A Plague Tale: Requiem Review - Picturesque Terror
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A Plague Tale: Requiem Review - Picturesque Terror

There's a sequence in A Plague Tale: Requiem's fourth chapter where you're forced to flee a literal tsunami of rats. As you jump from one stone rooftop to another, the swarm of plague-infested vermin sweeps through the town below like raging flood waters, toppling over buildings at their foundations and consuming anyone caught in its destructive path. It's a moment of Hollywood spectacle that showcases the remarkable advancements in technology since A Plague Tale: Innocence was released in 2019. Whereas the first game could handle 5,000 rats at any one time, its sequel can populate the screen with a staggering 300,000. This vast multiplication enhances the terrifying and oppressive nature of the series' signature rodents, but moments like this are an outlier; for the most part, Requiem feels very familiar to its predecessor.

Although developer Asobo Studio has supplemented its stealth action gameplay with a few new additions, this sense of familiarity persists throughout the first half of the game. Like Innocence, Requiem puts you in the well-worn shoes of Amicia de Rune, a teenage girl who's tasked with protecting her younger brother, Hugo, as they traverse a plague-stricken, 14th-century France in search of a cure for his mysterious illness. Amicia is armed with a sling that can both kill helmet-less enemies and strike crates of conveniently-placed armor to create a distraction. You also have access to alchemical ammo that can either light fires or snuff them out, letting you navigate through the mischief of light-averse rats and use them to your advantage by shrouding enemies in darkness.

Amicia is a more proficient fighter this time around, so you're able to counter armored enemies after being spotted and leave them stunned for a few seconds. If you have a single-use knife handy, you can finish them off with a killing blow, but knives are hard to come by and also double as a tool for opening padlocked workbenches. These hidden stashes are filled with various crafting materials, so I always found it more advantageous to hold onto any knives I could get my hands on rather than wasting them on a single kill. You can also use Amicia's sling to strangle unarmored enemies by catching them unaware from behind. There's an element of risk and reward in doing so, however, since the animation is fairly lengthy and it's not completely quiet.

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