In our spoiler-free review of A Plague Tale: Requiem, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the second part of the medieval action adventure. The still innocent-looking first part gives way to a more aggressive style and shows in its almost 20 hours of gameplay how beautiful and cruel the world at the time of the black plague can bee.
Here’s what’s going on: on October 18, Asbo Studio will release the second part of the acclaimed medieval adventure, A Plague Tale. In addition to the already familiar sneaky passages, Amicia and her comrades-in-arms will become more aggressive and defensive than ever before. The rats from part one are also back. They now descend on towns and villages in meter-high waves. The animals are more aggressive, more intelligent, and can climb. The time of innocence from the first part (Innocence) is over. It is the time of the requiem – the mass for the dead.
At the same time, everything starts quite peacefully. Temporally only a few months after the conclusion of the first part.
Amicia and Hugo have arrived in Provence with their mother and the alchemy apprentice Lucas. The Inquisitors, who hunted our heroes so vehemently in the first part, have lost their trail further north. So they enjoy the summer in the beautiful south of France. The children are playing hide and seek in the lavender fields, and you can feel the warm air on your skin. Smell the fragrance of the lavender oil. Everything is picturesquely beautiful and peaceful.
Hugo even befriends a boy his own age when he plays with Amicia by the river. Brother and sister often fool around with each other and Amicia spoils her “King Hugo”, as she calls him at every opportunity. Through these shenanigans, the controls of A Plague Tale are once again recalled, or rather, new players are shown how to use the sneak and slingshot.
What is also noticeable; the burden of the past and what has just been experienced have not passed without a trace on the children, also in the literal sense. Both have fine scars on their faces from previous battles.
Review: A Plague Tale: Innocence – What happened in the first part
France around 1348. The plague is ravaging the country. And with it a frightening plague of rats. The animals are not only carriers of the disease, they appear in hordes and attack humans and animals. In the middle of it all are 14-year-old Amicia and her five-year-old brother Hugo. Children of a noble family in the area.
The two get caught in a wild whirlpool of plague, war and rats. Eventually, they are chased across the region by the Inquisition. In the end, the two manage to destroy their adversary. Not least because Hugo has a connection with the rats thanks to a mysterious disease and can control them.
A Plague Tale: Requiem – Played
Back in the lavender meadows of southern France. All the horrors seem forgotten, and the Inquisition is far away when a misunderstanding happens: Amicia and Hugo encounter peasants who think they are thieves and want to get at them. Amicia stabs one of them in a fight, then is overpowered by the other. Hugo seems to know no other way out than to call the rats to his aid again.
Shortly after, he falls ill again with the “macula.” The mysterious disease that he has had since childhood. It seems to be part of the fate of the De Rune family. Somehow it is connected to his ability to control the rats in the game. Since Hugo is sick in bed, Amicia spends a lot of the first part of the game traveling with Lucas, her mother’s apprentice. They have a quest to find the head of the guild that has been researching the Macula for centuries. Later, it’s a matter of finding certain herbs for Hugo or locating the ship’s captain to take everyone to Marseille.
Later, the search begins for a mysterious island that appears to Hugo in a dream and where he hopes to be cured of his illness. On the way there, he accompanies Amicia for a while. At times, however, they are joined by other characters. You also interact with them as a player in the sneak, puzzle, and action scenes.
Overall, the game manages to cast a spell over me. Hour after hour passes without me really noticing.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is laid out in spacious tube levels. It doesn’t even try to create an open-world atmosphere. In fact, there’s always some character telling you what to do next. And then it’s logical where you have to go to do it. This allows the developers at Asbo Studio to spend a lot of plot and computing power on what happens in these hose levels. And they don’t need to be told twice:
The graphics: The graphical realization of A Plague Tale: Requiem is again lovingly detailed. Both the early Middle Ages and southern France are depicted in all their glory. Whether it’s the aforementioned lavender fields, a dilapidated castle ruin, or a larger town with a fair. Everything looks alive and is decorated with details.
We can’t say anything about the “hard facts” around the graphics yet, since ray tracing is still disabled in the press version. However, ray tracing will be implemented in the release version of the game.
The music: It’s gigantic. Composer and sound designer Olivier Derivière (who was also responsible for the music in Dying Light 2) and his team did a great job.
Much of it is so subtle that you don’t even notice it: as you approach overpowered enemies while sneaking, the music becomes darker and more menacing. The tones get higher when you’re even farther away or have already snuck past. So depending on how you play through the scene, you’ll have your own unique musical experience that no one else will have in the same way.
