Review of “A Plague Tale: Requiem”: A Gnawed Pearl

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Before everything goes to hell, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a picturesque journey through medieval France. You will admire the magnificent meadows, fuss at the lively city fair and remember that the bad times — the events of the first Plague Tale game from Asobo Studio — are over.

Of course, this is not the case. Peaceful times are not good for good stealth games, and that’s the whole point of Requiem. When your short game comes to an end (such an effect usually has a child smashing a bandit’s head with a stone), you will realize that the main characters, sisters and sisters Amicia and Hugo, are waiting for another game full of terrible times – no matter how wonderful they may be. everything looks.

As a player, your task is to bring your siblings back to the credits alive. Hugo suffers from a disease that gives him supernatural powers, including the ability to control rats, but it slowly kills him, leaving his older sister Amicia to help him find a cure.

Unfortunately, being Hugo’s guardian is a dark role for Amicia. The main game cycle is based on the skillful use of stealth to pass each level alive, since in a fair fight Amicia can not compare with the soldiers of the country or the millions of rats who want to catch her. Aside from some inconsistency in how quickly some guards can spot Amicia, stealth is pretty reliable: each level is well designed and often includes several ways to slip through the AI patrol network, and Amicia herself has a variety of tools to do the job. . Some of them are part of the standard set of tools for stealth games – pots that need to be broken, stones that need to be thrown — but others are much more complicated.

Since Amicia is still a child, it is impossible to use military suffocating techniques in the style of Metal Gear Solid; and creativity is necessary. A stone fired from your sling will only kill an unarmored enemy, but if it is impossible to sneak past, there are other options: eventually you will get your hands on a crossbow to kill armored troops while the levels are infested with rats. – who will not go close to the fire – Amicia can use an alchemical projectile to extinguish the guard’s light source, which will lead to a very dirty and loud death when they are eaten alive by parasites.

This motif — passing the level at any cost — plays a big role in the history of the Requiem. Although the whole point is to save Hugo from his condition, cracks quickly begin to appear in Amicia’s mental health. The cost of killing countless people puts a lot of pressure on Amicia, and at some points in the game it becomes unbearable. Asobo has done a fantastic job of creating empathy for the Requiem cast, and in addition to writing the game, this is largely achieved thanks to the phenomenal performance of the actors voicing each character. Sometimes it can be a little unpleasant—Amicia tends to mutter something like “I need to protect Hugo” to herself every ten minutes -but otherwise you are fully aware of the plight of the de Roon siblings. .

Visually, this journey looks amazing. After an early moment turns a hide—and-seek game into a bloody, terrifying spectacle, you’ll never trust Asobo with the hope of lasting happiness again – once you get to the first city of the game, Requiem starts to look good. for completely different reasons. There are still occasional sunny views and wide views to enjoy, but take a closer look at many of its levels and you’ll see the horribly gnawed bones of a family that has been overrun by rats, the frozen mass of hundreds of plague victims piled up. one pile, the fleshy rags of a citizen who was deliberately fed to rats. In case you haven’t guessed, there’s a lot of rat-related blood on Requiem levels.

However, Requiem’s missions are starting to seem a bit repetitive. This is partly due to the fact that the tension in Requiem begins to subside when you realize that being caught stealing is not the end of the world — you can resist the attacking guard with a quick blow from Amicia’s sling, which gives you time. run away and try again. This is not the case if you go into, say, a camp full of troops — admittedly, there are very few ways to get out of there alive — but with common sense, you are unlikely to face a real test, unless you … replay on the highest difficulty. To Requiem’s credit, a fairly short runtime (about 16 hours) works to the game’s advantage in this regard, and each level is designed so well that they often distract attention when stealth starts to seem a bit monotonous.

Sometimes Requiem can also seem like a bit of a rough game. This can range from innocent twitching—like a pack of rats defying gravity to escape from your torch—to annoying ones like a path forward that doesn’t open because you’ve reached it before your companion has finished thinking about how to move forward. In one case, I had to restart the segment because the invisible wall did not disappear, which, in turn, was due to the fact that my alchemist friend Lucas was glued to the window by the game engine. These issues weren’t entirely decisive for the game, but when Requiem’s greatest strength is its immersive storytelling, anything that knocks this dive down brings an extra sting.

Speaking of strengths, Requiem’s stunning graphics and world design deserve another mention — but if you’re playing on a PC, it’s worth taking a look at Requiem’s system requirements before taking it — especially because it’s a pretty demanding game. Even with 2080 Super, running Requiem on high settings can sometimes be intermittent — and since Requiem’s visuals are very appealing, make sure you’re willing to sacrifice that if you approach it on cheaper installations.

While some of these issues can ruin the course of events, Requiem succeeds in telling an exciting story that is worth playing. The game’s plot demonstrates sensitive and clear character development without breaking the pace of the plot; and Amicia’s deeper exploration makes it a useful sequel for Innocence fans.

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