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A PLAGUE TALE: REQUIEM

This song is not meant for you

Quite a few of us were caught off-guard in 2019 with A Plague Tale: Innocence. An experience of top-notch dramaturgy that pitted siblings Amicia and Hugo De Rune against the travails of a cruel, unforgiving and adult world. Which, like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, used gameplay and environmental storytelling to communicate the relationship and bond between the two siblings that was at the core of its narrative. It was a game that, while it wore the mantle of "AA" production, the emotional payoff from it was far greater than games of many times the budget. Not to mention the difficult path the French creators chose, with a proprietary engine that was a work of art and simple, yet utterly committed to serving the narrative, gameplay.

Without much fanfare, and while the finale of the first game didn't foreshadow much of a sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem (henceforth APT: Requiem for short) was announced. Innocence was admittedly quite heavy thematically, but Hugo's naive, innocent antics functioned as grilles that let a bit of light through. They were the driving force for Amicia to keep fighting, no matter the odds, to protect the one dearest to her. APT: Requiem follows this theme, but to a lesser degree, so that we experience more acutely the desperation that goes hand in hand with fighting against an insurmountable foe.

Home, sweet home…

Our tale finds the two siblings heading to Provence, 6 months after the events of the first game. Having left Guyenne and the past that scarred them behind, they seem to finaly enjoy the carefree life they so sought after. Like all good things though, it won't last forever. Along the way, a series of events will awaken the rare disease in Hugo's blood (known as Macula) and with it the hordes of rats associated with it. Therefore, Amicia, along with her little brother and their friend Lucas, will urgently seek a cure that will rid the boy of the cursed malady once and for all. Without wanting to give too much away, the story is well-crafted, in the vein of the first game, though a few scenes (especially those involving slowly walking towards an objective) drag on a little longer than we'd like. The acting and portrayal of the characters' emotions continues to impress. The script remains of a high standard, keeping interest in the action, even at points where the pace at which it unfolds seems to slow down.

A common sight in A Plague Tale: Requiem.

In Requiem once again, we will crawl through mud, blood and death. The similarities between 14th century France of the game, and the real-life equivalent of the Black Death that claimed countless people, are undeniable. We will do everything we can to help little Hugo, because he deserves it. Because he represents the future and hope. The lines between love, devotion, obsession and fear of loneliness will blur. Amicia, and us by extent, will feel conflicted on many occasions, perhaps even guilty. How far would we go for a loved one? All those soldiers we kill, did they have it coming? Is collateral damage a necessary evil? Requiem is the elegy of innocence. With a boy trying to keep that spark alive and a girl for whom her brother means everything to her, the log that keeps her afloat in a sea of inhumanity.

Futility, pestilence and death.

The tools for staying alive are provided by the environment. There is no need to collect stones anymore, as we can hold an infinite number of them. But we have to collect various materials that allow us to make alchemical mixtures for the sling or improvised bombs of great utility, ranging from providing light - remember, light is our friend, rats are not - to bait for the pesky vermins. Of course as in Innocence, these can be used both on the environment and directly on our opponents. Although we miss Devorantis, we can't complain because there are more recipes and a variety of ways to take out our opponents. A new way we can take out helmeted enemies is the crossbow. It's fast and effective, but it should be used sparingly because arrows are limited in number. It goes without saying that alchemical recipes can be employed to this weapon as well, with the effect being permanent if the smeared arrow is stuck to a wooden surface. Our favorite tactic remains the extinguishing of fires in torches and braziers, with unsuspecting guards becoming the quarry of the ravenous rodents that take comfort in the shadows.

A well-balanced stone in the head will knock the archer's lights out permanently. But it would be advisable to check if another soldier is patrolling nearby.

And speaking of tactics, APT: Requiem tracks the way we approach each challenge that lies in our path. Tactics that pertain to be unseen and unheard by enemies and keep our killing urges in check" (i.e. less than 25% kills) boost the Prudence Skill, which unlocks various bonuses that favor stealth. We can of course go crossbows blazing (stealth is optional), an approach that favours the Aggressive Skill and provides bonuses to being confrontational. Finally, there's the Opportunism Skill for the more creative among us, which ramps up using indirect ways to neutralize our foes, such as throwing bait at an enemy, making them a moving target for the four-legged pests. The rewards of this skill are related to strengthening our alchemical mixtures.

