A Plague Tale: Requiem (2022) Review

A Plague Tale: Requiem is a survival horror/stealth game developed by Asobo Studios and is a sequel to 2019’s excellent Plague Tale: Innocence, the game released in 2022 for the PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC and a cloud based version for Nintendo Switch.

6 months after the events of Innocence the De Rune family and Lucas are still on the road living in a house provided by the Order, Hugo has had his macula under control but due to stress brought on by a recent conflict he loses control and the rats come back. This time the power of the macula is much worse than before, it is slowly taking over Hugo and becoming a major threat to not only France but could easily spread world wide if not destroyed. The family are sent on a boat to Marseille but soon split up when conflicting opinions on whether Hugo needs to die or not cause a rift between Amicia and her mother, in a desperate bid to find a cure for her brothers illness her and Hugo head to the Island of La Cuna looking for a cure to the Macula, this island had only ever been seen before in Hugo’s dreams but does it really hold all of the answers?

The gameplay here is very similar to the previous entry, Amecia and co will be needing to sneak their way through most of this journey, the most common enemies are soldiers and with her trusty sling shot Amecia is able to easily kill those without helmets, unlike the first game this entry actually encourages different styles of play including violence, opportunism and remaining unseen, opportunism was my favourite because I like to collect anything I see and did find myself using found materials in crafts and alchemy.

In the game you can craft various secondary abilities including fire, extinguisher, flammable tar, and odor to attract rats. I used extinquish the most to easily take out enemies with the rats while still remaining out of ear shot. Speaking of rats now that Hugo’s power is revealed we can control the creatures in the majority of times they appear, the rats will eat Amecia alive but Hugo can take control to send them to the enemy soldiers instead.

A new whipping mechanic was added, it only appears every now and again as a way to get Amecia out of a pile of rats and has very limited use, it helped me more than once but ultimately it took away from the games difficulty when compared to innocence.

The chapters are still on set linear paths but there is more room for trying different strategies with larger and more open areas that hide more than their fair share of herbarium collectibles (now including feathers) and the larger areas giving players the chance to build up the three different playing styles.

A new collectible here is the souvenirs, these are hidden secrets in chapters that will trigger special dialogue and cutscenes between characters.

Visually the game is gorgeous on PS5 and is a vast improvement when compared to Innocence, with the success of the previous game it seems a higher budget was used here to give us a more more visually inspiring experience and while the differences between the two games are only small Requiems small adjustments such as more realistic skin tones, clothing textures and giving the rats more believable fur really does make a massive difference.

Olivier Deriviere returns to commit to the composition once again, the soundtrack really is fantastic and remains dark and eerie and giving off a vibe of loss, in the first game loneliness was a key element to the story and the soundtrack helped to emphasise those feelings and here while this part of Amecia and Hugo’s journey sees a lot more allies and new friends a new type of loss is clear, being lost on what to do and losing loved ones is definitely key to the story telling, while the soundtrack barely differs in style to innocence its adaptability works well for the emotional story telling of the narrative and in many ways it has a bigger impact on this story because as players we have had enough time throughout the two games to get attached to these characters.

After finishing Innocence I could not wait to get my hands on Requiem to see the next part of Amecia and Hugo’s journey, the game did not disappoint but also gave me something I never expected, one part of this game made me emotional and even got me to shed tears, I wont spoil which part but I rarely cry at games so this was unexpected, I think its mostly due to the games writing and how they get the players to connect with these characters and only want to see the best outcome for them.

Requiem is a fantastic game and I recommend playing it providing you finish Innocence first due to this being the second part to that already very story driven game.

9/10

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A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019) Review

A Plague Tale Innocence is the first game in a new video game series from developers Asobo Studios, It was published in 2019 by Focus Interactive for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with a PS5, Xbox Series X/S releases coming out in 2021 Cloud based releases also came out for the Nintendo Switch and Amazon Luna. I played the PS5 version of the game so my opinions are mostly based on that version of the game.

The game takes place between the years 1348 and 1349 in France during the Black Plague and the 100 year war. You play the game as Amicia De Rune who is trying to escape the French Inqusition who want to take away her sick 5 year old brother Hugo so they can run experiments on him due to something in his blood. Since the game also takes place during the plague outbreak avoiding infected rats is also a major key to survival.

The game has a very high focus on stealth, in fact I would argue that this is almost the entire game, I dont mind stealth but I have always struggled with it and normally die a whole bunch which was no different here. I was surprised with how much I actually really enjoyed the stealth gameplay though.

I like how the entire experience is like a puzzle, you can attack enemies with your slingshot to kill them but throughout your journey you do unlock new ways to use your sling with a crafting system, you can make fire, extinguish flames and do an attack that forces soldiers to remove their helmets.

You can even find other ways to get rid of enemies such as throwing rocks and pots to lure them away from your location or you can create a sleeping solution to knock them out, the goal of the game is not to avoid violence but to avoid being seen and it is really fun to figure out different ways to achieve this. Hugo makes this difficult because he is only a child and gets upset if you go too far away from him so for the majority of the game you are holding his hand and need to be sneaky while also making sure to keep him safe as well.

The way that rats work is they only attack in the dark and always come out in groups that will eat you alive. You need to stay in the light or find other ways to distract them, I don’t want to spoil too much but one way to distract the rats is to encourage them to eat the enemies, you can do this by extinguishing enemy fires or by throwing a smelly solution at the French Soldiers to over-empower your own scent. As for Hugo’s secret blood and abilities I wont discuss them in this review as that would be a major spoiler for the game but I will go into a lot more detail when we discuss the upcoming sequel.

Sometimes during the game you have allies that you need to command to help you take out enemies or finish puzzles, this doesn’t happen too often but whenever did happen the game was clear with its hints and I didn’t have too much trouble.

The game looks great visually it fits the theme of desolation, loss and fear that a lot of people had during the time period, the abandoned villages and mass hysteria of certain groups reminds me of the early days of something we all had to suffer through recently and I want to make it clear that in my spare time I am a massive history fanboy. The Black Plague is something I have researched a lot over the years and while of course this is a video game so it does over exaggerate certain things it is what I would expect from a game based during those troubling times. It even makes an effort to be somewhat historically accurate, above you can see white crosses on the doors and in the game Amecia explains that people in those houses have been locked in as they have caught the plague and this is actually true to historical evidence although the crosses were more commonly painted in either red or black.

The soundtrack for the game was composed by Olivier Deriviere a French videogame composer best known for the Alone in the Dark Series. The Music here is very eerie and gives off chilling vibes of loneliness and an odd sense of calm. There isn’t really a lot of big action in the game so the music tends to fit the slower pace with it’s composition and while I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to listen to it I do appreciate what we were given and I look forward to seeing if the composition changes much in the sequel.

A Plague Tale Innocence is best described as a great experience but not one you would really want to revisit straight away, the core gameplay is really good and it works to tell a fantastic and emotional story of two struggling siblings during one of the most horrific pandemics in History. The biggest issue with the game is that it is much too linear, there are collectables but for the most part you are on one path with very little room for exploration, I wish there was more too it perhaps some side quests or morale choices that effect the outcome of your journey, maybe the possibility to play the game in co-op would have been a good addition considering that out of the entire story only a handful of chapters focus on one character.

The game is one of the more affordable options for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, in fact I got this sealed for a measly £20 and for that price its a bargain, I just hope the next chapter in the adventures of Amecia and Hugo just offers a little bit extra and that big reveal at the end plays a much bigger role next time.

7/10

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Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com