Compile Heart and Idea Factory have made an effort lately to port the last few years of releases to the Nintendo Switch. Ports of games like Megadimension Neptunia VII and Azur Lane: Crosswave have brought some fun experiences to the handheld console at a cost. Most of these games have noticeable performances and visual dips that make the Switch one of the worst ways to experience them. Still, there is some merit in portable JRPGs, so they aren’t complete throwaway experiences.
The latest game to get this treatment is Death End re;Quest a moody JRPG that is often looked at as the best that Compile Heart has to offer. Death End re;Quest follows Shina Ninomiya, a program that gets stuck in the MMORPG that she created. To escape she needs to complete the game with a perfect ending, which is nearly impossible to do. It’s a familiar concept that has been many times before, but originality isn’t what makes Death End re;Quest so enjoyable.
Death End re;Quest balances visual novel segments with typical JRPG segments. In fact, a large chunk of the game is visual novel and story, with the actual gameplay being less than half of the experience. While the story and dialogue are full of cliches, the visual novel segments are enjoyable. They are complemented with solid anime-style art that’s full of detail and visually identifiable characters.
Gameplay is more or less standard fare for the genre, though Death End re;Quest does have a few tweaks to the formula. Battles are turn-based, but players are free to move around to set up big plays. Enemies can be knocked back into other things or characters to deal extra damage. Lining up shots to maximize damage is essential in Death End re;Quest, and can be pretty satisfying. The settings where battles take place also have glitches that can be utilized by players to gain an advantage. Cleaning up glitches results in various buffs and debuffs for players to utilize.
The dungeon designs vary from unique to frustrating. Some dungeons are simply hard to navigate due to everywhere looking identical. These maps will have the player constantly checking doors to see if they are functional or referring to their maps at all times. Exploring these maps is usually a chore regardless of how visually appealing they may be.
Unfortunately, there are unexpected spikes in difficulty throughout the game that just feel unfair. The tutorials also leave a lot to be desired, leaving a lot for the players to discover. Some players will like this, but some systems feel a bit too essential to ignore in tutorials.
The Nintendo Switch version offers new content for players to enjoy. All of the DLC from the original version is packaged in this game. This is mostly limited to items and outfits (Swimsuits and the like), but it’s still a nice inclusion. There is also some Japanese exclusive content that is also included in the Switch version.
As a port, Death End re;Quest is slightly better than the other Compile Heart Switch ports. It holds up well, but it’s noticeably worse than the original when it comes to performance. Environments flicker and frame rates will stutter throughout the entire experience. Also, the game isn’t too pretty on the Switch whether docked or handheld.
While it isn’t a perfect experience, Death End re;Quest is one of the better Compile Heart titles. The performance can be frustrating, but that doesn’t prevent this unique RPG from being a good time.
Death End re;Quest
While it isn't a perfect experience, Death End re;Quest is one of the better Compile Heart titles. The performance can be frustrating, but that doesn't prevent this unique RPG from being a good time.