Death End re;Quest – Review
Follow Genre: JRPG
Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Death End re;Quest – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Epic mind-blowing story, gorgeously drawn cutscenes, good music
Bad: unbalanced gameplay-to-cutscene ratio, Story drags on, Atrocious enemy A.I.
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Death End re;Quest is a JRPG developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, and is published by Idea Factory International. It is available exclusively on PlayStation 4. Get ready for an epic adventure, filled with mind-blowing twists and turns, where reality is merely a relative concept. 

Story

The game starts of with a disturbing sequence, that seems to be a flashback, or flash forward. We see our main protagonist, Shina, brutally slain by a giant monstrosity. After this intense and confusing intro, we start the game peacefully with Shina at her home, suffering from amnesia. She remembers she’s an aspiring adventurer and heads to Heartis Castle. On the way there she meets a merchant, named Rook, who explains what has happened the last year. The Entoma Scourge, a curse from the gods, rained down on the planet. A giant monstrosity named Heaven’s Messenger was sent and wiped out most of existence. People who were cursed with the Entoma, died and were transformed into monsters, named Martyrs. 

When things get hairy for Shina, an external voice guides her to safety. It appears to be a Arata Mizunashi, a developer who works at Enigma Games, who claims to have worked on a game named World’s Odyssey, and helped create the world Shina is currently adventuring in. He also claims that Shina is actually a real person too, who worked closely with him on the game as its director, and has been missing for months now. Shina is understandably confused, as will you be as the player. This is where the game gets unconventional, and interesting. The main premise of the story is that Shina is actually a real person trapped in the virtual world of World’s Odyssey, a computer game that only reached an alpha state and was supposed to be offline. Atrata and Shina find out that dying in the fictional world can override Shina’s VR helm, causing lethal brain damage, and the only way to save Shina, is to actually progress the game and reach the Ending Engage, the game’s true ending, where she will have to fight and defeat Heaven’s Messenger and by doing so, she will finally be freed of her virtual self and wake up in the real world. Together they travel through all the places in World’s Odyssey, meeting up with, weirdly lively, NPCs who join the party and accompany Shina and Atrata, who has implemented himself in the game in the form of Enigma’s lovable bear mascotte. You will have to follow Shina in the monster-filled fantasy world of World’s Odyssey, and Atrata in the real world, set in Japan, where he tries to uncover the many secrets surrounding Shina’s disappearance. 

Initially the game starts with a ton of exposition and starts out really slow. After the fourth chapter or so, the game starts to pick up. One of the biggest gripes you can have in this game is the ratio of actual gameplay and cutscenes, where you will sometimes have to watch twenty minutes of cutscenes, then you’ll play for fifteen minutes and yes, you’ve guessed it, another cutscene follows. The story is epic. It will take about thirty-five hours to complete, and it would’ve felt less dragged out if it moved along a bit faster and there wasn’t so much exposition and unnecessary dialogue in-between sections of gameplay. 

Graphics

To discuss the graphics in Death End re;Quest, we will have to address certain aspects of the game separately. On one hand, you have the cutscenes, where beautifully drawn characters are facing you, with stunning scenery on the background. Although the characters are meant to speak to each other and move around, you can only see the a couple of different character models, in typical over-the-top anime clothing, facing the camera, standing next to each other, while many boxes of text display the conversation between the characters. The downside is that, when the game is basically one long cutscene after another, you get tired of having to read the whole story, with only limited visual stimulation.

On the other hand, for some reason, some cutscenes in the game are fully animated. Because the visuals of these kind of cutscenes are “in-game”, the graphics are less impressive and less detailed.  The graphics inside the dungeons are basic, not extremely detailed, but still very visually appealing, with intended visual glitches here and there, to give the player the feeling of adventuring in an unfinished buggy game. 

Sound

Before the game’s main title screen appears, the players are greeted by an impressive opening movie sequence, introducing all the characters, but even more impressive is the Japanese vocal track that plays during. The music in the game is a mix of many different styles, each fitting their representative scene. We can hear a soft innocent piano track when the main characters are somewhere safe, for example, at a campfire surrounded by friends, or we can hear a more fast-paced heavy metal-type or techno-type of song when there is a battle to be fought. Each level or dungeon has its own track, often trying to capture the vibe of its surroundings, and succeeding. Many RPG games often contain great soundtracks and Death End re;Quest definitely makes no expectation. The voice acting however, feels very uneven. Only a few parts in the game are voiced and it often feels very random. A silent cutscene follows a voiced and then cuts back to a silent one. 

