simply due to not selling well enough. Still… Corpse Party 2 progresses the story of the curse that once surrounded Heavenly Host, which now… Has spread. Enter Ayame Itou, our amnesiac protagonist who wakes up in a hospital with a similarly christian themed name (Amare Patriarche Crucis), and finds it… Mostly abandoned. You know, except for ghosts, zombies (technically ghosts), monsters (also technically ghosts), and a hospital… Paramilitary?
Needless to say, things seem to have become kind of fucky all over the world, as the game seems to have been setting up that, despite Ayumi Shinozaki’s courageous sacrifice in Blood Drive (also reviewed this month), the power of the Book of Shadows appears to have spread into the world, and the boundaries between the world of the dead and the word of the living are paper thin, at best. And breached, in Amare Patriarche Crucis Hospital.
Like Blood Drive, Dead Patient gets back to the RPG Maker style roots, with a PSP visual flair to it (both games released on the PSP originally), with visual novel style insets and character portraits for conversations (Well, with people who haven’t succumbed to The Darkening, the phenomenon by which the death energies overwhelm a person’s sanity and, eventually, body, anyway), you wander around the world, trying to solve puzzles as you go.
So, now is the time to mention that whole “Chapter 1” thing. Because yes, like the original Corpse Party, before its two remasters, it’s an episodic deal, and this… Is the only episode so far. It was originally released in 2017 in Japan, and, two years and some change later, has hit Steam. So, while I can talk about this episode, I can also say that I’m not actually certain there will be another. It never is, in this industry. Anyway… Puzzles, and encounters, and aesthetics.
The puzzles are, for the most part, simple affairs, with the exception of the Locker Puzzle early on, where you’re effectively trying to work out where the cabinets of a certain letter are, then, due to a lack of nametags, trying the segment of lockers you think is the right one until you get the right locker. Key in a vending machine for some reason? Well, obviously, we need to find a coin to buy the key, which gives us change, which… Due to Chekhov’s Gun, you just know the 10 yen coins are going to be used for something. Because you don’t carry items outside of this chapter.
As to enemies, well, they come, outside of a unique encounter or two, in three flavours: Zombies (slow, easy to outrun and outwit, to the point where you can enter a locker in front of a zombie, who will shake it, shake it some more, and lose interest), the hospital’s weird paramilitary with batons (They’re faster, and have more reach), and, finally, the paramilitary folks with tear gas canisters they’re firing directly at you. The unique encounters are… Well, at first I called them boss monsters, but… They’re short, puzzle encounters with a clear solution once you can see it.
And, aesthetically? Well, it looks alright! It definitely retains the aesthetic choices from Blood Drive, a clear and simple UX (Well, apart from the bit where it assumes you’re using a controller), some cool character designs (for, y’know, named folks and cutscened gribblies. For monsters in world, well, they’re chibi proportioned, so they are solid designs, just not… Well, you have to use your imagination much more as to how spoooky they are.)
So, is it a solid purchase? Well, if you’re either a Corpse Party fan jonesing for the next installment, or somebody looking to dip their toes without expectation of more, then yes, it’s a perfectly fine 2-5 hours (depends how completionist you want to be about it.) But if you’re looking for a complete, multi-chapter Corpse Party game, this is… Well, this is the first episode of an episodic game. It sets up the story, reveals a big twist at the end, that, presumably, is meant to add that same sense of doom, in the sense of horror and of unavoidable fate, that the Corpse Party series is known for.
But, obviously, all I can talk about right now is what’s right in front of me. To which I shrug, and say “Yup. That is indeed the first chapter of a Corpse Party game, I wonder if-when there’ll be more.”
The Mad Welshman sighs. He feels incomplete when something’s episodic.