Video Games

A Plague Tale: Requiem Review

Like a sugar-obsessed child heading to the bottom of a Halloween bag full of sweets, A Plague Tale: Requiem reveals that what made the first game great becomes even tastier in ridiculous amounts. I’m confident. Did you like hordes of rats? So why not increase it to around 1,000? Have you ever enjoyed a gruesome and harrowing journey that tests the limits of your emotional resilience? Alright, let’s increase your personal suffering by 200%! My favorite action from the last console generation This follow-up to one of the adventure games has dialed it up to 11 in virtually every way, and while it has a heavy dose of nihilism at times, it also benefits overwhelmingly from these escalations. With improved stealth action mechanics, a fantastic (and very depressing) storyline, and graphics that have me hooked, A Plague Tale: Requiem lives up to the immense horror I’ve experienced. It has an impressive brilliance.

Following in the macabre footsteps of its predecessor A Plague Tale: Innocence, Requiem is a brooding third-person action-adventure game set in an alternate historical version of 14th-century France during the Hundred Years’ War. Players play as Amicia, the older sister of a tormented and anxious boy named Hugo, traveling through both beautiful and dystopian areas, fleeing a tsunami of plague rats and building an army of brainless soldiers. must be stalked or killed. All to save her brother. Capable but unoriginal stealth action, tiptoe past enemies that can kill you almost instantly, or use light sources to horde ravenous, man-eating rats in much more memorable puzzle-based areas pass through. The best sections, however, combine both of these elements, and you’ll have to contend not only with a terrifying flood of rats, but also with soldiers stupid enough to try to kill you while you’re surrounded by problems that seem to get in your way. must be I’m more curious.

In between all that action, you’ll unravel an incredibly bizarre and highly complex mystery of your brother’s illness, meeting memorable characters along the way. It’s terrible. If you thought the original plague story was grim, this follow-up is so dark and pessimistic that its predecessor seems brighter and brighter in comparison. It seems like you’re not losing hope in the crumbling, and you’re forging a warm bond of friendship, but it’s exhausting to have your dreams shattered and betrayed for 20 hours. , maimed and forced to watch their loved ones die, subjected to terror that would destroy a normal person in minutes.

That said, the story is still very well told, my mouth turning agape and my head eyeing an imaginary referee in the hope that flags would be thrown on the field for going too far. I also love the resilient and hot-tempered Amicia, and I really wanted to fight to protect her lovable little brother Hugo like my kindred. Whole cast. Some parts of this fun journey can get a little complicated and meander at times, but in the end I’m glad I was able to put myself in the horrors of rat hell in exchange for the story I got.

It’s really hard to overstate how good Requiem looks and sounds.

The story is underpinned by great graphics, music, and voice acting that will make you want to spend time exploring this ruined world and hanging out with your NPC allies. It’s hard to overstate how good Requiem looks and sounds. Especially when you throw in all the processing power available to render a million rats, the night terrors that followed were almost worth it. My only complaint is that Requiem is so ambitious that my Xbox Series X struggles to keep up and freezes for seconds at a time, especially when there’s a lot of rat pranks going on on screen. It means that there is

Requiem doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from Innocence in terms of gameplay, but it does significantly improve upon existing blueprints to great effect. Some of the weaker moments are the standard stealth action sequences of sneaking around or strategically eliminating soldiers as you progress toward your objective. It’s never boring with Amicia’s bag of slings, crossbows, and alchemical tricks at her disposal, but she also doesn’t do much that we haven’t seen in many stealth games before. Throw rocks to distract enemies, use fire to set dangerous items on fire in the environment to remove threats, and sneak up on enemies to kill them. These are all standard methods for the genre. To be fair, there are some interesting ways to use alchemy bags to throw enemies under the rat bath. Like his Extinguis powder, which can extinguish fires, for example, and can damage nearby bad guys with a myriad of tiny teeth, most of these tricks aren’t new to the series.

The only truly standout addition Requiem brings is that NPC allies can now combine your stealth options with their own special abilities. One of his allies, Lucas, Stupifacio can stun enemies with his powder. Meanwhile, a soldier named Arnaud can be commanded to face the enemy in open battle. The characters that are with you at certain points in the story are likely to influence your strategy when approaching certain obstacles, which is surprising in that it keeps otherwise a good deal of stealth a bit interesting. That’s it.

There are also a few sections that eliminate stealth and force waves of enemies into direct combat, but these don’t work at all. Not only is it pretty silly to watch a teenager use a bag of stones to take down a dozen fully armed combat-hardened soldiers, but given the stealth-focused tools, these scenarios are quickly becoming unmanageable. I mean, I usually played to keep the bad guys away until I saw an opening to pull them away.

The rat of Requiem is a glorious and fearsome force of nature.

The only time Requiem really shines is when a glorious and absolutely terrifying mouse comes into play, and this sequel made me question everything I thought I knew about my red-eyed foe. Rats covered the floor, functioning as a creative game of “the floor is lava,” but in Requiem the rats were a force of nature, breaking through stone walls or stacking on top of each other to reach high surfaces. or swallow an entire city (yes, you read that correctly). Using lights to repel rats in creative ways can still contend with many areas moving past filthy bite-covered floors, but now the amount of light is literally too much. There’s even a section where you can’t save yourself from the tide. A wave of rats charging at you, and it’s terrible in the best possible way.

That said, solving rat-centric puzzles that stand between you and your objectives are mostly easy, even if they’re super cool. It’s definitely satisfying to spend enough time distracting and passing by, but the solution is almost always immediately apparent or fully explained through the campaign’s extensive tutorials. A few new wrinkles make for memorable moments, like how to shoot fire arrows into the environment with the Fireworks to create small patches that are safe from rats, and how to throw tar into fires to make them brighter. Extend the safety bubble. But even in these cases, I was rarely challenged by these obstacles, and most of the time I blew through each of these areas without ever feeling like I was out of control.

But my favorite part of Requiem is when rats and soldiers occupy the same space, forcing me to utilize both stealth and puzzle-solving at the same time. There were moments when I tried to find the best window, only to find an army of rats waiting in the darkness ahead. On the other hand, sometimes I found a clever way to get past a horde of mice, but my actions caught the guard’s attention, and he just stuck an arrow through my chest. Managing these two mindsets of his has been not only challenging and unique, but tremendously fun, testing the limits of my creativity and grit.

Of course, if I wasn’t into stealth, outright combat was always on the table, and the beauty of Requiem is that no matter what playstyle you choose, you’ll see how your character evolves throughout your journey. I liked the challenge of pure stealth, so my character would level up the Prudence stat and gain useful things to do stealth better, such as faster movement speed while sneaking. Or leveled out opportunism, which is good at using the environment to kill enemies, or aggressiveness, which outright condemns rudeness like pushing soldiers into a rat pile. I used the opportunistic/aggressive playstyle a few times, but found that anything like a challenge was quickly sucked out of the encounter as I didn’t have to worry about getting caught.Stealth or simply wanted to change the pace.

As we progressed through the nearly 20-hour campaign, we searched for valuable collectibles that provided little story moments and dialogue we couldn’t miss, as well as interesting tool upgrades that allowed us to carry more alchemy ingredients. . A more efficient killer. There are even some hidden side quests that unlock some additional supplies and stat-altering equipment. That extra work paid off, as Requiem included a New Game+ mode, increasing the difficulty and offering some engaging new challenges for those looking to dive deeper. This feels good.

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