A Plague Tale – Requiem: sun, lots of rats, and a crush on a sequel…

A very nice surprise success in 2019, the game “A Plague Tale – Innocence”, which retraced the poignant journey of two children in a kingdom of France ravaged by the plague in the 14th century, was rewarded with a brilliant sequel, a great darkness.

A Plague Tale Requiem sun lots of rats and

A cruel tale set against the backdrop of a kingdom of France ravaged by the Black Death in 1348, but also by the Hundred Years War leaving a bloodless country, A Plague Tale: Innocence followed the painful destiny of a pair of children from the nobility. Amicia de Rune, 15, and her stunted younger brother Hugo, 5, who suffered from a strange disease called Macula.

Thrown onto the roads of a kingdom on fire and bloodshed following a tragic incident, pursued by the ruthless Inquisition, the two children now left to their own devices had to rely only on their resourcefulness and their ingenuity – which is the core gameplay of the title- to survive. The innocence of childhood, therefore, confronted with a world without regard or the slightest pity for her, where destinies are more readily written with the blows of axes, false miracles and Holy Scriptures.

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Released in May 2019 and developed by the talented Bordeaux studio Asobo, anchored moreover in a historical period rarely summoned in this type of game, A Plague Tale – Innocence was a critical success and one of the most beautiful video game surprises of the year, with one million copies sold after a year. A big favorite. And an future series adaptationunder the auspices of Mathieu Turi, as a supplement. What obviously delight the Asobo team, which signed its first game of its kind, and validate a sequel, the end of the first part of which left little room for doubt.

On paper, of course, the questions abound and the temptation is great: must a sequel inevitably obey the logic of “more”? Larger environments, more interactions, a longer adventure, a necessarily more spectacular staging…

To these questions, Asobo answers in the affirmative. But the exercise once again turns out to be quite brilliant, with great consistency. And if it is obviously not free from faults, it easily manages to sublimate a recipe proven three years ago.

Sun, spices, and rats

Set six months after the events of the first game, which was set in the medieval province of Guyenne (corresponding to the Bordeaux region), A Plague Tale – Requiem takes Amicia and Hugo to the lands of Provence.

More determined and confident than ever, Amicia embarks on a quest to find a cure for the evil that is eating away at her little brother. But when Hugo’s powers reappear, death and desolation resurface, while the hordes of rats surge once again to engulf a land hitherto idyllic and almost untouched by the ravages of war.

Carried by an extraordinary artistic direction which could largely hold the dragee high with productions with budgets twenty times higher, the first game was illustrated among other qualities, by its incredibly immersive universe.

A universe all the more striking that he always gave the impression of being very organic in his approach. For a bit, you could almost feel the vitiated and poisoned atmosphere of the places that the two children passed through on their unfortunate journey.

Plague Tale – Requiem operates a change of scenery by embracing the colors and shimmering light of Provence. The visual setting is, here too, absolutely sublime. Of the Luberon ochres passing by the market stalls, the lavender fields and its century-old olive trees, the coastline whipped by a stormy sea…

It is a postcard landscape and the best visiting card of the regional tourist office which unfolds in majesty. Each stone, each blade of grass, each low wall or buttress already in ruins gives the impression of having been placed here and there with all the rigor of a copyist monk.

The contrast and visual feast is all the stronger since Amicia and Hugo are of course brought, on many occasions, to cross environments under the surface particularly despicable, between heaps of corpses in decomposition, and clouds of swarming rats, which just waiting to swallow them up.

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Speaking of rats, their visual impact is clearly a notch above the previous game. From 5,000 specimens, the studio now shows 300,000. More intelligent and aware of their surroundings, more effectively avoiding light and even being able to scale certain surfaces, the rats are behind some very spectacular sequences in the game, which also look very “unchartedesque”. We will say no more so as not to spoil the pleasure of their discoveries. We just hope you don’t have musophobia…

Fragile, but not defenseless

In contrast to the first game, where the characters logically fled confrontation, Amicia develops in Requiem new assets capable of killing enemies in one blow: pushing them into the fire, killing them with a crossbow, a blow knife, etc… Nor is there any question of making it a killing machine. If she is ingenious, she remains vulnerable. And this will be verified at specific moments in the story, a bit stressful, but quite manageable.

In all cases, A Plague Tale – Requiem is a game to be savored, and there is no question of rushing headlong into the pile. Especially since the AI ​​of the enemies has not made a big improvement since the previous game. We will also close our eyes to some rather incongruous options in the game.

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Apart from three difficulty modes for the adventure, it is also possible to engage an invincible mode. Rather unwelcome, insofar as there is already a (really very) easy mode largely favoring the story. But transforms the adventure into a health walk.

Carried at arm’s length by a fantastic dubbing of the two characters, lulled by a sublime score by composer Olivier Derivière, who knows how to be elegiac and poignant, the story unfolds over 16 chapters, for around twenty hours of play, taking his time.

A story with chiseled writing despite some small weaknesses sometimes, of great darkness, made of violence and moral trials, rregularly dealing the cards of emotion, where the roles between brother and sister are more than once reversed. Until culminating in a rather staggering outcome, carrying an emotional charge to split the stones in two. Masterful.

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