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Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko's Hysteric Birthday Bash Review

Edited by: John Gerritzen

Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash, developed by MAGES Inc. and 5pb, is a dark, twisted, and surprisingly humorous visual novel. Described as a midquel that takes place sometime between the events of the original Corpse Party and its sequel (Corpse Party: Book of Shadows), Birthday Bash brings back all of the beloved characters in the series to partake in Sachiko Shinozaki’s bizarre and occasionally disturbing birthday hijinks.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

You start by waking up in the auditorium of Heavenly Host Elementary, where you find a large assortment of familiar faces. With the events of Corpse Party and Book of Shadows temporarily undone by Sachiko, characters that might have died or suffered another ill fate previously have all returned good as new, as have several new faces from the outside world. Whether it be Kishinuma making a mess out of playing a dead body in a theatre production or Kizami getting a little too involved with a cooking competition, the characters are easily one of the most enjoyable aspects, and their reactions to Sachiko’s schemes are priceless.

You alternate between different groups for each chapter, providing a nice amount of screen time to see all your favorites. Birthday Bash also does a great job of making sure everyone feels fleshed out and acts in character, which is an impressive feat for such a large cast.  If you played the original games, you’ll be pleased to reunite with the characters and see how they react to the outlandish birthday plans Sachiko has dreamed up. However, if you’re new to the series, it might be hard to keep up with the sheer number of characters and their individual backstories. There are summaries provided in the bonus menu that let you brush up on the events of the other two games, but you might want to avoid diving right in if you’re unfamiliar with the story.

CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES

Despite the title, Sachiko’s birthday whims are far from sweet. In order to survive, you must keep her happy and take part in each of her twisted games, or suffer the consequences. This creates a variety of interesting options for you to choose from, each of which either leads you to the chapter’s true ending or an unseemly outcome. The best part about the choices presented is that you have to think about them as if you’re truly trying to appease a vengeful, childish spirit and consider all of the harmful ways your choices might be interpreted.

As interesting and unexpected as the choices are, their consequences can end up being frustrating for the visual novel format. For example, a choice you make in the early stages of a chapter might result in you getting a bad ending and not allowing you to progress. This then requires you to start the chapter over from that decision point, make one different choice, and replay the majority of the content over again.

It’s also established from the beginning that the events of Birthday Bash will be like nothing ever happened once the day ends, which does take away from the story’s impact overall. On top of this, the majority of events (including character deaths) are reset by Sachiko after each individual chapter, eliminating any lasting consequences throughout the story and making your choices feel less important. One of the best aspects of playing a visual novel is being able to shape and control the story, and Birthday Bash unfortunately lacks in that aspect due to the constant undoing of events and story progression relying on achieving the one true ending for each chapter.

GENRE BLENDING

While most of the Corpse Party series is horror-centric, Birthday Bash proudly throws genre out the window and utilizes a mix of a comedy, romance, suspense, and horror elements. Though these genres do work well with the premise presented and make Sachiko’s devious plans entertaining to watch, Birthday Bash loses most of the compelling horror aspects and creepy atmosphere that was so prominent in the original games. The lack of horror elements can be disappointing at times, and the moments that are filled with creepy tension are often cut short by a joke or change of pace. While there are a handful of truly disturbing scenes sprinkled throughout, horrors fans might find that several of the chapters drag on too long due to the more fluff-oriented scenes, like the chapter focused entirely on party games.

6

The Verdict: Good

A darkly humorous and entertaining addition to the series, Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash has a charming assortment of unique characters and a host of interesting choices, but doesn’t always translate well into the visual novel format. Fans of the series will enjoy seeing their favorite characters in outlandish scenarios, but the lack of any lasting consequences ultimately detracts from the title’s overall impact.

See About Us to learn how we score

Jade Swann
Written by
Monday, 22 April 2019 17:56
Published in Adventure

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Jade Swann is an avid video game player and fiction writer. She loves getting lost in open-world RPG’s, making tough choices in story-driven games, and is a big fan of the horror genre. Some of her favorite games include Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Skyrim, Planet Coaster, and The Sims 4. When not immersed in the world of video games, she can be found reading, writing, or spending time with her very lazy Boston Terrier.

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