An ironclad guard: it is advisable to pass through unnoticed.

Environmental puzzles are of course still an important part of the gameplay, whether or not they involve passing through a flood of rats. Even more thoughtful and frequent than the first A Plague Tale, are the set pieces that we have to negotiate, which inclue rats and human patrols simultaneously. The enemy AI is deemed satisfactory (at least in terms of the guards' hearing at close range, though this can get annoying in the latter areas prompting us to ghost through), more or less on par with the first game, but it doesn't compare to purely stealth titles like the Dishonored series or Metal Gear Solid V.

The floor is rats and the light sources are safe isles.

Moving on to the visual aspect of the game, the images accompanying the text speak volumes about the quality of the graphics. Certainly in terms of detail in the vegetation and the various textures on the surfaces, few games can even come close to rivaling APT: Requiem. Likewise, the detail in the character models is among the best out there. One of the best attractions of the title is still the depiction of a few thousands (by now) Rattus rattus. It's a quite a technological feat how we perceive this living carpet of death and disease crawling, swirling around us, winding over walls, etc.

Have Graphics gone too far?

The magnificent visuals, however, come at a price: hardware requirements. Looking at them, you'd think they were pulled from a title that would be released 2+ years from now. In the test system though (GPU: Asrock Radeon RX 6800 XT 16GB, CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 3. 8GHz, RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR4), the game ran smoothly, averaging 75-80 frames per second (and with some noticeable, thankfully not frequent drops), 1440p resolution and all settings on ultra except for Shadow Maps, Volumetric Lights, Contact Shadows and Screen-Space Reflections, which were on high.

Hugo hunting the seagulls: The perspective of the world through a child's eyes keeps giving us hope.

On one hand, the game is quite demanding by 2022 standards and to enjoy it with all the bells and whistles - and by extension the most immersive experience in a digital South France - you'll need a powerful rig. On the other hand though, for medium-high at 1080p which is what most people are concerned about, I think the game will play without issues. As far as audio is concerned, the title also shoots very high. The squeaking of ravenous rodents will follow you through several moments of the adventure, accompanied by dissonant strings. On the opposite side, in serene moments, folk medieval melodies will provide the so much needed reprieve and reflection.

To conclude, we could mention some mishaps, such as the lip sync that needed a little more work or the voices of the protagonists that have a British accent (oddly enough they are the same voice actors as in the previous title) but then we would miss the point. And that is that A Plague Tale: Requiem is a valuable piece of art. Human-centric, touching, the feeling of warmth lost. It's not pleasant, but it deserves our praise.

We would like to thank Ave Group for providing us a review code for the game.
PROBABILITY OF MACULA SPREADING - 90%

90%

A pitch-black sequel that makes sure to remind you of that suffocating feeling at every chance, with scenes of hopelessness, the stench of putrefaction and a deluge of filthy rodents.

Panagiotis Mitrakis

Τέκνο των 80's, ξεκίνησε τη gaming πορεία του με coin-ops και το κλασικό Game Boy. Συνέχισε με διάφορες άλλες πλατφόρμες κατά τα 90's (ιδιαίτερη θέση στην καρδιά του κατέχει το SNES) και ήρθε σε επαφή με το PC gaming το 1998, με παιχνίδια σταθμούς όπως Half-Life, Baldur's Gate και System Shock 2. Δε λέει όχι σε (σχεδόν) κανένα είδος αλλά δείχνει μια προτίμηση σε RPG και survival horror και προσπαθεί να μυήσει κι άλλους στη θρησκεία των Silent Hill, των S.T.A.L.K.E.R. και των δημιουργιών της Looking Glass και της Obsidian.

soad667

Lich
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
Messages
7,461
First!

Γιου μαντ, νουμπάδες;

Καλά ΕΜΠ1, δεν χρειάζεται καν να το αναφέρουμε αυτό.
 

Admiral

Ancient Red Dragon
Staff member
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
10,014
Πρέπει να πετύχω το πρώτο της σειράς σε κανένα bundle για να μπω στο νόημα.
 

