RPG file: Death end re; Quest 2 Review

Looking at the website of the developer/publisher, Idea Factory Co., it is easy to see that they are subject matter experts in all things anime related. You can’t help but be impressed by the anime-inspired titles listed on their website. In fact, some of these I’ve reviewed for other sites and others I’ve considered buying at some point. Their latest landmark is the portal of the JRPG anime, Death end re: Quest 2 on the Nintendo Switch console. These dark, mature audiences just indulge in a few game styles which is enjoyable but clearly not perfect.

When I was younger, even though I was a big fan of manga, I was never really interested in the anime genre. Whether it’s books in the form of manga, shows, video games, etc., the concept of anime never crossed my mind. Sure, in my early years of playing video games on Nintendo, I would play my fair share of all the popular JRPGs. But it wasn’t until I became a game journalist, or perhaps a little older and wiser, that I pursued anime-inspired games instead of avoiding them. Perhaps now that I am older I can appreciate the details and nuances of the art form.

When I was offered the opportunity to review Death end re: Quest 2 I would have assumed it was purely an anime inspired JRPG. Obviously, I was uneducated in this game and probably didn’t read the clear print because I’ve been in the game for an hour and haven’t seen a single frame of combat. Then I realized that I was entering a visual novel experience with RPG elements interwoven into it. And I’m fine with that because I’ve reviewed some of the visual novels and enjoyed them. But the inpatient gamers out there may not have the same tolerance. It’s a case of knowing what you’re buying before you buy, hopefully insights will be met by reviews like this one.

Personally, I never played the first game in Death end re: Quest so I can’t say how this one compares to the first one. Death end re: Quest 2 seems to be a self-contained story. It’s safe to say that based on some scenes, themes, and dialogue the story in this game is intended for a mature audience.

Dialogue and scenes like this make it a game only for mature audiences.

The story revolves around our protagonist Mai, along with her older sister, coming from an abusive background that included both physical and sexual abuse from her father. The opening scenes are traumatic as Mai is pushed to her limits and causes a frenzy that ends with excessive measures taken against her father. Let’s just say, without trying to be funny, she said all “Lizzie Borden” about her father.

An independent orphan, Mai is living at Wordsworth Academy. This is a home for abandoned and abused teenage girls. But she’s also there with an ulterior motive, which is the hope of finding her long-lost sister. The academy seemed too good to be true at first. During the day, everything is relatively calm and when night falls, things like missing girls, strange sounds happen, etc.

The story plays out as you imagine the fury of a troubled, beaten up teenager who finds it difficult to make friends and is forced to do so. Also, along the way, she accidentally makes enemies or too “just because”. And throughout this story is where the visual novel parts begin with an anime-inspired paper doll presentation. You probably know the pattern in which character models and backgrounds are often repeated but with a different dialog (probably more related to trying to manage the game’s footprint).

The anime artwork is as beautiful as one would expect in the novel scenes.

Some jokes are a bit childish at some point but for the most part it can be read quickly and serves its purpose. Some storyboards are supplemented with occasional English voiceovers to help break the monotony of reading for your non-professional readers. Even so, these voiceovers seem to have a bit of a problem in handheld mode. I played the review on a newer OLED system with “improved sound”. Unfortunately, Mai’s dialogue seems messy and low-volume in contrast to other characters in the still scene. Luckily, I’ve used the on-screen text version in those cases.

Eventually, Mai discovers that the girls of the academy sneak out at night to witness the horrible, deadly monsters that roam the streets of Le Choara town. Mai decides to follow them, and this is where the fighting takes place, in the night scenes.

From a third-person perspective, you’ll search areas of town for clues and the like. This is where you’ll encounter monsters roaming the streets, where you’ll engage in turn-based combat in a similar way to Pokémon play game. At first, Mai was only solo, but later on, she could organize a 3-person party.

The combat system is where the game really shines. Each encounter takes place in a circular arena, and you’ll be initially presented with a top-down view to begin your game plan. In one turn, you can move on the battlefield to get a specific position. Also, in one turn, you can choose and line up up to three skills (aka the Triact System) to create unique skill chains. Sometimes combining three skills together leads to the creation of a new skill that is completely reusable so that the system fosters creativity.

Combat is where games shine

You have the typical attack skills and healing skills, but you will also have knockdown damage attacks. This type of attack pushes one enemy to another or knocks them off the edges of the arena like a bizarre game of pendulum or marbles.

During your turn in battle the camera is in free form so you can see all angles plus attack skill you can choose your direction and see the areas you will make contact. In the overhead view, you’ll see instructions on where your skills will be directed and hit.

You’ll also notice some colored circles, or cursed bugs, on the field. They can affect you and the opposing crowd. You can run through these effects, viewed using ZR, during your turn to collect some and if you mob through these effects in a re-spin sequence they will also remove them from the battlefield. So there are several strategies to encounter as well.

Pull out the camera in battle

One of the biggest complaints is that the third-person perspective looks “raw”. I know this is a horror game in some respects but the town of Le Choara looks rendered with blurry textures and jagged edges with some frame rate issues. If the graphics disparity issues have perhaps been more apparent since I played on the newer Nintendo Switch OLED model, I can’t say.

Town maps also have a relatively typical layout. Some exploratory activities are encouraged as there are canned items to find and a computer can hack into which will give you access to the security cameras. After entering the security camera system, you can rotate to find hidden items and entrances. While I appreciate the creative effort, the hack is less thrilling than it sounds.

Typical 3D environment with map screens, items to pick up and mobs to encounter.

Even with Death end re; Quest 2Visual issues, combat system, and skill keep the game interesting. It’s so much fun to watch the monsters slam into each other and bounce off the walls of the arena just like participating in a game Beyblades. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into as there’s some downtime when experiencing the game’s beautiful visual novel parts.

Disclosure: A copy of this title was provided by PR for the purposes of this review. RPG file: Death end re; Quest 2 Review

Fry Electronics Team

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