The original Death end re;Quest was an interesting experience. At its core, it was a horror story about an unfortunate situation and a wide variety of awful outcomes. It was just presented with largely hopeful and mysterious elements to drive the core gameplay loop forward. Things are similar in Death end re;Quest 2, though with a better focus and new situation, does it improve on the original or equate to the same basic thing?
Immediately Death end re;Quest 2 makes it clear this is a darker story, with the main character, Mai Toyama, dealing with her hateful and drunk father. After a series of unfortunate circumstances, Mai is able to distance herself from that awful situation, only to end up in another one. Since her sister went to live with her mother, Mai wants to be with them, only to find out her mother passed away and her sister, Sanae, who supposedly ended up at Wordsworth, an all-girls dormitory. However, all plans of reuniting with her sister are cut short when the staff has no idea who Sanae is.
This is the initial story behind Death end re;Quest 2 and it does a fantastic job of hooking players almost instantly. As you progress and meet the other girls, there is clearly something off about the world and those in it. Some of it will be clear to returning fans, as Shina Ninomiya from the first adventure makes an appearance, with the rest slowly building in the background.
While the story is mostly character-driven, in that story takes a back seat, the dark storylines, and general mystery leading to the answer of what happened to Sanae, the mysterious religious group, and more. It’s more than enough to drive players to want to see it all, assuming you can stomach a story not afraid to touch on darker concepts and arguably edgy characters.
Based on your actions during the day, so interactions and experiences you choose to view, different things will occur. Sometimes to your benefit, every now and then your detriment, it just hinges on what you want. For some, it’s moving forward as quickly as possible, whereas others might care about side stories. Like anything else, those willing to invest the time are rewarded but even if you just want to fight enemies, there is enough gameplay to be fun.
Fans of Compile Heart’s various quirky RPGs will likely immediately understand the gameplay portion of Death end re;Quest 2. Exploring the town is a largely linear adventure with certain paths opening up later, a wide variety of helpful resources are around to find and there are enemies you can fight. Anyone looking for advantage can attack first, giving them an edge in combat, one that can change a lot of things.
Fights are relatively straightforward. Turns involve three commands that impact a set area. Your goal is to either hit as many enemies as you can or position yourself to have the greatest impact. Following certain combos is a finishing move that launches an enemy and works kind of like pool. Hitting one enemy against another will do damage to both, as will hitting walls or anything else. The goal ultimately becomes, how can you maximize damage and minimize risk. The latter is extremely important, as poorly positioned enemies can cause a wide variety of problems. Though, for any experienced player, it’s relatively straightforward.
As you progress, more skills and characters will be unlocked, allowing for greater depth and deeper mechanics, if you so choose. And, even if this isn’t your thing, there are options to minimize your time spent doing the things you don’t like, be it story, gameplay or, I suppose if you really want, both.
Death end re;Quest 2 Review – Verdict
It goes without saying the darker themes and bleak elements won’t appeal to everyone, but those willing to give Death end re;Quest 2 a chance will be rewarded. Not only is it a lot of fun to play, the story immediately hooks you and there is a lot to see. Combine that with improved visuals and some nicer touches and it’s a great experience that might be a bit of a niche but certainly interesting in its own way.
[Editor’s Note: Death end re;Quest 2 was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]