Asobo Studio’s A Plague Tale: Innocence captivated players in 2019 with a surprisingly deep, dark storyline that no one expected out of a brand-new IP. Its gloomy, gritty atmosphere paired well with the grim tale of Amicia de Rune and her little brother Hugo, both struggling against overwhelming odds to escape the Black Plague, known as the Bite. It’s a bleak yarn steeped in terrifying moments as two young children struggle to survive in the rat-infested French countryside. Now, it’s been given a sequel in the form of A Plague Tale: Requiem, a follow-up that’s every bit as great (and in some ways better) than the original game. Amicia and Hugo return for a gripping, macabre adventure that sees them looking for a way out – from the plague and the lot life has given them.
Bound for the Red City
In A Plague Tale: Requiem, the story picks up where Innocence left off. Amicia and Hugo are doggedly making their way toward the Red City in Southern France, where they believe a peaceful life awaits them. All the while, they’re outrunning the Prima Macula, a curse that affects certain families of specific bloodlines. As if dealing with the plague wasn’t bad enough, there are tons of human enemies that the siblings must face off against, too, as well as the ravenous rats swarming the city.
This time around, instead of going on the defensive and just trying to survive, Amicia and Hugo are focused on a singular goal: getting through the predicament, they find themselves in. Amicia is especially determined, and she’ll let nothing get in her way to ensure her little brother is cured of the ailments that plague him. Despite the bleak circumstances, Amicia is a positive force who won’t let anything get in the way of her goal.
Putting out the fires
Much of your time in Requiem is spent collecting items, seeking out shelter, and exploring a gorgeous world. While Innocence had the de Rune siblings eking out a depressing existence, the world of Requiem is a much brighter, lush affair. The environments you’re able to traverse are much lighter, more colorful, and teeming with life. It’s a gorgeous game that’s well-acted, overflowing with personality, and beautiful assets from top to bottom.
That makes making your way through all the ground you have to cover a much more pleasant experience, because this is a beautiful game – there’s no shortage of eye candy, no matter how grim the situation may actually be under the verdant exterior.
But it’s not all about gazing at the countryside. For Amicia and Hugo to accomplish their goals, they have to be able to defend themselves on their way to the Red City, too. Luckily, Amicia has a variety of additional tools at her disposal, many more than she initially had in Innocence, and can now utilize a crossbow that she’s absolutely deadly with. Additionally, she can mix a glut of chemical compounds to devastate enemies.
Amicia isn’t your only defense against the outside world, though. She and Hugo will meet travelers and allies who can use their own unique abilities to make the journey a bit simpler, as you’ll see while you make your way through. Some can use buff-like abilities to assist you, and others can fell enemies like nobody’s business. They’re an indispensable part of Amicia and Hugo’s journey.
Older and wiser
While the combat in Requiem sings, it’s matched only by the useful upgrade system that helps Amicia grow ever more powerful as the game goes on. Amicia is already a force to be reckoned with and can dole out damage on a seemingly endless basis, even when she’s up against insurmountable odds. You can make her even stronger, improve her stealth mechanics, and make her an alchemical savant.
The upgrade system lets you level Amicia’s abilities as you see fit, tailored to your playstyle. If you favor more physical encounters than stealth mechanics, you’ll grow her aggressive traits. If you use more items, you’ll improve her ability to utilize and mix chemical compounds, etc. All of these changes improve Amicia’s overall constitution, damage-dealing capabilities, and a plenty of other stats. You can make her your own character, nearly as much as if you were customizing your own star of an RPG, and it makes Requiem feel much more like Amicia taking the reins of her own destiny.
Unfortunately, there are occasions later on in the game where all of this character-building does tend to feel a bit useless. Some of the late-game encounters can become quite grueling out of nowhere and saddle you with instant death in some instances. In those cases, it can feel frustrating to have molded Amicia to your liking but then find yourself met with deaths that come swiftly and, quite frankly, unfairly. These segments are few and far between and won’t generally come up until you’ve progressed quite a ways through the game. However, it’s still something that dampened the experience a bit for me.
A Plague Tale: Requiem Review: The Final Verdict
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a triumph of a sequel that ticks all the boxes fans will be expecting and then some. Not only does it look and feel great, but it backs up its eye candy and abundant atmosphere with an interesting narrative and a stalwart protagonist who won’t quit. It’s everything a follow-up should be and more from an IP that’s grown precious to players over the years, and a fine adventure that even newcomers will find value in tackling.