It’s difficult to review a fraction of a game. I usually do a preview write-up if something’s in early access and a full review for a finished game, but Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient is technically neither. However, it’s also part of a strange situation where we quite possibly won’t be seeing any more of it. So, is it worth buying or not?
A brief history
Corpse Party 2, much like its predecessor, is meant to be a multi-chapter game. When it debuted in Japan in 2013, it was released with just the first part, with more to come later. But the thing is, more didn’t come later. Barely a peep was heard until 2017, when the game’s single chapter was re-released in a new version with a tiny bonus chapter. This new version was built on a different engine with some changes.
It took two years for this version to get localized, and now, here we are. It’s worth mentioning, though, that this isn’t the first time Corpse Party 2 has been playable in English. An English fan patch was released in 2015. So, if you’re a fan, you’ve more than likely played through this chapter more than once. And six years out from its original release, we’ve still only gotten that first chapter.
The story so far
Corpse Party 2 takes place five years after the first game, though you don’t need to know anything about that original title. The setup for the sequel is extremely familiar as far as horror games go. You play as Ayame, a schoolgirl that wakes up strapped to an operating table in a hospital. As you may have already guessed, yes, Ayame has amnesia and has to piece together who she is and why she’s there.
But Corpse Party 2 is all about gruesome curveballs. After Ayame struggles to free herself from the table, she falls to the ground, vomits, and then defecates all over the floor and herself. This was something I never expected and, more specifically, hoped never to see represented in any form of media. But there it is. She then begins to explore the hospital, learning more about who she is, meeting other people, and uncovering exactly what it is that’s going on.
The writing is fairly strong. The dialogue has a lot of personality, and the pacing and descriptions of events around you can be very eerie and uncomfortable. Corpse Party 2 is able to jump between horror and comedy fairly deftly to boot. I didn’t get to spend much time with the cast, but they aren’t as generic as they tend to be in games like this. It’s more like a high-quality visual novel in this respect.
Run and hide
Corpse Party 2‘s gameplay is very basic but functional. Most of the time, the game gives you a pretty good idea of what it is you’re supposed to be doing. And to accomplish these tasks, you’ll generally need to search the environment for items to use to progress. Most of them aren’t all that difficult to figure out, either, though I did get a bit stumped by one of them. Items are equipped by selecting them via an inventory wheel. You just need to interact with an object while an item is equipped to use it automatically, which works well.
The game naturally has enemies, too, but you can’t fight them outside of one very specific instance. Corpse Party 2 operates more like a stealth game in this respect, as you want to always stay away from foes. You can throw cans to distract them and move past undetected, or you can hide in closets. Going too close to an enemy or getting spotted will have them give chase. But running away makes them forget about you very quickly. Closets, meanwhile, are useful when you’d rather wait for the enemy to pass or if you’ve got an enemy that’s way too close for comfort on your tail. Entering a closet makes you safe immediately.
There’s obviously nothing revolutionary here, but everything works well enough. You can get really close to enemies without alerting them, too, as they seem to see in more of a straight line. Corpse Party 2‘s first chapter also has a couple of boss battles. Since there’s no combat, though, these involve running away from an enemy and then luring them somewhere else before running again. Even these aren’t frustrating. Plus, you’ll find healing items randomly strewn throughout the hospital. The game isn’t interested in being hard or punishing.
What year is it?
Despite Corpse Party 2 launching on PC in 2013, it could easily be a PSP game. The game doesn’t look bad, but it’s very lo-fi. Character models are all 3D and super-deformed. They’re simple and don’t have much detail, but they work. The environments are 3D as well, but there are a lot of sprites on display. The game is presented from a third-person overhead perspective, and it’s easy to see when you’re coming up on an enemy.
The level design is fairly strong too, even if the available area is pretty small. Still, it doesn’t take long to learn the entire layout and find your way back to certain places. It’s worth mentioning that the EX chapter makes use of the exact same space as the main chapter, so don’t go in expecting a brand new piece of content if you’ve yet to play that.
Is it worth it?
Corpse Party 2‘s first chapter will likely not take most people more than an hour and a half or so. It has two endings that are both worth seeing, though, which will stretch the playtime by another half hour. But the EX chapter only takes a few minutes. The game costs $10, which isn’t bad for a couple of hours of entertainment, but this is just a fraction of the entire game, after all. What worries me is that I’m not convinced we’ll ever see any of the other chapters. And if the second one ever is released, how long will it take the others? After all, the devs couldn’t even release a single chapter after six whole years.
Overall, though, I enjoyed Corpse Party 2 chapter one. The narrative is enjoyable and the gameplay is serviceable, but it’s hard to review something that’s little more than a prologue for a full game. And since it’s definitely going to be a long wait until the game is finished – if it’s finished at all – I don’t know if I can really recommend that people jump in now unless they’re just dying to own a legal copy.