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I never reviewed the first video game (Innocence) in this series here on my blog but I have played it. Both games focus on the sibling relationship between Amicia and Hugo. Requiem takes place a few months after the events of Innocence. So, I thought I’d give a brief overview of what happened leading up to this game:
A girl named Amicia has grown up separated from her younger brother, Hugo, but after the Inquisition raids their home and kills their father the two flee. Along the way, they meet Lucas, an alchemy apprentice, and several rogues. They have to fight their way through the plague (and a ton of rats). Later, we learn that Hugo is connected to the plague rats and it’s causing him to get really sick (seizures, etc.). Eventually, he learns how to control the rats and they manage to get away from the Inquisition. However, when the group reaches a new city where an order of Alchemist lives things don’t go as planned. This is where Requiem starts.
Within the opening of the game, Hugo has begun to cross the third threshold of his disease. Amicia has to get the Order’s help in order to save her little brother. Only they find the guards are closing down the city and killing the residents. Not only that but the rats reappear, so Amicia is thrown back into the hell she barely escaped the first time. So, we get to see our heroine struggle to deal with this mentally. And the toll of killing so many weighing down on her.
Mechanics & Weapons
Unlike the first game where we were armed with only a slingshot, Amicia soon starts to carry knives and a crossbow. And you can eventually get an upgrade to allow you to upgrade tools and equipment without needing a workbench. You also gain skills as you go along based on how you play the game. Those skills are Prudence (stealth-focused), Aggressive (combat-focused), and Opportunism (alchemy-focused). So, unlike the first game where Amicia still hadn’t been all for violence, she’s thrown in the towel and has no problems with killing anyone in her way of protecting her brother’s life.
While Amicia may have learned all the alchemy in the previous game, you start back out with only rocks and have to regain those abilities as time goes on. There are also a few new ones added including tar that makes fires bigger/brighter, so you can get past the rats. I might be mistaken, but unlike the first game, you can combine those things with more than just your slingshots. Now, you can put them on jars and bolts. So, there’s a variety of ways to get through areas or get passed/kill guards.
You even get a companion who can fight for you at one point, so you don’t have to worry about tough, armored enemies. If you prefer, you can deal with them on your own. And at another point, you get a companion that can create a small shield of light around you, but you have to be within a certain range of torches and bonfires. Which helps you get past the rats. You can, however, make do with tar and fire. It is entirely up to you how you handle the situation.
Amicia also has to deal with a serious head injury that allows you to switch to Hugo in order to deal with the guards. At first, I was worried we weren’t going to get to use Hugo’s rat abilities again as I seriously enjoyed that segment in the previous game, but eventually, it does come back. Though you have to monitor Hugo’s stress level and not let the rats get carried away or Hugo will lose control of them. Another ability Hugo gets is called Echo, which helps you spot where all the guards are located.
Most of the main characters are featured in this game again, though they separate at times and you gain new companions along the way. So, which characters make an appearance:
- Amicia De Rune: Amicia is no longer the girl who shuddered at the thought of killing. She will lash out and attack every guard in an area and egg them on while doing so.
- Hugo De Rune: Still the sweet little boy, who trusts too easily. In the previous game, he may have loved flowers but now he’s all about collecting feathers.
- Beatrice De Rune: Still not a massive fan of the mother. She tries too hard to control Hugo and anything related to his disease.
- Lucas: He is still the nerdy guy that loves everything related to alchemy. He’s close with Amicia, but still wants approval from his mentor.
- Arnaud: Originally the dude wanted to kill us, but he eventually works with Hugo and Amicia after learning that Hugo can control the rats.
- Sophia: Amicia saved her life then she helped us reach La Cuna and find what happened to the original carrier and protector.
This is by no means a full list, but rather the ones with which we interact the most or have some level of control at some point during the game. Nor am I revealing their fate.
The developers also introduced several options to make gameplay easier including turning off the ability for humans to kill Amicia. The environmental things like fire and rats will still kill Amicia however. I used that setting for one segment and absolutely lost my marbles from laughing over how the guards reacted. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it’s kind of funny. They attempt to kill you but literally, nothing happens. No injuries. No, nothing. Also, there’s a setting that instead of holding a button you only need to press it once. I did not end up ever testing or using that setting. But I bet it helps make some segments easier as you don’t have to hold and wait for something to happen.
Note: If you’re going to stream this game, turn down the frame rate from unlimited to something else or it might cause serious lag due to the sheer number of rats. Every time there were rats, I had issues until I changed that setting.
Graphics and Game Design
The graphics in this game are incredible. Even the horde of plague-infested rats is very detailed. And each area has a lot of details in them that you just want to take in. Even if the city is crumbling apart around you as you flee the rats in chase scenes, try to hide from guards, or are entering a new area. It’s cinematic and I loved it. I especially loved when we first got to La Cuna where they were throwing a festival. The flowers were incredibly beautiful. And you could see how much work the graphic designers put into the game.
The areas are also larger, so there’s more to explore as compared to Innocence. However, if you go through certain doors Amicia will lock them behind her cutting you off from returning there. A mini transition of maps to help the performance of the game. So, while it seems like an open world, it’s not due to those elements. A few times, I went through these doors before I was done fully exploring areas.
Overall, I seriously loved the game. I may have died a lot, but I had a blast doing so. The ending was sad (no spoilers) but I thought they did a great job on the game overall. Especially in how they handled Hugo as the Macula’s carrier and Amicia as his protector. But seriously, that ending wrecked me. I had straight-up waterworks for a few minutes afterward. I would be curious if they will make more “A Plague Tale” games in the future, as the story of Hugo and Amicia ends here. We did get a hint at the end that the Macula continues to appear with a child in the modern era.
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