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There’s a big focus on family in modern video games. Take Doom Eternal, for instance. The Doom Slayer and his trusty shotgun are basically husband and wife, consummating their relationship via violence and turning every battlefield into a red wedding all of their own. Likewise, in Tetris you’re constantly trying to assemble a comfortable family unit in order to make lines. It’s beautiful, really. In A Plague Tale: Requiem, we learn all about the most important family relationship at all – the relationship between a sling stone and an enemy’s head. You’re bound to be moved.via YouTube
After the rat-fueled events of the original game, one might think that Amicia, Hugo and company are safe…and one would be completely wrong. A trip to a new city under the care of powerful friends proves to be incapable of protecting the group from the plague and associated victims thereof. It’s not long before the siblings find themselves on the run once again, struggling to keep themselves alive in a world that’s steadily falling apart, to say nothing of Hugo’s continued suffering from the lethal Prima Macula blood disease.
Fans of the first Plague Tale are going to know what to expect here – this is a narrative-heavy stealth game that owes a lot to titles like The Last of Us. Amicia and Hugo mostly interact in tandem, with the player controlling Amicia as she drags her brother along through dangerous situations. Our heroine isn’t exactly a soldier, and you’re best served staying out of sight and avoiding danger wherever possible. Hiding in grass and bushes is invaluable, as is using Amicia’s slingshot and thrown objects to distract foes.
Enemies behave in realistic and understandable ways, so while this is by no means a simple stealth experience, you’ll rarely feel like you’re just progressing via trial and error. What’s more, you’ve got a selection of tactical options like futzing around with enemies’ lighting; this is a bigger deal than it sounds when light’s the only thing keeping a horde of ravenous rats from devouring you, after all.
Naturally, when it comes to staying safe wherever possible, “wherever possible” turns out to be far less frequent than you’d probably like. When it comes to combat, Amicia’s strongest at range, using her sling to brain enemies with rocks. Helmeted enemies or those that get too close are a little more dangerous, though, so it’s fortunate that Requiem allows you to fare a little better in close combat.
Proper timing allows Amicia to counter incoming attacks and follow up in lethal fashion. This is a nice addition in moderation, but Requiem has some segments here and there that try to focus on combat and the awkward nature of this clear that this is meant to be a stealth game first and foremost.
Gameplay aside, you’re mostly here for Requiem’s presentation and narrative. These are top notch much as we saw in Innocence. It’s hard not to feel for Amicia and Hugo as they face myriad horrors time and time again, particularly given how gorgeous all of the terrifying action can be. Unlike Innocence, Requiem leans a little harder on colorful settings and environments, bringing to mind titles like the recent Tomb Raider remakes. Experience this one on decent hardware and you’re bound to have a great time.
Fans of story-focused, emotionally-driven games are going to have a fantastic time with A Plague Tale: Requiem. If you enjoyed the first there’s no question you should follow up on it, of course, and Game Pass subscribers have even less reason not to give this one a try. It’s just the right combination of stealth, horror and rats, kind of like a haunted McDonald’s but without the tasty nugs. You can’t go wrong.