A Plague Story: Requiem is just about all the things we would hoped for from a sequel to considered one of 2019’s largest surprises in A Plague Story: Innocence. Asobo’s much-anticipated follow-up does not reinvent the wheel by any stretch, nevertheless it efficiently builds on the staff’s debut effort, mixing in contemporary fight choices, new different locales and an extremely likeable supporting forged, backed up by an engrossing storyline that is price seeing by to the very finish, even when enormous towering rat rivers are an all-too common sight.
If you happen to did not play the primary recreation and are unaware of what A Plague Story is all about as a collection, let’s undergo a quick synopsis. Brother and sister pair Hugo and Amicia try to outlive by varied waves of a plague — primarily based on The Black Loss of life pandemic of the 1300’s — whereas looking for out why Hugo specifically is related to the plague in such an enormous method. Each Innocence and Requiem are very story-heavy, inserting a robust emphasis on the pair overcoming adversity when all the things appears to be going in opposition to them. Suppose The Final of Us however rats and illness as a substitute of contaminated zombies and also you’re about there.
Whereas we’re on the subject of Naughty Canine’s collection, we’ve to speak concerning the technical facet of A Plague Story: Requiem. As soon as once more, Asobo Studio is punching properly above its weight right here; this can be a AAA expertise, make no mistake about it. The sport’s voice appearing is excellent, its environments are completely beautiful and these much-talked-about next-gen rat waves actually are one thing to behold, particularly whenever you’re sprinting away from them at 100 miles an hour, attempting to maintain Hugo and Amicia out of hurt’s method.
Talking of rats, regardless that A Plague Story’s rat swarms are one of many collection’ distinctive promoting factors, Requiem does know when to interrupt up the bleakness; in doing so making a extra balanced journey than the primary recreation. Hugo and Amicia’s story begins out with some quaint city exploration, and that proves to be a little bit of an indication of issues to come back. Sure, Requiem has greater than its justifiable share of plague-filled, rat-infested cities and villages to navigate by, so don’t be concerned if that is the collection’ predominant draw for you. However, the sequel switches between these dour locales and a spread of way more vibrant scenes masterfully, and the efficient juxtaposition between hope and despair is considered one of Requiem’s strongest property.
Fortunately, when despair is the order of the day, A Plague Story: Requiem supplies you with the instruments to get the job finished. Fight is usually scrappy and the sport efficiently conveys that its characters are preventing to outlive, however you do have a couple of extra instruments at your disposal this time round. Amicia’s crossbow is one such software, offering a extra dependable lengthy vary weapon within the warmth of battle. You may nonetheless need to handle ammo varieties relying on the enemy’s capability and the scenario you are in, however the bow’s commonplace bolt is usually a get-out-of-jail card for when fight will get powerful, or when issues simply get out of hand. A Plague Story: Requiem remains to be a stealth recreation at coronary heart although, and avoiding fight is actively inspired all through massive components of the journey.
One of many driving forces behind Requiem’s storyline is that Hugo is contaminated with the “Macula”; an evil illness that is handed on from technology to technology, and on this world, it controls the plague. Whereas this can be a huge cause behind among the recreation’s bleakest story moments, we’re grateful that it exists oddly sufficient. Why? As a result of it permits for considered one of A Plague Story: Requiem’s greatest fight options; the power to manage rat swarms.
Yep, when Requiem permits the participant to manage Hugo, you get to wreak pure havoc, and oh boy is it enjoyable. Hugo is quick studying the power to manage waves of rats all through the sport, and which means at occasions you may principally turn out to be a rat river, gobbling up enemies and inflicting pure chaos. It is a restricted fight choice which you can’t use at will, nevertheless it grew to become an actual deal with when Requiem allowed us to deploy it. Whereas we would have beloved to utilize the power extra recurrently, if for no cause apart from it is hella enjoyable, we perceive its restricted use.
Identical to the placement comparability we made earlier, if Requiem does one factor very well it is balancing issues out. Stealth by no means turns into too tedious earlier than you can begin deploying a extra stronghanded fight approach. Hugo’s rat swarm capability by no means turns into the centre of consideration for too lengthy earlier than the sport throws a great hour of non-combat exploration and character constructing at you. Innocence was considered one of our favorite video games of 2019 however at occasions it might really feel just a little too bleak, just a little too one observe. Requiem will get steadiness proper in an enormous method; it at all times is aware of when to maintain issues contemporary and the entire expertise advantages from it.
To be trustworthy, the one different features of A Plague Story: Requiem we would prefer to proceed to speak about are those who’d disclose extra of the sport’s storyline, and given our need to maintain spoilers to an absolute minimal, we’ll chorus from going a lot additional apart from saying we actually loved the sport’s narrative. We’ll point out a couple of small points we had with Requiem although, even when we’re nit-picking a bit right here.
A type of is that, to our eye, the sport ran at 30FPS on Xbox Collection X. There are studies going round that the sport truly runs with an unlocked body price and that VRR could also be stopping any noticeable judder, however nonetheless, the expertise felt like a 30FPS one to us. Fortunately, the sport’s tempo and magnificence signifies that 30FPS does not dampen the expertise a lot in any respect, even when 60fps could be a pleasant choice.
Our different nit-pick is that at occasions, the pair of predominant characters can turn out to be just a little overbearing. Whereas Asobo has nailed the supporting forged this time round, Hugo and Amicia’s near-constant chatter does turn out to be irritating at sure moments. Amicia typically does that rage-whisper factor the place she’s continually speaking to herself underneath her breath, and Hugo at all times has one million inquiries to ask the adults round him, together with his annoyingly inquisitive tone. He is a child alright, and at occasions, a bloody irritating one!
Neither of those nit-picks detract a lot in any respect from what a Plague Story: Requiem achieves although, and that is offering an extremely evocative journey by 14th century Europe throughout The Black Loss of life. Asobo’s sophomore effort is critically spectacular, delivering a balanced journey that is aware of precisely when to combine issues up, whether or not that be a introducing new story beat, a contemporary location to discover, or a distinct fight choice to make use of. Requiem is precisely the sort of new AAA narrative journey we have been yearning for some time on Xbox Sport Cross, and we won’t wait to see what this developer does subsequent. Asobo Studio is admittedly hitting its stride.