If you’re a fan of JRPGs then chances are you’ve played a game from Idea Factory and Compile Heart before. They’ve been at it a long time with things like the Neptunia franchise, Dragon Star Varnir, and Death end re;Quest just to name a few. That last one is the topic of discussion today as the sequel, Death end re;Quest 2 is out now on PlayStation 4 and I got to check it out for review to see how the team followed up on their dark and gruesome JRPG that released in 2018.
The story in Death end re;Quest 2 follows a new character, a girl named Mai Toyama. Things are grim again in this tale as Mai’s father has died and she has been placed in a dormitory in the mountain town of Le Choara. Mai is here for a reason though and that is to find her sister who has been missing for quite some time. As you move through the story you’ll start to peel back the curtain and unravel the dark and twisted things going on in this place while meeting all kinds of different characters. If you were a fan of just how gruesome the first game was then know that you’ll be getting much more of that here and you don’t have to play long into the game to start witnessing those things. Also, while the location and main character are different from the first game, you’ll absolutely find that this still has ties to it. You can enjoy this fine if you didn’t play it but any fan of the first game will get more out of it.
Some of those people you’ll meet early on in this game include Mai’s roommate Rotten Dollhart as well as Liliana Pinnata who will join you as another member of your party. The gameplay in the game focuses on exploring as well as visual novel like conversations with the characters. These two gameplay elements are split between the day and night cycle. Daytime gameplay is spent talking to the various characters at Wordsworth dormitory while nighttime gameplay has you exploring Le Choara. You don’t have to spend a ton of time talking with the people in the daytime portions but doing so will help flush out their relationships and the story as a whole.
When it comes time to dungeon explore, you’ll find that the world in this sequel has been expanded to be a bit more open. There are different areas each with their own look and you can jump between areas via save points. There is a lot of fun to be had just exploring, fighting monsters, and seeing what kind of treasures you can seek out. Different party members can help you explore and solve puzzles out in the world. For instance, Mai can hack into computers to let you know where secret paths are while another character will let you get onto floating platforms. Something new to this game though that you have to watch out for while exploring is the Shadow Matter that appears. Whenever you see this you need to run as if it catches you it’s instant death for you.
When you get into fights with the monsters in the game, you’ll find that the turn-based system is very similar to the first game. The knockback system makes its return for example letting you ricochet enemies into each other or into walls for combo attacks. You really want to try and position your characters in good places to group as many enemies up to get the most out of this system. Something else you’ll want to try and do while fighting is making use of the new Overkill system. This comes into play when you dish out damage that exceeds the remaining health of the enemy. The more your damage exceeds their HP, the more you’ll be rewarded. While I mostly enjoyed the combat in the game, I did have some gripes with it. The first is that the difficulty balance seemed off at times. Some battles would be rather easy and then I would get to the next one and find myself struggling all of the sudden. I also found the camera to be problematic at times but not enough to ruin the game or anything.
Visually everything in Death end re;Quest 2 looks pretty good. The character art is really well done and the monsters and other haunting imagery as well. On the audio side I was glad to see that the game offers both an English and Japanese voice track. I know some people prefer Japanese voices in their games but I always go with the English track when available and I thought it sounded really good in the game. The same can be said for the soundtrack as well which really hit me in certain scenes during the game.
Death end re;Quest 2 is a safe JRPG sequel but one I very much enjoyed when I finished it. The gameplay isn’t vastly different from the first game and the difficulty is a bit all over the place at times. The story though is once again dark and full of terrors and was the main driver for me to play this through. I like the characters within it a lot and was shocked at some of the story beats. If a dark and twisted JRPG is what you are seeking this fall then Death end re;Quest 2 should be on your playlist.
*Death end re;Quest 2 is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Death end re;Quest 2$49.99
- Dark and gruesome JRPG storyline that's full of interesting characters
- Satisfying turn-based battle system
- Knockback attacks are still a ton of fun
- Great chraracter art along with a great voice track and soundtrack
- Difficulty balance seems off at times
- Camera got in the way sometimes