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A Plague Tale: Requiem (included in Xbox/PC Game Pass) (Patrick)
Asobo Studio and Focus Home Entertainment take us back to 14th-century France, which is still plagued by the Black Death. Six months after the events of A Plague Tale: Innocence, siblings Amicia and Hugo de Rune find shelter with the Order. As so often in A Plague Tale, things don’t go as planned and the two have to flee and start an adventure that takes you across southern France. Amicia has to save her little brother Hugo not only from the Inquisition but also from herself, because Hugo has supernatural powers and can control the plague of rats to a certain extent. The associated mental and physical suffering of the protagonists makes us feel empathy to the hard end. The Asobo Studio makes no compromises: As soon as you think you can assess the further course of the story, an important character dies or the story takes a surprising turn. However, the events do not become unbelievable.
In terms of gameplay Requiem builds on the foundation of Innocence and extends it meaningfully. While we were only able to explore small sections in the first part, this time we can explore the market in Provence and later entire islands relatively freely. We can’t enter every house like in role-playing games à la Oblivion, but there is a lot more to discover compared to the more tuberous predecessor. Amicia defends herself against the Inquisition with a slingshot and crossbow and can use different types of ammunition that set enemies on fire, extinguish torches or create flammable traps. Fire and light are essential because they keep the rats away. The more extensive areas offer a greater variety of ways to get rid of your adversaries. Verticality also plays an increasingly important role, even if it could have been used more. As exciting as the sneak passages are staged, the arenas in which you have repell seemingly endless waves of opponents are getting tedious. Unlike Nathan Drake in Uncharted, Amicia is visibily shook by the events, but these scenes just go on for far too long time in the end.
A Plague Tale: Requiem isn’t just about exploring, fighting and sneaking, it’s also about solving puzzles. Especially towards the end of the game you have to use all your skills and gadgets to guide Amicia and Hugo through the masses of rats. But the puzzles don’t get really tricky. You can upgrade your skills and weapons, but there’s barely any point for it. It can be useful, for example, to be able to shoot the slingshot twice in quick succession, but since you can find your way around most enemies, it seems pointless.
Visually Requiem also makes a big leap compared to the first part. We travel from one postcard motif to the next, at least at the beginning. The elaborately staged parade in Provence invites you to linger with numerous attractions. But the game also shines with great light effects in the dark passages in the further course of the game. The only downer are the still doll-like facial animations. While the voice actors Charlotte McBurney and Logan Hannan are audibly sweating blood and water, little can be read in the facial expressions of Amicia and Hugo. This discrepancy can significantly reduce some emotional moments. The musical accompaniment by Olivier Deriviere with their bagpipes, orchestra and choir elements contributes significantly to the dense atmosphere in A Plague Tale Requiem. The playtime has almost doubled compared to A Plague Tale: Innocence from 12 to 20 hours (depending on your playstyle there are of course differences), but Requiem is hardly lengthy. This is where Red Dead Redemption II comes to mind, which was also significantly longer than its predecessor and, like A Plague Tale: Requiem, played with the player’s expectations to a similar extent.
If you enjoyed playing A Plague Tale: Innocence, Requiem is a must-play for you. If you don’t know the first part yet, we recommend that you catch up on it so that you can experience the journey of Amicia and Hugo in the best possible way. An improved version for Xbox Series X|S and PS5 was released in July 2022. Unfortunately, Innocence was removed from Game Pass in September 2022, but Requiem is still available as a subscription for PC and Xbox Series X|S. Additionally, you can play it on PS5 and Switch (cloud version).
The screenshots were taken by us using the PC version. Xbox and PlayStation have given us access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus Premium.