By Steve Baltimore / August 27th, 2020
|Title||Death end re;Quest 2|
|Developer||Idea Factory / Compile Heart|
|Publisher||Idea Factory International|
|Release Date||August 18th, 2020|
|Platform||Steam / PlayStation 4|
Idea Factory International is more known for their light-hearted titles such as the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, but back in 2018 they released Death end re;Quest, a much darker horror title. When I had a chance to review it, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out to be one of my favorite titles of that year. Needless to say I was pretty stoked to finally get my hands on the sequel Death end re;Quest 2. Let’s see if this entry can reach the same level of quality.
The story here follows a girl named Mai Toyama. She has led a pretty rough life; since her parents divorced, she’s lived with her abusive father. Her sister, Sanae, was living with her mother, and Mai assumed things were better there. Mai’s father finally went off the deep end one day and she killed him in self-defense. She requested to go live in an orphanage in the remote town of Le Choara. She heard her sister was living there now, since their mother had passed away as well. Upon arrival, however, she finds that no one remembers Sanae, and that something is very off with this town. Her new friend Rotten Dollheart (Rottie) is the daughter of the headmistress, and is quite taken by Mai. Mai soon discovers that monsters roam the streets after midnight and this place seems like a living hell. Rottie agrees to help Mai explore the area for clues about her sister, and this will lead them into a much deeper mystery than they could ever imagine!
While I loved the story of the original Death end re;Quest, I think they really knocked it out of the park with the sequel. The story here is a bit more straightforward and the ending requirements are much simpler. This helped the story flow much better this time. The localization team did an amazing job with this script. It’s a very rare thing when I love every member of a cast, but that’s exactly what happened here. Mai and Rottie play off each other perfectly. This is a very dark tale, but Rottie’s constant advances at Mai really help break up the gloom and doom of the overall story. Liliana is a fantastic addition to group as well. She’s got a very dark backstory, but her will to press on will inspire you. Any hope you can find in this dark world should be seen as a blessing!
Graphically, Death end re;Quest 2 is one of the best games Idea Factory International has released. The haunting environments are nicely detailed, and that Gothic style they were going for is front and center. The enemy models are straight out of everyone’s nightmare. Spider-like creatures and evil dolls certainly give me the creeps. The new character models are wonderfully detailed, and while some may not like the Glitch mode costumes for the new characters, since they have been toned down a bit, I found them to be quite nice. The old cast will retain their old Glitch mode costumes if you purchase the game on Steam, but if this isn’t an issue for you, hitting the game up on PlayStation 4 is a perfectly good option.
I was able to run the game at 4K 60fps on my Ryzen 5 2600 rig with a 2060KO GPU. I did have to overclock GPU memory a bit to achieve this, but it was a pretty simple task. The game runs smoothly for the most part, but as of writing this there are still a few bugs and glitches in the Steam version. I would recommend folks save often, so you don’t lose progress when you encounter one until IFI gets a patch ready. The only other annoyance here it the fact you have to map the key prompts to the buttons on your Xbox controller. If this isn’t done the game will show only keyboard prompts during combat and on menus. There is no way currently to map PlayStation controller prompts, but my guess is a modder will fix that shortly.
This is one of the best soundtracks ever to grace an Idea Factory game. The haunting melodies and hard pumping battle themes really immerse you in this world. I think this OST might be even better than the first game’s, which is quite an achievement. The English and Japanese voice casts do an amazing job bringing these characters to life. This is one of those rare titles I think I prefer the dub over the sub, but this will come down to personal preference.
One of the biggest changes to Death end re;Quest 2 is the way the maps are laid out. The last game has some of the most confusing maps in gaming history. I still have nightmares about navigating that damn castle and dealing with the mess that was the forest map. This time around the maps are much more streamlined. Key items are shown on the map so you don’t walk by them a dozen times because they were hidden behind a small tree. This made progressing in areas much easier and less frustrating. There are still obstacles to overcome, however. Mai will have to hack into computer terminals to reveal hidden treasures, Rottie can use her buggie to reach high areas and Liliana can use her bats to break down seals.
Combat here works much like it did before. Characters can freely roam around the battlefield and execute up the 3 moves a turn. Some of these moves will have a knock back that will send enemies sliding across the field, bouncing them off the walls. If they encounter one of your party members while sliding around, they will shoot them off in a different direction. Field bugs make their return as well, and have the same random effects as last time around. These can damage you, but most will give you various stats boosts and raise your corruption level. When characters are at 80% corruption they will enter the all powerful Glitch mode. This will give you access to a super move and raise their stats a ton. Fighting some of the later bosses will require you to plot out how use these field bugs effectively, since this time around you don’t have Arata to hack the game and give you more of them once they are used up.
I have to say Death end re;Quest 2 is one of my favorite releases of the year. It takes everything the first game had to offer and refines it into a more streamlined package. It took me around 20 hours to get the True Ending. There are two other endings here as well, but the requirements here are much more obvious than the way the first game handled the endings. I think folks should definitely play the first game before jumping into this one. I loved all the characters here, the combat is still a ton of fun and soundtrack is one of the best out there. The PC version does have a few bugs that need taken care of, but if you have even a passing interest in this series I think you should take the plunge. If you’re a fan of horror with a little bit a fanservice thrown in, you’ll be glad you did!
Game was provided by the publisher.
Compile HeartDeath end re;Quest 2horrorIdea FactorySteam