Review – Death End Re;Quest 2

Anime games are EVERYWHERE this month. It’s the perfect time to be a weeb, with the likes of Captain Tsubasa and Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? both getting new games. One that’s not based on an actual anime, though (and maybe should be), is Death End Re;Quest 2. If this is the first time you’re hearing of it, that’s right, there’s already one other game in the series to explore. I suppose the real question is though, is there a point to exploring it?

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The imagery is definitely… Interesting.

First things first with Death End Re;Quest 2, a massive trigger warning for the opening of this game. The introduction to the game, and the main protagonist Mai, is a voice acted, panel-by-panel scene involving domestic abuse. Starting a game on such a brutal and intense note instantly gave me high hopes for this game’s narrative. This scene can be tough to sit through, but even tougher is what comes after: another hour and a half of narrative, but everything that was being built up is torn down by making Mai nothing more than a snooty teenager. I’m not kidding about the hour and a half of narrative by the way; unless you skip the dialogue, there’s at least two hours of story before you get to do anything in the game.

The first actual thing you’ll get to do once control is finally claimed is make a decision… of whose cutscene you want to enter next. Everything during the game’s day time is simple: different cutscenes around the city and school you’re attending, attempting to solve a mystery that is so slow to progress. Don’t be too surprised if you zone out of the majority of the actual objective.

The second objective is to play a very physical game of pinball. Instead of a ball, you have monsters, and replacing bumpers is a cleaver, sword, gun, etc. The night time in Death End is its real RPG portion, running around a mostly cut off, dark and (canonically and intentionally) glitchy version of the village you live in.

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The general starting spot for each fight

Each night of Death End just basically of throws you into it. You’ll generally re-explore everything you’ve done so far, plus progress a bit further up until a boss. The bosses in Death End range from weird grass monsters that look like a gross Venusaur, to a small faceless child. Possibly even a dragon, there’s not really a whole lot of rhyme or reason. Most bosses become regular enemies in the next night time run or two anyways.

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A little bit of ping-pong later

When in a fight, the battlefield turns into a small-ish ring. Most attacks you have cause knockback, and when an enemy bounces off another enemy, the edge of the ring, or yourself or one of your teammates, they take extra damage. Your general goal will be to overkill enemies as much as possible, because they grant extra experience points. Overlevelling is commonplace as a result. Each turn in a fight is split up into three actions. If you simply choose “attack”, you’ll attack three times in a row, with the last attack causing a knockback. On the other side you also have spells. Spells are crazy strong, and mixing and matching spells can have different effects or even cause your character to learn new ones. This battle system is easily the smartest thing in Death End.

The music to Death End is actually pretty monotonous, much like the story. Given the bleak world, it does make sense to some extent. On top of that, the characters saying the same phrases like “let’s do it” over and over again will likely drive you so insane to the point of probably wanting to play the game on mute. Once you hit a point of being even slightly overleveled, every fight will last one attack. Your characters don’t have a very large pool of phrases to start and end the battle with. It becomes almost intentionally annoying.

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Glitch mode, activate!

The battle system being the best thing about Death End Re;Quest 2 is good, because it’s the main thing you’ll be doing. On the other hand, with the way this game starts, I was genuinely invested in the story until Mai just became another sulky, edgy, boring anime protagonist. All in all, Death End Re;Quest 2 was a fun game with an interesting and unique set of battle mechanics, but the story, and consequently my enjoyment, fell flat solely due to the poor writing. The lack of difficulty also bored after a while.

Graphics: 5.0

Death End Re;Quest 2 looks nice during actual gameplay sections, but falls into the standard anime game trope of having no actually animated cutscenes.

Gameplay: 5.0

The night sections and battle mechanics are intuitive, but the daytime sections are rough. If you’re exploring the whole lore of Death End Re;Quest 2, you’ll also have to deal with an insane amount of dialogue cutscenes.

Sound: 3.5

The music is dreary, which matches the tone of the game. Most the (annoying) voice clips uttered through the game are constantly repeated, though, so you’re more likely to play without sound.

Fun Factor: 4.5

At the end of the day, Death End Re;Quest 2 is a very middle of the road JRPG/Anime game. With better writing, or even less writing, this likely would have stood up a bit higher.

Final Verdict: 4.5

Death End Re;Quest 2 is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC

Reviewed on PlayStation 4.

A copy of Death End Re;Quest 2 was provided by the publisher.