Hospitals are scary.
Corpse Party has been on something of a roll lately. With an anime OVA in the works, multiple successful manga series, and a new Vita game scheduled to hit later this year, there looks to be no end in sight for the horror franchise.
Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient is the first numbered sequel in the entire franchise. The studio behind it, Team Grindhouse, is primarily made up of the people who put together the first Corpse Party. Being an indie circle, they're releasing Dead Patient in an episodic format. As of this writing, chapter one is the only portion available.
With the original creators back behind the wheel and a story that takes place at the far end of the series timeline, does Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient live up to the excellent original game?
Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient Chapter 01 (PC)
Ayame Itou wakes up on an operating table in a dimly lit hospital room, unsure of how she got there. As it turns out, she's also missing most of her memories too. Alone and afraid, Ayame ventures out into the dark labyrinth of hospital corridors in the hopes of finding out who she is. What awaits her is something worse than she could have ever imagined.
Let's get this out of the way: Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient is every bit the Corpse Party sequel that fans are hoping for. Much like the PSP game (a port of a PC remake), players control a super deformed character onscreen and walk them through dark, creepy environments. Unlike the original game however, Dead Patient's locales and characters are all rendered in 3D.
Dead Patient isn't going to turn any heads, but it has a very sharp look to it that, while simple, effectively conveys fear. There's something inherently horrifying about watching a cute looking character model have its head eaten clean off. Team Grindhouse also does some fun stuff with lighting, including a brief bit that requires the use of a flashlight. After the visually disappointing Book of Shadows, it feels great coming back to this style.
Ayame has a much wider range of movement than the characters in the last game; you're not restricted to only moving in four directions. It seems like a minor change, but being able to direct Ayame without any kind of handicap makes playing the game much less frustrating. She can also run, though she awkwardly pants nonstop while doing so. I recommend playing with headphones on for those of you concerned with that kind of thing.
Dead Patient's UI is a step up from the first game, featuring a lot of clean pixel art. Picking up items dumps them in your inventory; a circular menu that shows you everything in your possession. In the original Corpse Party, players could collect name tags off of bodies. In Dead Patient, you now collect patient ID cards which reveal the cause of death, among other bits of information. These cards are viewable at anytime from the main menu in-game.
The Corpse Party series has always had fantastic music, and Dead Patient makes sure to continue that tradition. Nothing here is as blood pumpingly awesome as some of the faster tunes in the original game, but there's a wide variety of spooky themes despite the relatively short length of chapter one. Unfortunately, Dead Patient is not fully voiced. Characters all speak a few lines of dialogue, but for the most part they stay quiet throughout the game. Had this been a console title, I probably would have been more disappointed, but given Dead Patient's status as an indie release, I can certainly see why things turned out this way. Hopefully we see a port somewhere down the line.
I sadly can't speak about the quality of the story in too much depth. As the first chapter of an ongoing game, this two hour chunk of Dead Patient introduces a few key members of the cast, throws the player into a big mystery, and then promptly ends just as you think you're starting to figure things out. This is a creepy game, but it's a very different story when compared to the previous Corpse Party narratives. It's bigger in scope, and as the credits to chapter one rolled, I couldn't help but find myself wondering where the hell Dead Patient could possibly go next.
That being said, Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient's first chapter is a great reintroduction to this hellish world. Team Grindhouse might not have made too many big changes to the formula, but the things they have added make the experience that much more enjoyable. Now that they've gotten the introductions out of the way, I have high hopes for chapter two.
Either way, it's bound to be one helluva party.
7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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