A Plague Tale: Requiem Review – Hauntingly Beautiful

A Plague Tale: Requiem shows us that when it comes to a sequel, sometimes less is more.

A Plague Tale Requiem Review
A Plague Tale Requiem Review

A Plague Tale: Innocence received massive approval back, released in 2019. When the developers of Asobu Studios announced a sequel, everyone was excited. The game was published by Focus home interactive and featured the picturesque setting of France in the 14th century. Of course, madness ensues when the plague takes over the peaceful countryside.

What followed was a game that not only delivers in terms of its narrative but in its overall cinematic gameplay experience. As such, there were a lot of expectations from the sequel.

The development industry is a bit infamous when delivering sequels to good games; history proves that. So when A Plague Tale: Requiem was announced, everyone was a bit skeptical. We hoped it would not fall prey to the same treatment.

Fortunately, the developers delivered, and everything loved about the predecessor was taken up a notch. This includes everything from the graphics to the story. It offers a more gruesome and fantastic experience than ever before.

Let’s dive deep into what A plague tale Requiem is about and how it overshines its predecessor.

What is A Plague Tale: Requiem About?

A Plague Tale Requiem Characters, Hugo and Amicia
The relationship between these two is very interesting.

Similar to its prequel, A Plague Tale requiem is set in the dystopian era in 14th Century France during the 100-year war.

It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world infested by plague rats. You play as Amicia, the strong and protective sister to little brother Hugo. They were once french nobles descended to commoners and now have to survive in this bizarre world.

You traverse through the map solving puzzles and avoiding the hordes of plague rats. You have light sources as your aid while fighting dim-witted soldiers. Players will need stealth techniques to survive in this world. All the while trying to figure out how to keep your family alive.

Over the course, you meet interesting characters, some willing to help you, while some just want to murder you because they are insane sociopaths.

While the setting is quite similar to the previous game, there are a few more NPCs to interact with. Overall, the world feels more alive than before.

Should You Play The Prequel Before Playing A Plague Tale: Requiem?

With the release of this new game and the hype around it, people who did not play the first part are confused about whether they should play this one. Well, the stories are in chronological order, and you are playing the same characters, so playing the prequel will enlighten the experience.

The story of both orphans Alicia and Hugo and how they survived and have reached this point is good to know. But if you cannot play the prequel for some reason, a simple video will catch you up, and you can enjoy the Plague Tale: Requiem as it is.

With that said, we highly recommend playing the original. It is an excellent game in its own right, and that alone is reason enough to give it a shot.

Why The Plague Tale: Requiem Is Better Than Its Predecessor

A Plague Tale Requiem Landscape
The graphics are incredible this time around.

If you enjoyed the first game, you are in good luck. This sequel takes everything the old game had and turns the dial to eleven.

Let’s talk about the story first. If you thought the previous story was sad and grim, buckle up because the Plague Tale: Requiem is so dark and depressing that it makes its predecessor look bright and upbeat. If you thought the main character suffered, get prepared to see the utmost misery and suffering as the game takes you through 2 hours where you are betrayed, hurt, and see people you care about forced to die.

You will be subjected to scenes of horror and grim that will make an average person lose their mind. While playing this game, you’ll grimace now and then. It’s akin to the Last Of Us Part II in that regard.

Remember the gigantic hordes of rats back in the first game? Well, the developers decided to turn that up a notch. The number of rats in the original game was 5000, which was kept that way because of the lacking technology, but with the release of the newer consoles, the rats increased to 20000, that’s 200%.

To sum it up, it’s better because it takes everything great about the first game and focuses on enhancing that same overall experience. It’s a safe approach and does hinder the gameplay a bit, but it works well considering it does not overstay its welcome.

A Terrifying Narrative Experience

A bloody room in the new Plague Tale game
Bloody scenes are not rare in this game.

The writers and developers did not hold back on the plot. The story of both orphans is engaging and dark. It will make you sad but, on the same level, it keeps you on your toes. You never know what’s lurking around the corner, which makes this game similar to an adrenaline rush. It’s a great experience to play.

