A Plague Tale: Requiem (Review)

Howdy hidey ho!  Game Pass strikes once again with giving me zero reason not to try a series out. As you know, I don’t burn out on games simply because variety is the spice of life.  This also means I went into A Plague Tale: Requiem completely blind and not having played the first game.  But I do know it has to do with rats!


…this is pretty much THE linear, cinematic action-adventure thing…

You know that whole “walking simulator” narrative?  Well, this is a lot of that: the game takes a lot of influence from Sony’s stable of 3rd person, cinematic action-adventure games.  Of course, there’s actual combat, but it’s focused on being crafty and underpowered.  For the most part, it works, but it requires a lot of patience and often either stealth or a mad dash for the “area door” that pretty much magically ends anything happening behind it.  From there you walk, talk (more on the talking later), do some environmental puzzles, and repeat while fighting the sometimes-wonky camera.  I can’t spoil some of the more interesting moments, but the primary differentiator here are the rats which provide both an obvious moving hazard zone, but later a dynamic one.  Speaking of dynamic, you do upgrade Amicia along the way, though this can also take away the feeling of being underpowered resulting in a bit more of a generic action game as you reach the final hours.  There’s no denying this is pretty much THE linear, cinematic action-adventure thing everyone loves coining a “walking simulator”.  That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but if you hate this formula, then this is bad news for you.  If you love this formula, then you’re good to go.


They also respect your wallet knowing there is little replayability…

You’re good to go for at least 12-15 hours, I’d estimate.  This varies mostly by how quickly you can manage combat scenarios, and the bad news is that the only thing to do outside of it is find collectibles.  There is no side content and no reason to replay it other than achievements.  The good news is that they respect that, kindly having a new game plus for you to make your second playthrough easier.  They also respect your wallet knowing there is little replayability: the game comes in $10 cheaper than full price.  For $49.99, it’s a better proposition for non-Game Pass players.  Of course, if that price tag still seems steep, then there’s actually an explanation…


…absolutely adopts Sony’s obnoxious “characters that simply don’t shut up ever”…

This seems to often be the case: where a game might lack in content or even in gameplay it makes up for in the presentation department.  Such is the case with this game: it boasts not only surprisingly good graphics, but a solid framerate to boot.  I found almost no framerate dips with the graphics maxed out other than the occasional hitch from asset loading between areas.  Yes, even with waves of rats, not a framerate drop in sight which means I give credit to the devs for ensuring this is an optimized PC game.  It really could have used ray-tracing, but I find that minor given the era it’s in which lacks a lot of shiny surfaces to begin with.  You’re treated to some seriously good visuals for a proprietary graphics engine, and I recommend going into this with some decent hardware because, well, it’s rather worth it.  Then we move into the story, and though I had to look into the first game to understand the basis, there are moments where it genuinely delivers the struggle of combining survival with caring about others.  In survival, humans often become selfish, focused on preserving the self.  The game specifically develops the characters around selfless survival, a far more uncommon narrative.  It’s not perfect delivery and starts out rather slow, mind you, and the lower budget of the game becomes clear in the facial and physical animation quality (it looks like the body is mocap, but the faces are not).  In addition, it absolutely adopts Sony’s obnoxious “characters that simply don’t shut up ever” and not for the better.  But it delivers its story the best it can, and animation quality/incessant chatter aside, I found myself forgiving the characters simply because they’re trying to save, guide, and throw themselves as shields in front of a five-year-old boy.  Just remember that part: Hugo is just five years old.


…I have to remind you that the characters almoster Never. Stop. Talking.

Rats.  No no, not in a bad way, just that I thought the game had to do with rats, but it actually has to do with a curse that a small child does not understand.  And in that I experienced a walking simulator with a wonky camera, combat that turns a bit generic towards the end, and some seriously impressive moments against waves of rats.  The game is a looker, though, and it runs well when these things happen.  So while you may not run it much past its credits, at least it respects your time and does its best to give you some borderline-sci-fi cinematic action and character development… even if I have to remind you that the characters almost Never. Stop. Talking.

I give A Plague Tale: Requiem

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