A Plague Tale: Requiem is a fantastic action-adventure game from Asobo Studio and Focus Entertainment. The impressive sequel picks up six months after the conclusion of 2019’s A Plague Tale: Innocence and finds siblings Hugo and Amicia traveling throughout 14th century France alongside various companions in search of a cure for Hugo’s Prima Macula – a magical death sentence of a disease that tethers his emotion to a biblical plague of flesh-devouring rats that spread across the country.
The 16-hour adventure moves at a brisk pace thanks to a series of gorgeous environments that skillfully oscillate between serene beauty and apocalyptic terror. You’ll visit so many diverse and interesting locales throughout the game, lending a thrilling sense of adventure. It also helps that A Plague Tale: Requiem is one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played, with stunning vistas, expressive characters, and a genuinely impressive scale in its many set pieces.
The relatively narrow corridors of the original have opened up substantially in Requiem, with multiple options for approaches that are stealthy, bloodthirsty, and anywhere in-between. You’re doled out new tools at a pretty consistent tick, and you’ll quickly find yourself starting brush fires, extinguishing lanterns to help dart through the shadows, calling out orders to your allies, and controlling hordes of man-eating rodents, all in the span of a single encounter.
When you find your groove, it feels really satisfying to make your way through seemingly insurmountable odds of murderous soldiers and swarms of rats and live to tell about it. That said, some abilities can be a bit finicky — luring rats out of your path sometimes won’t lure all the rats, leading to some janky insta-deaths. Thankfully the game’s checkpointing is forgiving and load times are short, which nipped a lot of potential frustrations in the bud.
Along with the new tools at your disposal, there’s a light crafting system and upgrade tree that encourages you to take your time to venture off the beaten path to gather resources. But even more of a reason to do this are the quiet, but incredibly affecting character moments between the siblings and the various allies they meet along their journey. I really felt for their plight, with Hugo’s stolen innocence and Amicia’s growing rage at the injustices of the universe being fleshed out extremely well. These serene moments of characterization provide a wonderful calm before the inevitable storms, and they make the heavy moments in the story hit all the harder. I took my time making it through nearly every area of the game, in hopes that I’d seen everything there was to see before moving on.
That said, A Plague Tale: Requiem occasionally gave me those minor moments of completionist anxiety where I thought I was exploring a side-path, only to find myself passing through a critical path point of no return, leaving side-nooks left unexplored forever. But given the somber themes of the story, I guess knowing that you ultimately can’t have control over everything in life fits in well here.
The increase in combat verbs, more complex encounters, and encouragement to explore brought to mind the leap between The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II. What’s more, Requiem’s narrative focus on powerful vignettes, family tragedy, and the cycle of revenge reminded me quite a bit of Naughty Dog’s duology, and I mean that in a good way. Asobo has hit a new high-water mark here, and I can’t wait to see what the team does going forward.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a gorgeous, thrilling, and emotionally resonant adventure that had me gripped from start to finish, and it delivered one of my favorite gaming experiences of 2022. A Plague Tale: Requiem is available on October 18 for $59.99 on PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch via the Cloud, and Xbox Series X | S and is also a part of Xbox Game Pass.
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