An indeath look at Compile Heart's latest horror RPG!
Idea Factory International
Playstation 4, PC (Steam)
It’s officially fall so do you know what that means?! It’s time to get spooky and what better way to do it that in quarantine than by playing horror games of all shapes and sizes! When I think of horror games I think of first-person viewpoints or fixed camera angles, which doesn’t come to mind is RPGs. I was pretty surprised when I heard about Death end re;Quest 2, a horror RPG created by Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory. Does Death end re;Quest 2 go bump in the night or will it simply sneak by everyone? Well, it certainly does leave an impact but not a super strong one.
The game opens up with the player meeting Mai Toyama. She’s stuck with her abusive father after a divorce and the only joy that she has is receiving emails from her younger sister who’s living with her mother. However, one day the emails stop and things get so bad Mai ends up killing her father in self-defense. After some time passes she requests to be sent to an all-girls boarding school in a small European country. She requested that school due to her sister also being there as well. Upon meeting the students, she finds no record of her sister but discovers not all is what it seems with a strange cult in town. Mai, along with some of the other students, seek out the truth and uncover horrors along their way.
Like the title suggested, this is a sequel to Death end re;Quest. I unfortunately have not had the chance to play it as of yet, but going into the sequel I didn’t feel like I was missing anything super important. Some characters do appear from the first game, but most of them do not play an important role in the story. While the story is somewhat generic, Death end re;Quest 2 really stands out for its use of gore and disturbing imagery when it comes to characters that the player is already attached to.
The gameplay is broken up into two parts: school life and town exploration. School life plays out like a visual novel adventure game where you choose people to talk to and go about your day. It’s meant for players to get more attached to the characters; however, most of the time is used for character development. It strikes me as odd as you don’t actually need to do any of that and can just skip to the end of your day to go explore the town. I didn’t do this and watched every story event possible before going out to make sure that I didn’t leave anything unfinished. Like with most Compile Heart RPGs, there is depth to the combat with different combos, making it possible to pull off large amounts of damage very quickly.
Something special to this game is its version of a knockback move that sends the enemy flying a set amount of distance to possibly do more damage. While it’s nice to do more damage, the positioning of enemies is not super important. There isn’t a movement gauge during the player’s turn. You can just set yourself up in the best possible position every time no matter where the enemy lands. One thing that I did notice that’s common to these games is the balancing. By knowing what moves are best for all characters, even at low levels, most encounters that aren’t boss battles only last two turns at most. It makes it very simple to speed through this game. Death end re;Quest 2 doesn’t overstay its welcome, clocking in an average first playthrough length of 12 – 15 hours which is relatively short for an RPG.
Where Death end re;Quest 2 shines is with its wonderful voice cast. Both English and Japanese dubs are a treat. On the English side, you have voice actors like Ryan Bartley, Kira Buckland, and Sarah Williams; while on the Japanese side you have Chiwa Saito, Sayaka Ohara, and Junya Enoki. So no matter which track you choose, you’ll be listening to a wonderful cast. Both dubs go well with the wonderful and brutal CG images that pop up from time to time. The atmosphere created by the soundtrack and CG images leaves the player with a sense of dread as they try to overcome the challenges of uncovering the mysteries hidden in the town.
Even with Death end re;Quest 2’s short run time and balancing issues, it is still a unique horror RPG that should be explored if you’re a fan of other Compile Hearts RPGs. If you haven’t played Compile Heart’s other RPGs, this is a safe choice to pick up to get a taste of their other titles.
Death end re;Quest 2 Review
Even with Death end re;Quest 2's short run time and balancing issues, it is still a unique horror RPG that should be looked at if you’re a fan of other Compile Hearts RPGs. If you haven’t played Compile Heart’s other games, this is a solid entry point.