Published on October 18th, 2022 | by James Wright
A Plague Tale Requiem Review #XSX
Summary: A Plague Tale Requiem ... unleash the RATS!
After escaping their devastated homeland, Amicia and Hugo travel far south, to new regions and vibrant cities where there, they attempt to start a new life and control Hugo’s curse. But, when Hugo’s powers reawaken, death and destruction return in a flood of devouring rats. Forced to flee once more, the siblings place their hopes in a prophesized island that may hold the key to saving Hugo.
… Welcome to A Plague Tale Requiem!
He never would have made it past the rats. He hates rats. He’s scared to death of them.
– Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade)
The sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence has returned as we are reunited with siblings Amicia and Hugo de Rune that after attempting to find a new life, trouble has once again followed them as we return to the wondrous yet at times frightful gaming world created by Asobo Studio. Best of all, the elements that made the first game such a memorable experience are still included in the sequel, A Plague Tale Requiem, however everything ha been amped up to another level courtesy of the architecture of next-gen consoles and the PC.
Set in 14th century Franc, A Plague Tale Requiem is set a few months after the ending of the previous game where the siblings are travelling to the southeast of France in order to find a cure for Hugo’s curse. Without spoiling the story, the narrative of Requiem is brilliant as is the characterisation of these children. If you LOVED the first game, you will thoroughly enjoy this extremely well made sequel. For those that haven’t played the original, the devs give you just enough information to still enjoy your time in this beautifully crafted game.
Additionally, stealth plays an important part to the story, including some clever puzzles to be solved along the way that can at times be quite nerve wracking. Additionally combat feels more purposeful and realistic, especially from the point of view of the characters with each human kill having an emotional toll that turns to hatred and rage for Amicia.
For the player, this change in Amicia is understandable and really makes the character grow and this shapes who she becomes in Requiem. I also like how these characters are portrayed as a teenager and a child which means men are stronger, so you need to think carefully (when you can) on how to defeat them such as using the environment to cover and if you get close, you do have a counter defensive option.
Further supporting the combat is the diversity on how you take your combatants down and whether that is the humble sling, a knife for backstabbing, an even deadlier crossbow or something in the environment, it definitely draws on your adrenaline at times. Traps are another option! Then you have the use of fire which not only works with combat but also used with some of the puzzles, including a much more concise use of crafting to support the de Rune children with their quest.
As to Hugo, his powers (curse) have grown since the original game and the ability to control the rats, particularly the increased numbers is an interesting twist. Also, the realistic way they move (the rats) just enhances that experience as you explore and use them to take down your enemies in some gruesome ways. Oh… kudos to Asobo Studio’s use of audio, particularly when you hear those hordes of thousands upon thousands of rats.
Another addition is the ability to see enemies through walls that does have parallels to Rocksteady’s Batman games but it also works well for A Plague Tale Requiem. As you progress in the game, you are awarded new skills and abilities that adds another layer of interactivity and ownership to how you play the game. Great stuff!
Graphically, the title looks amazing on the Xbox Series X and according to Nicholas Becavin from Asobo Studio, the original game could feature 5,000 rats at once, however in Requiem, there is an astonishing 300,000 rats which literally creates a tsunami of these rodents. Additionally, environments are considerably more detailed (& larger) as are the characters that you face, including protagonists Amicia and Hugo who look even more lifelike with realistic facial expressions.
Lighting plays a key component to the game which really helps you become immersed in the dangerous plight of our two young heroes. Add in weather effects, bustling cities and the beautiful French countryside and there is quite a bit of variety for the areas that you explore. Complementing the visuals is the immersive soundtrack, professional voice acting and of course sound effects that really make this title a pure next-gen experience.
A Plague Tale Requiem is one of the must play games of 2022 on the Xbox Series X and if you enjoyed the original or looking for something different yet totally enjoyable, this next-gen experience from Asobo Studio will keep you invested from start to finish.