Death End re;Quest 2 Review (PS4)

The first Death End re;Quest game is, in my opinion, is among the best games that Idea Factory has created to date — you know, alongside Omega Quintet. Strong female protagonists, a consistently dark tone, and engaging combat really put it heads and shoulders above their other titles —although the focus on bad endings and violent deaths was a tad too much…

Death End re;Quest 2 features a new primary cast, with returning protagonist Shina Ninomiya acting as support, and whilst I liked the characters, I disliked the plot and the intense focus on being macabre. Corpse Party scenario writer Makoto Kendouin was involved in this one, but like with Corpse Party, it feels as if the long, drawn-out death scenes and bad end routes often overshadow all else, and it’s both disturbing and tiresome.

Mai arrives at Wordsworth Women’s Dormitory, having murdered her abusive father, and quickly feels as if something is wrong with the dorms and the small town of La Choara. Its townspeople are obsessed with the religion of El Strain, and girls keep going missing or are found murdered. It feels like I’ve been here before — a fanatic cult, an all-girls dorm in a sleepy town where murders consistently happen, and the townspeople are either oblivious or carelessly dismiss it. It’s not poorly told, but it is generally predictable.

The gameplay is similar to the first title, with it being turn-based, and you’re able to combo with other characters and bounce enemies around the arena as if they’re a pinball — which is great fun. There’s a rock-paper-scissors-based system, where using a skill based on Sun, Moon or Star will inflict more damage, and it’s great to keep this in mind if you’re tackling the game on a harder difficulty, as there are a lot of opportunities for tough opponents to easily one-shot your entire team.

Upon taking damage or hitting glitch-like obstacles on the floor, your percentage will rise until it hits 80%, and then you’ll activate Glitch Mode. This is a power-up that allows you to use your special ability before being forced back to your normal form. You might be wondering, “gee, if that’s the case, I should hit all the glitches!”, but well, some of them will kill you long before you get to 80%, so be careful!

There are a bunch of social events too which can change how the story plays out. These are brief and sometimes sweet, and considering how many of these characters can potentially die throughout the game, you might grow attached to some of the characters who are then killed in merciless ways. I appreciate that your actions have consequences, even if they’re ultimately not very impactful, but I dislike that their drawn-out death scenes (which are voiced) tend to last longer than the time you’ll spend with those characters going forward if they survive.

There’s a lot of repetition in the visuals, which also affects the enjoyment of the gameplay. You’ll know the streets of La Choara like the back of your hand as you’ll be seeing them time and time again, with the same few streets being your only “dungeon” for the first few hours of the game. It eventually opens up, but assets are constantly reused in both dungeon and enemy design, and the scope feels incredibly small when compared with its predecessor. I like the character designs and a few monster designs, but I also wish that we had more happy time CGs, as they’re usually very morbid.

The English voice-acting is superb, getting across the necessary emotion, panic, and aggression that the story demands. Not all of the dialogue is fully-voiced, but a great deal of it is, and I appreciate that we were able to get the option of English and Japanese voice-over. The soundtrack is good, again a little repetitive, but is overall a great composition.

Death End re;Quest 2 is a game that I wish I enjoyed more, and I love when Idea Factory experiments with a new IP, but this is one that didn’t require a sequel, and at times, I feel that it does the original characters a disservice in favour of its new cast. I wish that it focused more on the creepy, clearly SCP-inspired enemies and atmosphere, than it did the religious cult and gruesome deaths. Not a bad game, but not a particularly great one, either.

Review code provided by publisher Idea Factory.