Thank you Focus Entertainment for sending us a review code!
In 2019, I reviewed and enjoyed A Plague Tale: Innocence. I highly recommend completing that game before embarking on this sequel, as many characters are carried over from it. A Plague Tale: Requiem begins with the same main characters, Amicia and her younger brother, Hugo, playing outside and enjoying the tranquility after barely escaping the previous plague with their lives. Their mother is an alchemist and is Lucas’ mentor who is in the middle age-wise between Amicia and Hugo. Lucus is not related to Amicia and Hugo, but they are very close. When Hugo is feeling well, Amicia and Lucas struggle to keep up with his boundless energy levels.
Sadly, Hugo’s health is failing again as his body is losing its ability to contain the cursed blood within it. When Hugo loses control of his emotions, hordes of rats emerge from underground and bring even the strongest fortresses crumbling down. After destroying yet another village, the family pack their bags to seek the help of a renowned alchemist in “The Order” who is familiar with Hugo’s curse.
Their mother and Lucas are in favor of seeking The Order’s council while Hugo and Amicia would rather seek out the healing island that Hugo has been seeing in his dreams. While they disagree on treatment methods, everyone is in agreement that Hugo doesn’t have much longer in his current state.
The story is broken down into seventeen chapters and took me approximately fifteen hours (or more) to complete. Without going into spoiler territory, this is one of the few games to make me cry in the end. There is a lot of violence and some of it is very gruesome. Amicia is a sharpshooter with her slingshot and can stab enemies if they get too close. Later in the game, she’ll get a cross bow which is great for taking down more powerful foes. Nonviolent methods of dealing with enemies are possible such as throwing stones at crates of armor to distract soldiers. However, not all deaths can be avoided.
Stealth plays a significant role throughout the game. While Amicia can take on enemies from a distance, it’s often best to avoid detection in the first place. Amicia will automatically level up her skills as she uses them more and more. Her alchemy and weapons can be upgraded throughout the games as long as she has the necessary components and a workbench handy. While crafting materials are frequently available, upgrading tools are a little harder to come by.
Like the previous game, rats are a big part of this one. They’re still not fond of light sources and you can use materials to extinguish the flames of your opponents to make them vulnerable to nearby hordes of rats. You can lure rats to certain areas and Hugo can assist in controlling small groups of them throughout the game.
Not surprisingly, death plays a big part in a plague-themed game. There are lots of dead bodies and gruesome sights to behold while traversing the cursed lands. There are some gorgeous sights to see, but they’re few and far between. It really hits hard seeing beautiful and vibrant towns turning into ruinous rubble due to Hugo’s curse. It’s a constant struggle for Hugo and Amicia to settle down and find happiness only to have war and rats following them everywhere.
One of the towns visited by Amicia and Hugo worships a child god and makes both animal and human sacrifices to him. You’ll get to see close ups of throats being slit and other acts of violence. On multiple occasions, I winced, closed my eyes, or looked away. This game is really gory. Language is another issue worth noting. Along with the Lord’s name being used in vain, you’ll hear all sort of language, including the F-bomb on multiple occasions.
From a technical aspect, A Plague Tale: Requiem is very impressive with it's gorgeous visuals and highly detailed character models. The voice acting is just as impressive. I did run into a couple of game glitches that required me to restart a chapter or load from a checkpoint. Thankfully, not too much gameplay was lost upon reloading a save or restarting the chapter.
If you enjoyed A Plague Tale: Innocence, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a worthy successor and is well worth looking into provided that you don’t mind the language or intense violence. Keep some tissues handy towards the end though.