Others are not so subtle. For instance, the catchy title tune, which was adapted as a custom music video by Lindsey Stirling shortly before release:
The story: The story of A Plague Tale: Requiem is also grippingly told. It manages, again and again, to surprise me with unexpected twists – or to make me freeze in front of the PC with stunned horror. The plot is even more drastic in the first chapters than in The Plague Tale: Innocence.
Who are the Antagonists?
The rats sometimes appear as obstacles that you have to avoid. As in the first part, you can take advantage of the fact that they shy away from the light. Cones of light from fires, torches or lanterns offer protection from the beasts in the sneak and puzzle scenes. But then they sometimes appear in meter-high waves, flood the alleys and overrun entire cities. Then no light and no fire is of any use. They simply sweep over it. Like a force of nature. When that happens, you can only run for your life.
Various human enemy factions also want to get at you. At the beginning, it’s the peasants whose family members killed Amicia and Hugo in self-defense. Then the opponents become more and more powerful: a local prince, the army of Provence – and the Inquisition is also looking for them.
And how do you deal with them?
Amicia is much more defensible than in the first part. It doesn’t kill her with most of the opponents when she takes a blow. And she defends herself with all means, strikes with the slingshot, or with fists – or if she finds a knife beforehand, she unexpectedly stabs and eliminates the attacker.
The slingshot is again Amicia’s constant companion. In A Plague Tale: Requiem, however, enough stones lie around everywhere so the supply never runs out. And there are again various alchemical concoctions that you can use to light fires or extinguish them. A new addition is tar. If you throw it into the fire, it burns brighter and the beasts keep even more distance. Tar can also be a brutal but efficient weapon for fighting enemies. Another alchemical mixture has a great attraction to rats. You can use it to lure them to a specific place.
Also the pots from the first part have a greater use now. You can fill them with the alchemical mixtures and then throw the whole thing to a certain place where it will take effect.
The crossbow is another weapon that Amicia finds during the game. Its bolts pierce armor. And you can use them together with the alchemical ingredients. You’ll also need the crossbow to solve some puzzle pieces.
Overall, there are significantly more choices on how to proceed to solve a challenge: sneaking, ranged combat, melee combat, pushing enemies into the fire, and a few more. This increases the freedom of play. At the same time, it also makes the controls more complex.
Non-combat interaction options are also more outstanding in A Plague Tale: Requiem. For example, you can throw burning torches at the nearest smoldering fire to ignite it. Or even throw an unused torch to a playmate who needs it at the moment.
Amicia’s abilities increase depending on your play style. Depending on what you use frequently, your abilities improve. If you sneak a lot, you become more skilled, and if you fight a lot, the stats you need for melee combat increase.
Hugo has also become more powerful. He can now control the rats in an even more controlled way than in the first part. Thus, he can take out entire guard patrols by letting the rats attack.
So it’s not a completely new game idea, but a lot of tried and true – and appreciated by the fans. There is a further development in terms of freedom of choice: fighting or sneaking. And the story and the characters have a different depths.
My personal tip: If you are a fan of open-world games and want to move completely freely wherever you want at any time, then A Plague Tale: Requiem is not for you. The same goes if you don’t like playing strong female protagonists. If you can get along with a clearly structured level design and celebrate narratively strong games, but also if you like the European Middle Ages as an era and aren’t averse to a mixture of realism and creepy fantasy, then it’s worth taking a second or even third look at the game.
|A final evaluation will be made after release.|
Facts, figures & data about A Plague Tale: Requiem
- The studio: Asbo Studio started developing the second part after the release of Innocence. A sequel was not initially planned. The same creative team (screenwriter, director and composer) was involved from the beginning. The studio has now increased the developer:inside team to 250 people, has its own motion capture department and own game engine for the requirements of A Plague Tale.
- The price: The game is already on pre-sale for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC, but will also appear in the cloud version on Nintendo Switch. The price is between 50 and 60 EUR, depending on the platform. A Plague Tale: Requiem is supposed to be included in the Xbox Game Pass subscription at launch.
- PC hardware: The recommended requirements for your gaming PC are as follows: Intel Core i7-8700K (3.7 GHz) / AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (3.6 GHz), 16 GB of RAM, Graphics card: 8 GB, GeForce RTX 3070/Radeon RX 6800 XT.
- New driver for Nvidia: If you have a graphics card from this manufacturer, it is probably worth updating the driver before you start playing. There is already a video here that is supposed to show the ray tracing possibilities of the game in the Nvidia system: