Preview At Plague Tale: Requiem, we were bitten by Asobo’s adventure game. Our first impressions
Shown at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022, A Plague Tale: Requiem was approached 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 were on vacation to bask in the pill, the duo having a lot of problems to solve. We give you our first impressions of this epic which once again puts rats in the spotlight.
A green mouse, running in the grass… of Provence
It was in May 2019 that a certain A Plague Tale: Innocence emerged from the nest of Asobo Studios. It was at this time that the Bordeaux developer, best known for having lent a hand on certain productions such as ReCore or The Crew, saw his talent recognized around the world. More than three years later, we find Amicia, Hugo and Lucas as well as the clouds of voracious rats via a demo of A Plague Tale: Requiem, the direct sequel to the first part. We were able to progress in the third chapter of the game titled “a burden of blood” which we could translate as “a burden of blood”. In this sequence, Amicia is forced to leave Hugo with an alchemist. Unfortunately, the little boy does not seem to be reacting well to the treatments administered to him.
Amicia and Lucas are on a mission to collect nightshades in order to calm the young adventurer’s crises. On paper, the mission is simple: find the herbalist who is located in the suburbs and return to deliver the medicinal plants. But there is a “snag”, or rather, squeaks. The rat waves from the first episode are back and sow terror in the streets of the city. Worse, the guards, hostile, do not hesitate to swing their spears on sight.
Mechanics that mature in the sun
A Plague Tale: Requiem does not seem to upset either its game mechanics or its general structure. Surely aware of the somewhat rough gem he had in his hands, the Bordeaux studio preferred to polish it rather than bet on another stone. During our demo, he was asked to find his way through the swarms of rats while avoiding the soldiers. Dropping food attracts rodents, and extinguishing the guards’ flames turns the guards into a piece of meat on legs, highly prized by rodents. As in the first part, Amicia has different objects such as a slingshot and pots to achieve her ends. Using this material, she can distract the guards, injure them, or light a life-saving torch. A crossbow is also present in this suite.
Since Innocence, the interface has been reworked. At any time, the player can display a weapon selection wheel (slingshot, pots, etc.) and each weapon can be equipped with a type of ammunition to be crafted (incendiary, smoke, etc.). This process makes it possible to adapt more quickly to situations. Because if the formula remains close to what we experienced with Innocence, everything has grown. The sets are bigger, the possibilities are more numerous, and all layers of gameplay have been deepened. There’s often more than one solution to a problem, especially inside soldier-infested arenas where tall grass, saltpeter bags, rats, and ammo abound. Two warriors with torches, surrounded by rats, are below? Why not mix a pot with saltpeter, and thus create a smoke “grenade” which will put out the flames, and consequently the lives of the two unfortunates?
Of course, infiltration is always greatly encouraged to achieve its ends, but the little mouse that was Amicia in the first adventure has given way to a predator who strikes back. Without having transformed into medieval Lara Croft, Amicia is more comfortable than before facing her human opponents. Already, being spotted by a troop is no longer necessarily synonymous with reloading a checkpoint. Flight is possible, and breaking opponents’ lines of sight to better hide is possible. In the event of melee, Amicia can try to counter simply stab her pursuer, if the young heroine has a knife in her inventory. This is a last-ditch solution, like in The Last of Us or the Resident Evil remake. In addition, an enemy who gets too close can also be charred with a properly thrown torch: that’s handy!
The shiny coat
Although we ran part of the demo via Parsec, and therefore directly in the cloud, there was something to be impressed by the graphics of A Plague Tale: Requiem. The textures are very detailed, the vegetation bends as 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 gen” had already improved Innocence well. However, we have slight reservations about the level design, which is not always very clear, or leads to false leads, such as the moment when boxes with white lids suggest that they can be climbed, when not at all. Olivier Derivière’s compositions are once again fantastic and add a few grams of finesse to this world of brutes.
When we tested A Plague Tale: Innocence, we explained that only a few drops of excellence were missing from the potion concocted by Asobo to set the whole earth on fire. These few drops, it could be that the Bordeaux studio found them in their pots which are used to concoct the gameplay. Bigger, prettier and more experimental, A Plague Tale: Requiem seems to have all the plants it needs in its herbarium to get us off the ground for good when it lands this year. As a reminder, the title of Asobo will be available from the day of its release in the Game Pass.