Title: Death end re;Quest
Developer: Compile Heart
Release Date: May 16, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Death end re;Quest is Compile Heart’s most recent release on PC along with several other titles coming soon. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long to be able to finally enjoy this title on PC and as a JRPG fan, I was looking forward to playing it. I have to admit, this game turned out to be pretty different than what I thought, and maybe I was prejudging Compile Heart’s games a bit at some point, but I ended up loving this new direction. The different style was refreshing, and even though this game is kept quite serious, Compile Heart never fails to offer cute and adorable girls you can’t help but fall in love with.
The story follows Shina Ninomiya who wakes up having memories of her past. Evidently, she is being trapped inside a virtual world after being considered missing — to be precise she founds herself in a virtual reality MMORPG. However, she comes up with a plan to explore the game’s world known as World’s Odyssey and beat the game in order to wake up and get back to reality. In the meantime, Arata Mizunashi suddenly found Shina online in the game and almost couldn’t believe she was alive. Shina and Arata created this game together in the past and although they reunited, they still have no clue where Shina’s real body is residing. Arata makes it his mission to find a way for her to escape in order to stay by her side.
First of all, I was impressed by the main protagonist’s personalities in this game. As aforementioned, I find all of Compile Heart’s characters absolutely adorable, yet they often end up fooling around a lot and making hilarious or suggestive jokes. However, this was definitely not the case for Death end re;Quest. All of the characters are mature while still being able to make jokes about silly things. I have to admit, some titles by this developer have left me a little annoyed since I felt like the humor was often overdone in them, so I was very glad that this game had a grounded cast of character. To boot there’s even a male character who can properly interact with females without fumbling his words. Of course, Shina and all the other girls are still very cute and Death end re;Quest could be just about Shina sitting in a café and talking about random stuff for hours and I probably wouldn’t mind that much, but I digress.
With that said, I absolutely loved the phenomenal character development in Death end re;Quest as I started to sympathize with its characters and wanted to make sure Shina got out safely. The story has a way to keep the player guessing since I was countlessly wondering about the mysteries in it, along with wondering how the story might unfold. The parallels between other Compile Heart titles and Death end re;Quest are astounding, so I applaud the team for delivering such a heartfelt story that isn’t what they are typically known for.
Death end re;Quest is set in a time when VRMMO’s are pretty normal and the game managed to naturally explain the terms and background of the characters and world in a way that I could understand. The game also allows the player to easily figure out how to acquire the “Good Ending” in the game, which is a must-see for anyone playing.
While our the PS4 review already describes the combat perfectly, I would love to mention that I really enjoyed its combat as well. While its nothing new compared to the past games from Compile Heart, there are combos you can achieve by pushing the enemy to another party member. I found this feature fun as there is just something satisfying about pushing the enemy around and letting them bounce on everything. — while doing fairly high damage to top it off.
I noticed, while playing Death end re;Quest, that it’s really important to save your progress as often as you can because simple choices might lead you into a dead end. At first, I was worried about always having to run back and spending a long time with searching the way back and forth to be able to save, but very soon I discovered when I went on playing that I had unlocked several short cuts. Luckily, this meant I always had the option to go back quickly and be able to save without spending too much time running around. Another feature I found useful is that you can warp between certain points of the dungeons.
The special thing about the PC release of Death end re;Quest is that it offers keyboard and mouse support along with gamepad support. Because of this, you can freely choose what you prefer to play with and it’s easily switchable in case you prefer the other option. I personally love to use the gamepad, and I was very glad to find the option to revert the camera movement. Both options are smooth and easy to play with, so in the end, it’s all just about preference.
I have to admit, the animations and artwork are stunning in Death end re;Quest and it was the first thing I immediately noticed about this game. It offers superb English voice acting and to top it off it has additional lip-sync. Sadly, not every scene is voiced, yet there are still impressive animations in Death end re;Quest such as detailed hair animation, and several different facial expressions and positions.
To sum it up, while I already knew Compile Heart rarely fails to disappoint me, I was impressed with the serious direction Death end re;Quest was going in along with keeping its comedic touch. Character development and the story were always the most important things for me and Compile Heart managed to nail both this time around. The game has some stunning animations and super adorable girls. Even though the dungeons won’t leave anyone impressed and the battle system takes some getting used to (it was still utterly fun pushing around enemies), Death end re;Quest sold me with its mature yet cute characters and impressive game design.
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