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.
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