preview In Plague Tale: Requiem, we got bitten by Asobo’s adventure game. Our first impressions
A Plague Tale: Requiem was shown at Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022 via a short demo. The opportunity for us to find Amicia and Hugo, this time in the context of medieval Provence. Don’t think they went on vacation to bask in the pill, the duo had a lot of issues to work through. We give you our first impressions of this epic that once again puts rats in the spotlight.
A green mouse running through the grass… of Provence
In May 2019, a certain A Plague Tale: Innocence emerged from the nest of Asobo Studios. At that time, the Bordeaux developer, best known for having worked on certain productions such as ReCore or The Crew, saw his talent being recognized around the world. More than three years later we find Amicia, Hugo and Lucas and the clouds of ravenous rats in a demo of A Plague Tale: Requiem, the direct sequel to the first part. We could in the third chapter of the game entitled “a blood load‘ which we might translate as ‘a blood load
Amicia and Lucas are on a mission to collect nightshades to soothe the young adventurer’s crises. On paper, the mission is simple: find the herbalist who is in the suburbs and return to deliver the medicinal plants. But there is a “hicks“, or rather squeaks. The rat waves from the first episode are back and sow terror in the city streets. Worse, the hostile guards don’t hesitate to brandish their spears when they see them.
Mechanics that mature in the sun
A Plague Tale: Requiem doesn’t appear to disrupt its game mechanics or overall structure. The Bordeaux atelier was certainly aware of the somewhat rough gemstone he held in his hands and preferred to polish it rather than set it on another stone. During our demo, he was asked to find his way through the rat swarms while avoiding the soldiers. Dropping food attracts rodents, and putting out the guardian’s flames turns the guardian in to a piece of meat on legs, highly prized by rodents. As in the first part, Amicia has various items such as a slingshot and pots to help her achieve her goals. With this material, she can distract the guards, injure them, or light a life-saving torch. A crossbow is also available in this suite.
Since Innocence, the user interface has been overhauled. The player can display a weapon selection wheel (slingshot, pots, etc.) at any time, and each weapon can be equipped with a type of ammo (incendiary, smoke, etc.) to be crafted. This process allows for faster adaptation to situations. Because if the formula stays close to what we experienced with Innocence, everything has grown. The sets are larger, the possibilities more numerous, and all levels of gameplay have been deepened. There is often more than one solution to a problem, especially in arenas full of soldiers where tall grass, nitrate sacks, rats and ammunition abound. Two warriors with torches surrounded by rats are below? Why not mix a pot with saltpeter and create a “smoke grenade” that will put out the flames and the lives of the two unfortunates?
Of course, infiltration is always very encouraged to achieve its goal, but the little mouse that was Amicia in the first adventure has given way to a predator that hits back. Without having transformed into the medieval Lara Croft, Amicia is more comfortable than before when facing off against her human opponents. Being spotted by a squad is already not necessarily the same as reloading a checkpoint. Escape is possible, and breaking opponents’ line of sight to better hide is possible. In melee combat, Amicia can try to simply counter her pursuer if the young heroine has a knife in her inventory. This is a last resort, like in The Last of Us or the Resident Evil remake. Also, an enemy that gets too close can also be charred with a properly thrown torch: that’s handy!
The shiny fur
Although we ran part of the demo via Parsec and thus directly in the cloud, The graphics of A Plague Tale: Requiem had something to impress. The textures are very detailed, the vegetation bends when the protagonists pass, the faces are more expressive than in 2019. In general, the lighting is more precise and the animations seem more numerous for a result that flatters the retina , even if the Patch “Next Generation‘ had already improved Innocence well. However, we do have slight reservations about the level design not always being very clear or giving false cues, such as when crates with white lids suggest they can be climbed, if not at all. Olivier Derivière’s compositions are once again fantastic, adding a few grams of finesse to this world of brutes.
When we tested A Plague Tale: Innocence, we explained that just a few drops of excellence in the potion brewed by Asobo were missing to set the whole earth on fire. Those few drops it could be that the Bordeaux studio found them in their pots from which the gameplay is compiled. Bigger, prettier, and more experimental, A Plague Tale: Requiem looks to have all the plants it needs in its herbarium to finally lift us off the ground when it lands this year. As a reminder, the Asobo title will be available in Game Pass from the day of its release.