Monday, February 26

A Plague Tale: Requiem Preview – Rat At It Again

A video game sequel is hard to create, especially if the previous game was a commercial success. Why did the game resonate with fans? How many new features does the sequel need to justify another price tag? Should anything be changed at all? How do you make something fresh while retaining the identity established in the first release?

These are the questions developers constantly ask themselves while making a game. The road to publishing a project is full of pitfalls, and it’s easy to lose the path. 

Asobo Studios, the creator of the Plague Tale series, seems to be navigating these challenges effectively, smartly building atop the foundation laid by A Plague Tale: Innocence and sticking to what we want more of – another riveting story. Sure, there are updates to gameplay (most notably combat features), but I loved the first game because of the protagonist Amicia and her journey protecting her younger brother Hugo. And that’s precisely where A Plague Tale: Requiem begins.

Following the events of Innocence, the siblings once again find themselves on the run, but this time, they’re searching for refuge on a mysterious island off France’s coast. 

My demo begins early in the game, during a chapter called A Burden Of Blood. The rat plague has disappeared, but Hugo’s affliction, which I won’t detail due to spoilers, is causing him to experience seizures. Amicia and Lucas, a young character from the first game who is adept at alchemy, must harvest Nightshade to stop the convulsions.

There’s an herbalist outside the town’s walls, but the pair must quickly cut through the Butcher’s District to meet him. Upon arrival, the district’s populace is under attack from an unlikely source. Rather than protecting the city, Amicia and Lucas surprisingly discover soldiers – the very ones meant to protect the town – killing the townsfolks in the streets. No one is allowed in or out of the gates.

But Hugo needs medicine quickly. 

As you might expect, swarms of rats eventually enter the scene, creating a breeding ground for clever logic puzzles and tense stealth moments. Much like the first game, A Plague Tale: Requiem features rewarding puzzles requiring you to avoid rats via torchlight. But everything serves the larger narrative. When I fail a challenge, I feel like I’m letting down the characters on screen. I’m heavily invested in Amicia and Hugo’s lives and want them to find happiness.

But I’m not naive – I know whatever lies ahead for these characters is indeed grim, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store when Requiem releases on October 18.

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