You start after the last game as Amicia and Hugo, along with some previous characters from the first game. You’re fleeting towards the south to find the truth behind Hugo’s illness, known as the Macula.

Along the way, you meet some interesting characters and have to figure out whether you can trust them. The story is grim and gruesome, but on the other hand, it’s wholesome and beautiful as well. This is because of the relationship between the brother and sister and how Amicia is trying to be vital to protect her little brother from the dangers of this world.

As someone who loved the story from the first game, I can confidently say the developers played their cards right. The writing is phenomenal and will keep you hooked. This is the best part of the game and outshines every other aspect of it by a mile.

What About Gameplay?

Plague Rats in the new plague tale game
As terrifying as the rats are in this game, the hordes are impressive.

The gameplay is similar to its predecessor, it’s a stealth-adventure game, and I know what you are thinking, is it another game where you hide in tall grass and wait for enemies to walk by? Well, yes, but no, Let me explain.

Yes, most of the game moves around hidden areas to catch your enemies by surprise, but the setting is almost beautiful. Since you can be killed with one hit from almost any enemy, it keeps you engaged in finding ways to trail through hordes of enemies while using stealth techniques to save yourself and the stealth kills are super satisfying and well-animated.

Apart from the stealth fights, you go around the map solving puzzles using light sources, keeping the rats away. Every journey is more of a puzzle that needs solving. As you also have some alchemy skills in the game, you can come up with concoctions to help you.

You can throw tar, then light it on fire with an igniter to move the rats out of your way. You have a lot of options when deciding how to traverse the environment. Combat is unique because you can’t fight regularly. Players need to come up with interesting techniques to take on soldiers.

For example, you can use light sources to get the rats away from you, or you can use rocks to blow out the torches of enemy shelters and let the plague rats do the work. This well-thought game design made me fall in love with the first game, and this one does not disappoint.

Unfortunately, it does start to get a bit old at some point. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inherently wrong with the gameplay itself; it’s just that you might expect something new. There are a few new mechanics here and there, like new potions or techniques to lure the rats away from you. However, the overall theme is the same, and that’s where you start to wish they had innovated a bit.

Graphical Fidelity And Optimization

Rats attacking Amicia in Requiem game
Escaping from rats is the norm in this sequel.

I wouldn’t necessarily talk about these two things in the same section. However, you can probably guess where I’m going with this. The studio did not hold back on the graphics. One moment you are traversing through the dark and chilly nights through hordes of rats or stealthily enemy camps or walking through the beautiful and calming fields in the day.

The game will leave you awestruck. Everything like the scenes, the animations, and the atmosphere, are phenomenal. The night scenes are thrilling and scary as you move through enemies, you can feel the fear Amicia is feeling.

Similarly, the daily environment is so well designed they are part of the game where you are just walking through different areas. You can’t help but appreciate the beauty of the game. This is true whether you are in the mid of a battlefield or just walking around a valley.

Unfortunately, while the game looks great, it does suffer from optimization issues. It’s locked at 30fps on all consoles, and the PC performance at launch was downright terrible. Sadly, this is quickly becoming a trend for newer games.

Final Thoughts

Overall, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a fantastic experience through and through. The game delivers on what it set out to achieve. Narrative-wise, it does a good of keeping players hooked.

The story starts to feel very personal, and you quickly take a liking to Amicia and Hugo. Other than that, the side characters are also flushed out very well. On top of that, it is a gorgeous game with a gripping atmosphere.

Gameplay-wise, I would have liked to see some new stuff. While the new mechanics are excellent, they feel like more of an extension of stuff from the previous game. The only real negative with this game is that it is terribly optimized. If you can overlook that, this is a delightful and immersive experience.

A Plague Tale: Requiem Review
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a fantastic sequel to the original dystopian fantasy set in Medieval France. It has an atmosphere and narrative experience that grips you from beginning and does not let go even after it's all over. If it were not for the poor optimization on PC, this would be a strong contender for game of the year. Despite that, this is a game that you don't want to miss.
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