Death end Re;quest
Passed on: Playstation 4.
Genre: VN(Visual Novel) +JRPG (hybid Turn-Based System)
The beginning of the game doesn't even give you a close idea of what emotional swings await you next.
Sometimes the game is hard to describe in two words, it's so eclectic. It's even rarer to find something that, after AAA blockbusters and niche indie games, chucks you tightly in your chair, carefully spoon-feeding an extraordinary story until you're done playing it, or until morning arrives. That's when the alarm clock goes off, bags swell up under your eyes, and the realization of "Damn! I have to go to work!" comes in.
The dialogue system is very handy: at any time, you can scroll up a branch of messages and see the missed message, or re-read the dialogue if it suddenly turned out to be incomprehensible.
Death end Re;Quest is hard to spot in a digital storefront. It's easy to miss amongst the sales and countless big-budget game reviews. It is monstrously under-reported on Runet. You can hardly find one or two reviews on the web, and they are on low-popular resources. And it's not fair: in fact the plot - it's the most brutal mixture of elements of horror, conspiracy theories, occultism, everyday life of a developer (!), weak efforts to seasoned drama psychologically and, oddly enough, the first Matrix at the junction of Sword Art Online and... Evangelion. To characterize in a more capacious word such a crazy, but workable thriller mix, it is resolutely impossible. Rumor has it that in terms of atmosphere it bears a remarkable resemblance to Corpse Party, something connoisseurs will probably appreciate.
Ripuka. A local psychopath who divides elves and all living things into at least two.
The game even begins with the bloody and merciless death of the protagonist and a calm, languid, somber voice-over, thoroughly relishing a description of how she feels at that moment. Alternating storytelling and moving through small locations with regular combat and uncomplicated gathering, the game tries its best to drag through a whole kaleidoscope of emotions - and it works throughout the entire playthrough.
Breakfast of blood with a donut? No. Just one of the initially stupefying plot twists that, ten hours later, will punch you in the back of the head with the truth of what happened.
The first three hours in the company of excellent English dubbing had me so captivated and drawn in, that at the end of the Share play session, arranged by a friend, I immediately ran to buy the game at the PS Store for full price and with extras-bonuses. And this is no joke.
The story begins seemingly uncomplicated: a young programmer, Arata Mizunashi, working at a game studio specializing in AI and VR development, suddenly receives an email from a colleague who has been missing for a year, Sina Ninomiya.
Sina Ninomiya is in virtual reality, trying to realize herself.
Then, suddenly, he finds her logged into the server of a game they once developed, but now abandoned and unfinished. Once logged in, he discovers Sina, who has lost her memory and thinks she is one of the NPCs, in virtual reality. And at this point, the bizarrely executed flywheel of history gradually comes into motion: a colleague must be rescued. And manage to find her body.
Each character here has at least two layers of backstory: from the second bottom there may still be knockers!
DeRQis full of harmoniously stitched together contrasts, using Dungeon Crawler mechanics while navigating a world cut into separate locations and the concept of the visual novel as a means of presenting the story, framed by good, pleasant artwork. During skirmishes with enemies, the game switches to a turn-based three-act JRPG with free movement during the turn and elements of almost pinball. Let me explain: enemies can be sent into a painful flight against corners and allies, and they, in turn, with great pleasure will give them a savory kick, sending them flying further.
About like thisMoreover, with the help of
hacks and glitches you can change the genre of battle to, for example, shooter or slot machine, and stepping on the buggy areas and overloading your ally with "infection" you can enter the glitch mode: the character will glitch, he will lose his mind and cause the enemy colossal damage with a spectacular surrealistic skit.
Everything here is genuinely gamer-inspired: full of characteristic slang, everything in the "virtual world" is subject to video-game laws, and in the "real" one often plays around with itish and gaming situations and jokes.
Some opponents are really huge. And some are also, at that, of a bad character >_<.
Likewise with the plot, which is heavily emphasized: it is eerily heterogeneous, and can make you nervous, and even scare you if you allow yourself to go deep into this leisurely, thoughtful narrative, remembering to turn out the light in the room. As for the plot twists, of which there are many, they will truly delight fans of "these twists and turns. Most of my conjectures about the nature of the local paranormal shattered mercilessly on the rocks of truth. Complementing the splendor is the vocabulary-rich and expressive English with excellent localization from the original Japanese: even the distraction of searching for an unfamiliar word in Google Translate doesn't break the feel of the story.
Acting wisely and taking into account your enemy's weaknesses, you can "take out" everyone in one move.
Music in DeRQforms a significant part of the atmosphere and keeps up with the rest of the components, representing a vinaigrette of gloom-dark sound, which at different moments is replaced by very aggressively constructed "metal" tracks alternately with excellent original electronic compositions, diluted with instrumental, traditional ambient.
The surprise was the one track, more frequent closer to the finale, which is so, in a good way, reminiscent of the music from Nier Automata, that you wonder at the full width of your eyes.
Every major boss here has his own insanity and a very... appropriate appearance.
What you really regret after finishing the game is the modest resources allocated for development: they were clearly not enough to show the full scope of events in dynamics. DeRQis a classic "AA" class Japanese game. That is, it is a mid-budget product, which was a lot in the nineties and early noughties, and which are almost gone in the era of PS3/X360. And even in the design of its locations can be noted small "generic ills": the last level in terms of design, music and the use of "field" mechanics heroines looks more advantageous and interesting than many of those that occur before. And the location itself is fun to go through, which is a rarity in JRPGs, because usually by this point the designers just pile up a bunch of confusing monotonous mazes and twisted gutsy corridors.
Here and there are impassable places scattered throughout the locations, which must be overcome using the "field skills" of all the heroines available in the party.Someone can fly, someone can destroy obstacles, someone can create a shield and run over lava.
And what's most paradoxical: for all its chimera-like nature, DeRQdoes not disappoint, it surprises, makes you speculate and get lost in speculation. Some may find it boring, or overwhelming. To some deeply sophisticated - stuffed with clichés of mid-budget fiction and urban legends. However, in both cases it will be an extremely superficial look at its essence, I can assure you of that.
But if Death end Re;Questcatches on - and it can - it won't let go until the grand finale, recouping every penny spent on it. And there are plenty of ending options, according to the laws of the genres mixed in it.
I sincerely hope I was able to convey my excitement and motivate you to take a closer look.
Thank you for listening!