In Death end re;Quest, I found a love for Idea Factory’s approach to mixing visual novel elements with JRPG systems. It created a nice dynamic that was made better by the game’s likable cast members and gripping story. Now, instead of building on relationships of the first game, the developers took a chance on an entirely new main protagonist in the sequel, Death end re;Quest 2. In many ways, this ends up working, but it takes a while to find its footing.
Death end re;Quest 2 tells the story of Mai Toyama, a standoffish girl who has been admitted to the Wordsworth Women’s Dormitory in Le Chora following the death of her father. Her arrival has some alternative motives, though, as she is actively searching for her sister. It’s here that she is introduced to Rottie Dollhart and Liliana Pinnata, who serves as the other party members for this adventure.
It’s made clear quite early that everything is not as it seems at this orphanage, and the headmistress seems to be the orchestrator of the nightmarish events that plague the students. However, the plot takes an exceptionally long time to kick into gear, and it will be an hour before you’ll encounter any actual gameplay. It’s not the biggest issue, but it comes off as if the story doesn’t know how to keep up with the gameplay.
An example of this could be found when the characters first Glitch during a battle but they have no reaction to it. This event had a substantial reaction in the first game and even changed their appearance during dialogue, but nothing happens here, they just go about their quest. It’s as if the first half of the story is happening independently alongside the gameplay portions, and they aren’t on the same page. Thankfully, the relationship between the two is improved in the later chapters.
As for the three new characters, I really enjoyed Rottie and Mai’s relationship. I thought their interactions were well-paced and gave us a real sense of their friendship. This is also found in the sub-characters within the dormitory, who each have their own lives that don’t always cross paths with the narrative. Players are free to explore these scenarios or just progress the main story. However, understanding the relationships of each of them is important for some of the more substantial plot deliveries.
When it comes to returning characters, the game sort of dances around how you’re able to use them in battle. It’s sort of a weird throwaway line too and no one reacts to it. Simply put, one minute it’s just three girls solving mysteries, and the next you have all of these low-level party members in your team.
The dungeons have been improved in Death end re;Quest 2 as the developer tries their hand at a semi-open world. Everything is connected here, and players can quickly travel between save points. However, given the size of the world, I think an overview map of the entire area would have been better for navigating through the game. This is apparent when you are told go north for a story mission, but you don’t exactly know what is north from where you are.
Each area has a different theme, with a variety of monsters roaming around. The battle system of Death end re;Quest 2 is great with various ways to take advantage of weaknesses, buffs, and the returning knockback system. There’s also an auto mode that works incredibly well, and I found that it made level grinding for bosses easier.
I ended up really enjoying the number of ways players can interact with the environment. Each character can do something different, but I wouldn’t say I liked Mai’s ability until her hacking skills became more useful in later parts. Sadly, the load time between areas is rather long and could use some refining since there were times where I thought my game froze during a load screen.
Character customization is pretty limited here as most of the items can be found during battle or in chests. I think in my time playing the game; I used the shop a total number of three times. It kind of defeats the purpose of earning money, but it’s there for people who require healing items while playing on hard more.
Graphically, I loved Death end re;Quest 2. The characters have such a fantastic appeal about them, which makes it easy to love them. It’s as if Shina takes on the role of the player as she reacts to each of the character’s attitude and adorable personalities. On the other hand, this game becomes quite dark and has a dialogue about some pretty heavy themes. You find yourself engrossed by this mystery as it becomes even more gripping leading up to the climax.
Similar to the first game, Death end re;Quest 2’s English voice cast was well thought out, and I ended up playing the entire game with English audio. The choice of Japanese audio is there, but I didn’t even use it. There’s some really great music in the game too, which sets the tone of the adventure and some of the more impactful scenes.
Death end re;Quest 2 is an exceptionally well-made RPG that encompasses great systems and characters. It does its best not to rely too heavily on the first entry and instead creates new relationships for new and returning players. There’s a bit of slow start as it sets up the plot, but once the game gets going, it’s full steam ahead for a dark and twisted set of events leading to the conclusion.
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