A Plague Tale: Requiem is one of the most anticipated titles of 2022! This follow-up to the much-loved 2019 hit, A Plague Tale: Innocence, is a must-play game and immediately joins the Game Pass ranks. Accordingly, gamers can get their mitts on this beautiful and captivating experience without spending a penny. However, will it be all hype and no substance, or will it continue from where its predecessor left off?
Developed by Asobo Studio and published by Focus Entertainment, this is an action-adventure title. Furthermore, it has a sombre and melancholy plot that is emotive, and tough to swallow, but incredibly fascinating and rewarding at the same time. You’ll vie for the key protagonists from the off, and fans of the series will adore the familiar gameplay mechanics. However, this doesn’t mean that it sticks entirely to a well-trodden path. No, because it evolves impressively to create a deeper and more fulfilling game to play.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is much of the same, but altogether different as well.
A Plague Tale: Requiem follows the tale of the De Rune siblings, Amicia and Hugo. The brother and sister are bound together by a sense of loyalty and love and will let nothing stand in their way. Yet, a cursed plague haunts the pair, and poor Hugo is inflicted with an illness. Like the first instalment, the family is tracked by the Inquisition and surrounded by black rats, as they try to live a quiet life in 14th-century medieval France. However, this time, the siblings must survive long enough to discover a mysterious island that could cure Hugo of his ailment.
Sounds dramatic, right? Well, that’s because it is! The remarkable story flows beautifully between each chapter. Moreover, new mechanics and special skills are drip-fed as puzzles and challenges become increasingly convoluted. As such, you’ll require guile, logical thinking, an accurate shot, and a fair bit of luck to succeed. Furthermore, fire and light are your best tools to defeat and control the haunting plague of rats.
This may seem extremely familiar if you’ve played the original. Well, I’m not going to lie. Most of the core mechanics are identical. However, the developers have brilliantly tweaked many of these elements and added some new ideas. You’ll note the return of the trusty slingshot, the pots, rocks, and the Ignifier and Extinguis potions. Yet, new equipment, such as tar, a knife, and a crossbow, alters your approach and enhances your choices.
Puzzles, violence, and stealth.
This action-adventure title is unlike many of its peers. Though fighting is an essential survival tool, you are better off hiding in plain sight. Subsequently, the protagonists must use stealth and guile to avoid their opponent’s gaze. Moreover, by jumping through windows, shuffling down gaps, and hiding under tables, you’ll stay safe and live to fight another day. Yet, if things heat up, you can use pots and rocks to distract your foes. Then, if you so wish, you can finish them with your knife, or strangle them to death. On top of this, you may use your slingshot to kill unarmoured mercenaries, or your crossbow to annihilate armoured warriors.
The human-on-human interactions are intertwined with skin-crawling encounters. Wave after wave of black rats stalks the heroes throughout every chapter. Now, this may seem like a horrendous thing, and at first, it is. Yet, you soon realise that you can manipulate the pests to do your bidding. These skin-hungry rodents can be coerced into attacking unwitting victims as you light pyres and shoot animal corpses. This may seem disgusting, but it is a case of you, or them! What’s more, Hugo’s life depends on your unwavering nerve and deadly accuracy.
Alongside this, there are some intricate puzzles that must be solved. Don’t be fooled, though, as these won’t test you to your limits. Instead, they ask you to observe your surroundings and crack a basic code. Consequently, this may seem a little under-baked and refined for some palettes, but I liked the level of difficulty and the minor deviation in the gameplay style. Furthermore, it was an ingenious way of expanding each chapter without slowing the action or frustrating its player base.
What is particularly great about A Plague Tale: Requiem is how Amicia develops depending on your approach. Moreover, Hugo comes into his own as the true power of the Prima Macula comes to the fore. Both of these elements form key components in the flow of the gameplay and the ability to solve puzzles.
If you are stealth-focused, Amicia grows into this role and learns to adapt to the shadows and her surroundings. However, if you prefer the lethal approach, you’ll discover new combat skills and you’ll become more deadly. On top of this, gear can be upgraded throughout and this gives a better chance of survival. Furthermore, making your slingshot stealthier, or being able to recycle resources improves your experience exponentially.
Now, we get to Hugo. He is the weak and often scared boy who’s at the root of all things evil. Yet, he’s not as powerless as he appears, and his strengths are game-changing. With the ability to see through walls and control the plague of rats, he can overwhelm his opponents and carve new paths. This was vastly important, as many problems required you to scythe through reams of stinking rodents or to avoid the attention of the Inquisition. Accordingly, I guess it is the weak underdog Hugo that is actually the hero of this tale.
A Plague Tale: Requiem looks incredible, mostly.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is an undeniably stunning title that’ll blow you away. The depth of colours, the dated accurate medieval imagery, and the eerie melancholy sight of death are incredible to observe. However, occasionally, things went awry. Minor details were off, and the character’s hair looked wrong, the eyes would lack life, and frame rates would drop. But mostly, you experience a flawless, albeit uncomfortable title that deserves to be heralded as a true next-gen performance.
With an amazing array of locations to explore, interesting puzzles to overcome, and a whole roster of characters to see, it is a treat to the eyes. Alongside this, the action is smooth, and I adored how each approach was catered to. If stealth is your thing, each area has oodles of hiding places to exploit. On the flip side, if fighting is your thing, you can easily use your ranged weapons to overpower your enemies. In short, each chapter is perfectly balanced, and neither style is left wanting.
A great adventure title needs an epic soundtrack. Thankfully, A Plague Tale: Requiem delivers just that. With perfectly choreographed audio, you’ll become lost in the moment. Subsequently, this is one dramatic tale that’ll drag you through an array of emotions. However, you won’t mind this as you vie for the protagonists at every opportunity. As such, you’ll “enjoy” dramatic and rich music as you battle the Inquisition or the horde of rats. Alternatively, sombre and softer songs fill the air during touching moments. The music is then complemented nicely by the incredible acting. The spectacular performance of the entire cast is a breath of fresh air.
If you played A Plague Tale: Innocence, you’ll feel comfortable playing A Plague Tale: Requiem. The developers took the approach. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, and this was wonderful. Yet, if you’ve skipped the opening gambit, or you’ve forgotten altogether, it matters not. Thanks to the incredible opening prologue, you’ll enjoy a tutorial that sets the scene. Alongside this, you’ll love the radial menus, the responsive controls, and the clear and easy-to-understand aiming system. In short, it had been incredibly well thought out, and this enhances the experience.
I cherished A Plague Tale: Innocence, but it was just too short. Thankfully, the sequel lasts twice as long, around 25 hours, and that is amazing. If you then consider the variable gameplay styles, you have around 50-60 hours of action to contend with. This is absolutely mind-blowing when you consider that this is a day-one release on Game Pass.
A Plague Tale: Requiem was worth the wait.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a title that doesn’t disappoint. With an incredible storyline and setting, interesting characters, amazing mechanics, and a balanced approach, it ticks every box. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on the first instalment, but I was wrong. The sequel takes every amazing element and creates a moreish and gut-churning game. However, its occasional graphical error detracts from an otherwise polished endeavour. Consequently, I recommend you buy it here! Will you solve the mystery of the healing island? Use your skills and knowledge to overcome adversities and survive each relentless onslaught.