A Plague Tale: Requiem, our tried and true Asobo game

A Plague Tale: Requiem, our tried and true Asobo game

A Plague Tale

To stand out in a competitive environment such as video games, it is practically mandatory to have at least one distinctive feature as a development team. That of the Asobo is undoubtedly a monstrous competence for everything related to the technical sector. The first A Plague Tale, after all, was certainly not a mechanically revolutionary game, but it managed to stand out due to a look markedly superior to what is commonly expected from a production with limited resources behind it and a remarkable mix of art direction and general solidity. Microsoft Flight Simulator, entrusted to the software house shortly after, did nothing but underline the incredible skills of this group of French developers in the graphic field (as well as consolidating their apparent ability to complete difficult projects in times that are far from biblical. ).

After the success of Innocence, however, Asobo Studio is now grappling with an almost inevitable sequel called A Plague Tale: Requiem and, given the curriculum, fan expectations are higher than ever. We were able to try A Plague Tale: Requiem for almost an hour thanks to the Tribeca Festival and today, after having bathed in a sea of ​​rats more times than we would have liked, we are ready to tell you our first impressions.

The rat of us

A Plague Tale: Requiem, you won't always have control of the two brothers in the game. Other NPCs will accompany you The story of Requiem resumes directly after the conclusion of the first chapter. We are not giving you spoilers on the finale: just know that the two brothers Amicia and Hugo are still at the center of the events and that, despite an escape to the warm lands of the south, the two poor boys have not managed to escape the curse that haunts the younger brother. We, however, could not play the campaign of this sequel from the very beginning since the demo started from the third chapter; we then found ourselves controlling the young Amicia in the company of another partner named Lucas (already appeared in the previous game).

The objective of the playable level was on the simple card: to obtain soothing herbs to appease a ugly crisis of poor Hugo, caused by some alchemical treatments. However, things got complicated almost immediately when, leaving the "quiet" initial area, we found ourselves still struggling with the usual inevitable sea of ​​rats and with a group of guards eager to eliminate any witnesses nearby.

Yes, in short, the foundations of Requiem seem to be the same as its predecessor, but considering the status of Hugo after the first adventure and the landslides of the narrative we expect some important structural changes in the later chapters.

In general what we tried was still a mixture between a stealth game and a puzzle game, albeit with some changes. In fact, the game now seems a little more brutal than in the past, due to a greater number of approaches, and rats and guards to be faced with more cunning in order not to be killed in a few seconds. Amicia actually has several tools at her disposal, yet either by the fact of having been thrown directly into the action, or by the increased complexity of the situations, we assure you of being cracked too many times for marginal errors. In a nutshell, Requiem seems to want to maximize the tension that comes from dealing with a sentient sea of ​​man-eating rodents, as if this were not already a more than sensible reason to have nerves on the edge of the skin.

Moral choices or simple survival?

A Plague Tale: Requiem, will protecting Amicia and Hugo's innocence be a matter of choice? To give you an example, crafting is once again central and Amicia in the tested chapter could create bullets or grenades of rock salt and sulfur, capable of extinguishing or lighting fires at will. Combined with the simple ability to throw rocks with your slingshot, this ammunition is the most natural way to survive any situation: torch-wielding guards can be eliminated simply by extinguishing their flames, and entire groups of enemies become rat food with a grenade well placed; however, the classic stones are not as abusable, because soldiers are often protected by steel helmets and must therefore be eliminated in more creative ways.

For her part, the protagonist can now also push the guards into danger if she catches them by surprise or stab them if she has blades available, but the soldiers are not the most terrible threat (despite their sometimes quite infamous positioning ) but the rats themselves. The navigation of the maps is in fact quite complex, there are no indicators whatsoever, and the torches last a few seconds, so you cannot hope to progress if you do not collect all the possible resources scattered in the buildings and do not use the fires properly.

A Plague Tale: Requiem, we expect particular evolutions in the gameplay, due to Hugo's abilities And the multiple options we were talking about earlier? Well, it is possible to easily overcome even the most complex phases by making a massacre, but there seems to be almost always the chance to overcome the areas not seen peacefully; doing it just makes everything extraordinarily more complicated. However, at the moment it is not clear whether choosing the peaceful way leads to some variation in the narrative: Amicia comments and justifies her actions verbally when she eliminates a few too many soldiers, and a particular phase in which we did not understand how to save a character was perhaps completable in a much more positive way (we have not had the opportunity to test it unfortunately), so we suspect that this time there are more marked crossroads and that the heroine's behavior may lead to alternative developments in the story.

In general? Despite our clumsiness in figuring out where to go we enjoyed the experience. There is some imperfection of the enemy artificial intelligence and the positioning of the rats in certain maps seemed even too punishing, yet Requiem already seems a decent evolution of the first chapter from what we have tried.

A Plague Tale: Requiem , the game has more colorful settings than its predecessor, but don't think that the dark and disgusting ones are missing. Once again, however, the most titanic steps forward can be seen in the technical sector. True, there is some woody and unnatural animation before certain scripted phases, but the visual impact is generally impressive. The maps are frighteningly detailed, the atmospheric effects truly realistic (a downpour in the early stages left us speechless, thanks to its almost indistinguishable rain and the reaction of puddles to water droplets), and even the animations are remarkably improved in toto. Asobo's new baby looks incredible, and if the gameplay actually changes and grows as predictable during the campaign, there's a very good chance you'll have a much better pearl on your hands than the already good Innocence.

Technically impressive and still apparently solid from the gameplay point of view, A Plague Tale: Requiem did not reveal much during the short demo at our disposal, but it hinted at possible evolutions at the base placed by the previous chapter, and captured us with its atmosphere only. Who knows, it may not surpass its predecessor in every single aspect.


Technically impressive and remarkable art direction Seemingly more punishing and difficult than its predecessor The basic mechanics remain solid DOUBTS We have only seen a small part of the campaign A few minor imperfections here and there Have you noticed any errors?

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