As someone who enjoyed the first game in the series, I was pretty excited to hear the news that Death end re;Quest 2 was coming out. In fact, I didn’t expect Compile Heart to release a second game, so you bet I was excited to get my hands on Death end re;Quest 2.
I went into this game blind without any information or watching any trailers, so when I saw the major change in tone compared to the first game, I knew going in blind was the best choice.
Developed by Japan-based studio Compile Heart, Death end re;Quest 2 is the second game in the series which blends heavy visual novel elements and JRPG gameplay. I have to say, when I started this game up, I was expecting the game to continue off from the first game, but I am happy they decided to change things up and craft a unique and original experience for the second game this time around because it’s honestly a gripping and intriguing experience.
A Dark and Twisted Story
Compared to the first game, the theme and story of the game shift dramatically to a more horror-themed tone, and really this is no surprise since this game was made in collaboration with Corpse Party scenario writer, Makoto Kedouin.
There aren’t many JRPGs with these sorts of themes in the genre, so it’s a breath of fresh air to experience a story like this and stir things up.
In Death end re;Quest 2, the story focuses on the main character Mai Toyama, who after a brutal incident involving her father’s murder, gets admitted to the Woodsworth Women’s Dormitory in a city called Le Chora. Although Mai Toyama gets admitted into the dormitory, she has alternative motives that involve finding her lost sister Sanae, who was last seen in Le Chora. As you experience this story, you slowly uncover that things are not what they seem and the story starts to unfold as you uncover its mysteries.
Slice of Life by Day, Gruesome by Night
In the first game, the game split the story switching between two components which were the “game world” and the “real-world.” This time, the game splits the story with a day time and night time component. In the day, the story is a typical anime slice of life story which involves spending time with the girls in the dormitory and going through the motions. The day time story element isn’t really a hugely critical part of the story as it is there to break up the tenseness of the story and provide some more background information into the characters.
The real meat of the story is its night-time elements which is what I am going to touch upon the most. After ending the day, the story takes a huge turn and completely does a 180°. You are soon pulled into this morbid, twisted, and dark world of Death end;reQuest 2‘s story.
Much of the story revolves around themes of loss, death, torture, and elements of dismemberment which is not typical of a Compile Hearts game. Even by itself, the game can easily pass as just a visual novel completely getting rid of the JRPG gameplay because the story is just that good.
Death end;reQuest 2‘s story pulls you in with many shocking and twisted scenes that make you go “holy shit,” and really, a critical part of Death end re;Quest 2‘s story that makes this game truly stand out is it’s computer graphics (CG).
The scenes of blood, death, and elements of dismemberment really add a lot of shock value to the story that increases as the story progresses. I’m actually impressed with the amount of detail these CG’s have because they are honestly well done.
In a typical visual novel game, you are of course going to be provided choices that will affect the game’s story. When you pick the wrong choices, Death end;reQuest 2 depicts scenes of your friends dying or getting slaughtered. What really stands out with the wrong choices is that the game actually shows your friends being slaughtered in the CG’s. It gets pretty brutal at times.
I really think the CG’s add a lot more depth to the story and aren’t just there to add shock value because it’s what makes this game unique. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game with a horror-theme, so it’s a welcome change to the JRPG genre. With many JRPG’s leaning on the comfortable side with its fantasy, moe, and cutesy type themes, I love how this game is not afraid to stir things up.
Exploring Le Chora and… Pinball?
As much as I would love to keep talking about the story of Death end re;Quest 2, I can’t ignore the gameplay elements because that is also an important part of this game.
Most of the gameplay that occurs in the game is during night time. After you are done with the day time segments, the game shifts to you controlling your character and exploring the brutal town of Le Chora.
I was really impressed by exploring Le Chora because the world was crafted with detail and care. It really fits the tone of the game and the creepiness surrounding the city. Most of the environments actually revolve around Le Chora, so most of your time will be exploring the wonderful city. In fact, there are literally bugs scattered throughout Le Chora that resemble spiders, so that’s a nice detail when exploring the city.
In the sections where you have to fight enemies, Death end re;Quest 2 has its unique pinball system where if you knockback enemies and your teammates hit them again, the enemies go all over the place, hence the “pinball” mechanic. For people that have played the first game, this system hasn’t changed at all.
It’s a pretty fun battle mechanic actually because it’s quite amusing to see your enemies go all over the place and see all the damage you can do when combining your abilities.
Something though that I did not like about the enemy battles is that sometimes the enemies where plain health sponges. These enemies had massive amounts of health and even if you were leveled accordingly, it still took forever to beat these enemies even with the “glitch attacks” which make your character more powerful. For example, in one boss battle, the boss had so much health, it almost took me two hours to just defeat them. This even goes for your typical normal enemies as well almost taking me 20 minutes just to beat them and I was leveled fairly with good stats. Although this is the case, I still had a blast with the battle system and just avoided those enemies that would have taken forever to defeat.
Another thing about the game is that it was a pretty short game clocking at around 15-20 hours just for the main story content alone. Compared to the first game, it’s pretty short. I was pretty surprised to see how short the game was. Even if it was short, it’s not really a big deal because the game was enjoyable.
Death end re;Quest 2 is an amazing experience that is not afraid to go against typical JRPG storytelling and themes. It’s a breath of fresh air to experience a story like Death end re;Quest 2. Even if you take out the gameplay elements, this game can definitely pass as only a visual novel.
I had a blast experiencing the twisted world of Death end re;Quest 2 and if you are into these dark, morbid, and twisted stories looking to experience something new in a JRPG, then I heavily recommend Death end re;Quest 2.
DEATH END RE;QUEST 2 IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Many thanks to the publisher for a PlayStation 4 review copy of this title.
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Ryan only has one goal in mind — to spread the joy of video games. He also loves a variety of games, especially those that have major plot twists. Ryan loves rice and can cook a killer scrambled egg.
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