Admiral

Ancient Red Dragon
Staff member
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
10,014
Το είχε δώσει δωρεάν ο Τίμαρος. :p
 

Borracho

Ancient Red Dragon
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
12,019
Ωραίο κείμενο Πάνο, με έχει πάει Π.Κ.Ε η Αληθινή Ζωή τελευταία, μα ευελπιστώ να το χτυπήσω και να το απολαύσω μέσα στις γιορτές. Είμαι βέβαιος πως θα είναι συγκλονιστική εμπειρία, δυνατή υποψηφιότητα για GOTY. Επίσης, ανιχνεύω πως κάποιος ενδεχομένως θα έρθει σύντομα στην Μπριγκάντα της Χεσμένης Πάνας, το Τάγμα Του Ζεστού Μπιμπερό και το Λόχο του Έχε Γειά Ζωούλα μάλλον σύντομα :D
 

Adhan

Horror addict
Staff member
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
12,521
Δεν ήξερα καν ότι πλέον οι κάρτες γραφικών έχουν φτάσει να έχουν 16 GB.
Όχι μόνο αυτό αλλά αν αν το APT το κάνεις στα ελληνικά, είναι ΑΠΤ. Αναφέρεται 4 φορές. Η μία αντιστοιχεί στο HL Alyx, αρά HL 3 confirmed.
Ή αυτό ή ο ΑΠΤ θα μπορέσει επιτέλους να παίξει το Oblivion με όλα στο Ultra. 💯
 

Thaxll'ssillyia

Φραγκολεβαντίνος μπιφτεκάς
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
505
Ωραιο ριβιου ρε συ!

Μια ερωτηση: Ενω στο ριβιου του Innocence ο λιακος γραφει για ενα action puzzle platformer και στο steam το εχει ως adventure stealth, εδω στο requiem βλεπω οτι γραφεις πως ανοιγεται και η επιλογη του ραμπο και του πιο "δημιουργικου" τροπου, ενω και το steam το εχει πλεον ως action-adventure (αυτη η λεξη μου αφηνει μια πικριλα απο την αλλαγη του cyberpunk σε αυτο απο RPG στο steam tag). Εχει μηπως γινει πιο "γρηγορο" το gameplay συγκριτικα με το innocence?

Ειχα παιξει για λιγοτο innocence σε μια φαση του xbox pass και μου φανηκε ενδιαφερον για να το τσεκαρω (και το ξεχασα), οποτε επειδη θα ψηνομουν να παιξω και τα δυο καποια στιγμη (δε νομιζω τωρα η rx570 μου να το σηκωνει αυτο ακομη και στα 1080p/medium), θα προτιμουσα να συνεχισω απο το ενα στο δυο με παρομοιο gameplay και να μη χρειαστει να ξεβολευτω.
 

Adhan

Horror addict
Staff member
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
12,521
η επιλογη του ραμπο και του πιο "δημιουργικου" τροπου
Καλά αυτά υπήρχαν και στο Innocence, π.χ. ταμπούρι κάπου / κρύβομαι στα χόρτα και τους τρώω λάχανο έναν-έναν, όσο μαζεύονται από πάνω για να δουν γιατί ο άλλος έσκυψε να μαζέψει μαργαρίτες και δεν ξανασκώθηκε ή να να σβήσεις τον πυρσό κάποιου κακομοίρη και το ότι έγινε φαστ φουντ για τα ποντίκια να φανεί ως ατύχημα.
Απλά η διαφορά είναι ότι εδώ το παιχνίδι "βλέπει" πως κινείσαι και σου δίνει κάποια έξτρα, ως κίνητρο για να ακολουθήσεις κάποιο playstyle. Εννοείται ότι δε σε περιορίζει.
Εντάξει το platformer που ανέφερε ο Ηλίας λίγο υπερβολικό, από την άποψη ότι το plaforming είναι "on rails" σαν τα Uncharted. Action/Adventure/Puzzle ναι είναι, όπως και το Requiem.

@Χειρομαλάχτης @Tony Corvus θενξ αλλά βιάζεστε λίγο, δν έρχεται τώρα τώρα xD. Είναι στο πλάνο πάντως όπως μάντεψε ο Στέφανος.
 

The Nameless One

Blackguard
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
1,184
Πραγματικά ωραία εμπειρία το πρώτο. Μια όαση μέσα στην ξηρασία των συνεχών sequel και remakes.
Σίγουρα θα παιχτεί μόλις βρεθεί η ευκαιρία.
Ερώτηση: η μέθοδος που επιλέξεις να παίξεις (aggressive vs stealth) επηρεάζει τον κόσμο/χαρακτήρες/τερματισμό? Στυλ Dishonored?
 

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