Death End re;Quest - PC Review

Just a few months ago, Richard had the chance to delve into one of Compile Hearts and Idea Factory's newest JRPGs. Now having made its way over to the PC, it was my turn to dive into this very interesting blend of JRPG elements that while always feeling familiar in one sense or another, was refreshing because of how different it was in its construction.

Death End re;Quest is pretty much it's own brand of crazy where even the Neptunia series hasn't tread. Having disappeared from the real world, our protagonist Shina has been locked in a now defunct MMO project that she had been working on. Trapped seemingly alone with very few NPCs left, you quickly learn that the world, which shouldn't even be online after the project has been shut down, is corrupted and only getting worse.

Being trapped in an MMO is nothing new with .Hack and Sword Art Online having both explored this theme from different perspectives. One had people falling into comas because of a particular style of attack known as Data Draining while the other approached it by trapping everyone into the game with fail safes put into place that would kill anyone trying to log out immediately. The difference here though is that starting off Shina has no idea she's even in a virtual world much less that her dangers are rather real and extremely dangerous. Exploring the world you find out the details as she does making the whole context feel pretty cohesive as details fall into place at a proper rate and any backstory that you need to understand is given to you when it is needed.

Visually Death End Re;Quest is pretty to look at with vibrant colours that acts as decent accents once you've moved into the more barren wastelands. The character models look a bit more realistic than those of say the Neptunia series but I would be lying if I didn't mention that the main cast looks very MeiQ / Mary Skelter-ish. That is a bit of what I meant up above in that the various elements feel rather familiar because you can see a bit of each of the previous projects including the combat which feels right at home in the middle of Fairy Fencer F and Mugen Souls.

Running into enemies on the field or due to storyline combat, the battle field is the same. Set in a circle in which characters and enemies can move around, your party will have access to normal attacks or more powerful ones that require MP. What is really neat is that instead of Mugen Souls in which you needed to make sure an attack had a blast attribute, performing a combo can launch an enemy backwards and either into another enemy or group. If however while they are flying backwards they hit the edge of the encounter circle they'll bounce back and run into anything else that could have been run into which leads into one of the last combat features that is unique to this title.

Within the circular field of battle are markers on the ground that are a form of data corruption and will hurt your characters if you're not careful. What you can do however to avoid or navigate these dangers is smack enemies into them which will cause extra damage. This is not only a viable battle tactic but often a necessary one as while they are hurt while being thrown through these markers, they can use these markers in order to power up if you let them. It adds a bit more depth to the combat which isn't exactly basic, but has essentially become the baseline for the company between its various IPs.

A big detail that I want to praise is the dialog. Conversations feel natural and part of the overall experience instead of just being an add-on. Sometimes though these conversations are so damned long that you wonder when control is going to be dropped back into your hands. Sometimes this could be because you're simply ready to go out and take out a few monsters but other times you really just need to make sure that you can save. Nothing is one-hundred percent certain so saving often is important as you don't want to lose progress because of a game crash so being able to save during conversations was HUGE. This covers all of the bases including being able to reload because you made the wrong choice and game overed.

"But the "choose your own adventure" thing. Hoo boy, that's the first place this game really got me, and let me tell you, I was royally pissed off, and I loved Death End for it. Every so often, or more like five minutes depending on how fast you power through the game, you will be given what is generally a choice between two options. One option, will have you progress through the story. The other? Game over. No, I don't mean "it's a poor choice but carry on anyway", I mean you literally get a Game Over. Guess who failed the first choice? That's right, me.

Knowing this I was a bit more prepared than he was. It also helped that Richard continued to remind me as I started and checked up on how I was going probably just to laugh at me when the inevitable finally did happen. Well it did but I didn't tell him so he can laugh about it now I suppose but I do agree with him though that the overall experience is just as much a Visual Novel that it is a JRPG. The reason isn't just because there's a ton of dialog, the reason is that while you get to explore the game world with Shina, you can also explore the real world with Arata as there's a whole different story going on in the outside world.

With the gaming servers mysteriously up, the world world's stock exchange has plummeted and the only thing those attacked can see is the MMO world's login server. Somehow stuck in the middle, Arata will be both helping out Shina in the game work as a hacked bear known as Enigma while having his own adventures outside the virtual world. This not only lends more depth to the experience but it also allows for a bit of a break from the glitchy visuals that while not as bad as the original .Hack series, were still enough to give me a bit of a headache over time.

So overall, mashing up the likes of .Hack or Sword Art Online's being trapped in a digital world, MeiQ's character design and finally a penchant for the macabre, and you have one of the better titles this partnership have ever put out which in the past couple years is a fair amount of praise. Whether fans of RPGs or JRPGs, Death End re;Quest is worth grabbing either on the PC or on the PS4 where it was already available.

Game Information

Compile Heart
Idea Factory International
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves


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