A Plague Tale: Requiem (PS5) Review

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A Plague Tale; Requiem
Developer: Asobo Studio
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Played On: PlayStation 5
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
MSRP: 79.96
Release Date: 18/10/2022
CGM Editors Choice

2019’s A Plague Tale: Innocence seemingly came out of nowhere and quickly became one of my favourite games of that year. Flashforward to 2022, to a mostly post-pandemic world and A Plague Tale: Requiem is here and is more topical than ever, once again throwing the player into the tumultuous lives of the De Rune children. 

Set shortly after the events of the first game, A Plague Tale: Requiem picks things up with an older and much more hardened Amicia, still sworn to her brother Hugo’s side. The two now have the immediate company of both old and new faces that come and go as the game unfolds during its roughly 20-hour campaign. Despite evading the clutches of the Inquisition, the De Rune clan now must come to grips and overcome the tightening hold the Macula has on Hugo as they journey towards southern France in the hopes of a cure. 

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Asobo Studio’s choice to make a current-gen-only title has paid off in a game that truly pushes the envelope in its visuals. A Plague Tale: Requiem masterfully crafts its depiction of Provence alongside other parts of France that border on Italy, in breathtaking realism juxtaposed by the surreal horror found in Plague Tale’s trademark portrayal of rats. 

Like Innocence before it, rats take centre stage in Requiem, now on an even grander scale, playing with and enhancing the fluidity often found in the swarming sea of vermin that litter the game world. 

“Gameplay elements remain largely the same in A Plague Tale: Requiem, with the added benefit of larger levels and maps that, despite its still linear nature, feel more open-ended and denser with content.”

A Plague Tale: Requiem’s next-gen visuals come at a cost, at least on PlayStation 5, with the title running what appears to be an uncapped framerate with dips well below its base target throughout Requiem’s campaign. Thankfully, due to the slower, more methodical approach to gameplay, the lower framerate never really gets in the way. But it should be mentioned regardless, as it is one of the first titles to hit the PlayStation 5 that doesn’t offer any form of performance mode at the cost of a lower resolution or hit to visual fidelity.  

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VRR implementation may elevate the unstable framerate in the future; however, this feature seemed to be absent with my early access to the game. Regardless of the performance metrics, A Plague Tale: Requiem remains just as tense and engaging as its predecessor. 

Gameplay elements remain largely the same in A Plague Tale: Requiem, with the added benefit of larger levels and maps that, despite its still linear nature, feel more open-ended and denser with content. Swaths of white that take the form of wear, tear and straight-up paint act as subtle waypoints and a means for the player to discern how to progress forward. Despite this, however, I still found myself lost on more than a few occasions, not to the point of frustration. Still, the inclusion of a contextual-based objective marker after time spent in an area would have been welcome to make things progress faster. 

“…A Plague Tale: Requiem features an incredibly realized soundtrack, one that earns its title of Requiem, both from its story beats and score…”

If, for whatever reason, you haven’t played A Plague Tale: Innocence, Requiem’s approach to its moment-to-moment gameplay largely remains the same. Environmental puzzles that often require Amicia’s trusty sling with permutations that augment her simple but effective weapon and tool of choice against hordes of rats and soldiers alike aid the player in both combat and puzzle-solving sequences in equal measure.  

Unlike Innocence, however, A Plague Tale: Requiem features a much greater emphasis on combat, specifically killing anything and everything that gets in the way of the De Rune siblings’ path. The inclusion of a crossbow, among other rat-related means of expulsion, coupled with Requiem’s story itself, which delves into the topic of murder, be it for survival or otherwise, allows Requiem to feel like its own game while believably contextualizing its often grisly imagery. 

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The upgrade workbench found in Innocence makes a return, this time allowing the player to hone in and focus on their own individual playstyles, be it stealthy or a full-on helter-skelter, rock-wielding lunatic. New gear, such as the aforementioned crossbow and an optional but well-hidden bonus accessory (which I won’t spoil), grant Amicia a robust toolset to aid her and her friends on their journey across France.  

Finally, outside its gameplay and visual flourishes, A Plague Tale: Requiem features an incredibly realized soundtrack, one that earns its title of Requiem, both from its story beats and score, which eloquently communicates both the lighthearted moments of reprieve and levity against the sombre and melancholy moments found in the game from the moment you hit start.  

If you’ve already played and enjoyed your time with Innocence, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a must-play. If you’ve never experienced the first game in the now, duology, I highly recommend you check it out if you’re someone who enjoys a narrative-rich gaming experience. If you’re a person who likes a more open-ended, gameplay-focused experience, there is little in A Plague Tale: Requiem that will convince you to play if the first game hasn’t already done so.  

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can read more about CGMagazine reivew policies here.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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