Gameplay

Death End re;Quest is a JRPG, and it offers all the basics you’ve come to expect of a good JRPG. Let’s talk about the battle system in this game first. Death End re;Quest uses the old-school Turn-Based Battle System, meaning that each character, and each monster, take turns using a command, which is an optimal battle system for a more tactical approach. The flow of battle in this game is consistent, but unfortunately, that means that most battles play out the same. You can use a series of three consecutive commands, this can be a physical attack, a magical attack, a supportive spell, using an item or guarding yourself. Each character you play with has a unique move-set, and by combining certain moves, a character can learn new moves. Some attacks, after the third blow has been dealt, will initiate a Knock-Back attack, which pushes the enemy away, and when it hits the battlefield’s edge, it will receive bonus damage, and when pushed into another character, that character will react with an additional Knock-Back attack. 

Atrata can help you from behind his computer in the real world. He can change the code, which changes the layout of the map, for example, by turning all field bugs into field bugs of the type of your choice, or he can change the genre of the battle, initiating a mini-game that deals damage to enemies. He can also summon an Entoma Queens, which is one of the giant bosses you have previously defeated. Later in the game, you will able to go to a special place where you can upgrade Atrata’s attacks and summons, by spending rare items found all across the game. 

Later in the game, when you have met multiple characters that join your party, you will be able to switch between characters mid-battle, but there can only be three characters fighting at the same time. Each character has a corruption level, that increases with each blow it receives. When that percentage reaches above 80 percent, your character will be able to enter Glitch Mode. With this ultimate, characters briefly transform into vibrant, almost completely naked versions of themselves, increasing their stats, allowing them to use an ultimate flashy high damage attack. Although the nakedness is completely and ridiculously unnecessary, it still remains satisfying to watch every time a character transforms. 

By running freely in dungeons, you can see enemies walk around in the map. By initiating the battle yourself, you can start a “Good Encounter”, which means you have a pre-emptive strike and all enemies are huddled together. If an enemy initiates a battle however, you start a “Bad Encounter”, which means the monsters will have the chance to attack first, and all of them are spread out and there are more field bugs on the battlefield, making for a much harder battle to win. The game has a great variety of monsters, each very different from one another. Boss-fights are extremely challenging, each boss encounter is increasingly terrifying. There are three types of enemies; Star-, Moon- and Sun-types, which you will have to take in account when deciding which attack to use. Some enemies will weigh more, meaning they cannot be pushed back with a Knock-Back attack. Unfortunately, as said before, most battles play out the same and although battles can be challenging, the enemy’s AI is atrocious. The game is somewhat challenging on Normal difficulty, but aside from a few times you will hit a game over, you fluently progress the game. Hard difficulty is where the real challenge is, with less experience and funds gained, and tougher Martyrs to beat. 

Following the game’s story, you’ll visit several dungeons. Each dungeon is filled with unique monsters and has multiple branching paths, leading to secret areas, where you can often find chests, filled with healing items, special items used for upgrading Atrata’s abilities, or weapons and accessories to buff your characters. At the end of each dungeon, when you’ve found the key item needed to progress the story, you will have to defeat an Entoma Queen, a giant boss-fight, after which the story will lead you to the next dungeon. You can always re-visit dungeons to collect more loot, find all the chests and uncover all the secret passageways. 

Conclusion

Death End re;Quest is an epic JRPG, but isn’t perfect. The visuals and music are fine and fit the narrative well. The drawn cutscenes are better than the actual in-game ones, but there are just to many of them, making the transitions between actual gameplay and non-active scenes feel very unbalanced. The game will take you about thirty-five hours to complete, and although it sometimes drags on a bit, the story offers moments of pure greatness, filled with mind-blowing ideas and suspense, but there are unfortunately also some less memorable moments that feel like filler. You’re guaranteed to feel like you’ve read an entire book by the end of it, but the conclusion, and the game in general is extremely, and weirdly, satisfying. Although having its apparent flaws, it’s highly recommended you try it, if you’re a fan of the genre. 

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Death End re;Quest - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
GlennVR
GlennVR


"I do not have the gospel of faith to share with you today. I have, and I offer.. the Gospel of Doubt." - G.O.D

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