Developed by Compile Hearts Published by Idea Factory International, Inc. Reviewed on PlayStation 4
From studio Compile Heart, known for other RPGs such as Fairy FencerF,and Omega Quintet, comes Death End re;Quest. Their latest title blends reality with the video game world due to a mysterious glitch in a popular MMORPG. Death End re;Quest starts you off as a female protagonist who wake up with no memory. As you progress through the story, you learn that her name is Shina Ninomiya, a game developer who doesn’t remember that she from the real world and finds herself stuck in a game she helped created, an MMORPGVR called World’s Odyssey. In the real world another developer named Arata Mizunashi has being looking for Shina, who’s been missing for over a year. Arata suddenly discovers that World’s Odyssey’s servers are still live after a year of the servers being shut down and that there’s an active player named Shina. After Arata discovers Shina’s true identity, he begins to her get out of the game and back to the real world.
The first thing you’ll notice about Death End re;Quest is that it’s very story driven with there tons of dialogue to read. This slows down the pace of the game at the beginning. Before I could start exploring, at one point I had 20 minutes of dialogue to read. So keep that in mind in case you’re a very action heavy oriented player like me. While journeying with Shina and Arata in World’s Odyssey you learn that the servers are unstable and that there are strange anomalies plaguing the servers like unexplained items appearing in World’s Odyssey that link to disappearances and murders in the real world. One of the cool feature of the game is it allow you to switch between Shina, who’s stuck in the game, and Arata. He’s in the real world chasing clues to find Shina missing body while providing her ingame support and cracking codes when she’s stuck in dungeons.
The game’s story focus on story telling doesn’t take away from its fun combat aspect. The combat system is turn-based and has you moving around a circle of enemies looking for the best angle. Once ready, you can choose three attacks to string together such as normal attacks, magic attacks, and defense stances. One of the neat feature is after the do a certain string of attack, you can send the enemy flying into circles walls or towards another party character to cause extra big damage. I never got tired of smashing an enemy into a another party member to cause a pinball effect. During the mid-game, enemies get health-spongy, and gain counters that make each battle last too long.
Death End re;Quest menus’ are very easy to navigate through from choosing which party member to play as to equipping weapons and gear, or switching from the real world to the game world which is a plus for any JRPG. One aspect of the game I found to be really annoying is the there are the Death choices. Certain situations during the story will prompt a question that you have to basically have to answer correctly or it’s game over. I heavily recommend that you save as often as you can to not set yourself back pretty far in the game as I’ve been set back far and have been angry about it. There isn’t an auto save feature either. I really enjoyed the phenomenal English voice cast. Every character has an engaging voice that kept me interested in the story and a lot of them are filled with emotion.
Death End re;Quest is a tense mystery with some art that are mostly generic visuals that you can find in any other visual novel game. Even though it was rough getting through some of the dialogue, I was legitimately interested in what was going on with the game’s world and it made me want to know more about what really happened to Shina. Combat is very satisfying and just plain fun until it drags out a little bit too long later down the line. If you’re not careful about what you’re doing in combat, you can easily get destroyed by enemies. As mentioned earlier, the voice work done by the cast is stellar. I wish the whole game was fully voiced instead of just in certain sequences here and there. If you’re looking for a decent JRPG, I would recommend giving this a try as it is a fun and unique experience with a deep story line that fans of JRPGs will enjoy.