As the sequel to one of the biggest surprise hits of 2019, A Plague Tale: Requiem is naturally a game that’s been on many people’s radars since it was first announced, and the fact that it’s looked increasingly promising with each new showing has, of course, been a huge boost to the anticipation surrounding it. The action-adventure stealth title is launching on October 18, and ahead of its release, here, we’re going to go over a few key details you should know about the game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence ended with what seemed like a resolution of the rat problem, but of course, there’s troubled waters ahead. Amicia, Hugo, and their mother Beatrice are living a relatively peaceful life when A Plague Tale: Requiem kicks off, six months after the events of the first game, but when Hugo’s affliction flares up again and massive rat swarms begin re-emerging, the siblings are forced to flee. Their ultimate goal now is to get to a mysterious island in Southern France with enemies on their tail, in hopes of finding a cure for Hugo’s blood disease.
As you may have expected, A Plague Tale: Requiem is making plenty of iterative improvements on the gameplay fronts, as part of which players will have access to a wider range of tools in both stealth and combat. Amicia is now equipped with a knife, which she can, of course, use to stealth kill enemies, while it can also be handy in melee combat. Another major new tool is the crossbow, while things such as throwing pots and the slingshot also return. Amicia can also combine her tools with alchemical substances, and can also use tar to slowdown enemies or light them on fire.
In A Plague Tale: Innocence’s final moments, we saw Hugo controlling a huge swarm of rats, and in Requiem, that’s coming taking the form of a major, central gameplay mechanic. As useful as controlling hordes of rats to devour and overwhelm foes sounds though, you won’t be able to use it constantly. Every time Hugo uses this ability, he’ll be in danger of losing control, at which point those rats can run rampant- so be careful when you choose to let them loose.
Meanwhile, the developers also promise that A Plague Tale: Requiem’s rats are going to be much more efficient at catching prey, from being able to better use the environment to their advantage to even being able to climb to higher spots and areas.
Just as it was in the first game, stealth is going to be at the heart of the experience in Plague Tale: Requiem. Once again, light and shadow will play a vital role not only as you avoid rat swarms, but also as you try to hide from foes and manipulate light sources to direct rats at enemies, just like the first game. On top of that, you can also expect various mechanical improvements- for instance, Amicia can now withstand more than a single hit, which means that if you get caught by enemies, you now have the option to run away, hide, and re-enter stealth.
Along with being able to control rat swarms, Hugo also has access to the new Echo ability, which allows you to see enemies through walls. Of course, though this is new to A Plague Tale, it’s by no means new to stealth games- or, you know, games in general. It’s essentially A Plague Tale’s equivalent of The Last of Us’ Listen mode. There’s always the danger of a mechanic like that being overused by the player in a stealth game in particular, so hopefully A Plague Tale: Requiem will be able to balance it properly and make sure it doesn’t feel too useful- but, you know, not not useful either.
Given all the improvements A Plague Tale: Requiem is making in the stealth department, it goes without saying that enemy AI is also getting some upgrades. Foes will now be much more methodical in their efforts to seek you out, especially if they’re already spotted you before, and from the looks of it, they’re also going to be much more communicative with each other. Interestingly, Asobo Studio has also confirmed that enemies will adapt to Amicia’s tactics, which means players will have to make sure that they don’t rely on a few tactics too much and keep mixing things up.
Like its predecessor, A Plague Tale: Requiem is going to be a linear game that’ll see you moving from location to location- but the developers are promising that the locations that you do visit are going to be much larger. During combat and stealth, the arenas you find yourself in will be much more complexly designed, giving you multiple options in how you want to proceed, with sections that are more focused on exploration will also allow players to dig into the environments much more than the first game did.
Like its predecessor, A Plague Tale: Requiem will feature a rudimentary progression system- though not quite as rudimentary as it was in the first game. Players will be able to unlock new skills and abilities for both stealth and combat purposes, as well as alchemy, which should ideally allow for greater player agency. Meanwhile, using workbenches, you’ll also be able to upgrade your tools and equipment.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is, in all likelihood, going to be a tight, concise experience, but those who want to spend more time digging into its offerings will also find some interesting side content on offer. While details on this front haven’t yet been officially shared, the game’s leaked Achievements list mentions a few side activities, like a minigame called Port, collectibles to track down, and memories of past events that you can seemingly find throughout the game, called “souvenirs”.
The characters are the heart and soul of A Plague Tale, of course, but who are the actors portraying them? Charlotte McBurney and Logan Hannan are coming back to play Amicia and Hugo respectively. Meanwhile, Lucas and Beatrice are characters fans of the first game will be familiar with- though they have new actors portraying them in the sequel, with Kit Connor playing Lucas and Lucy Briggs-Owen playing Beatrice.
Unlike the vast majority of new releases over the last couple of years, A Plague Tale: Requiem is not a cross-gen game, and is releasing only for current-gen hardware. Speaking in an interview with EDGE magazine, director Kevin Choteau explained how that benefits both the game’s story and its gameplay. “In Innocence, some parts could look a bit like a theatre set due to technical limitations,” he said. “For Requiem, we’ve been able to push the horizon much farther. When we write, [the increased quality] allows us to consider sequences that were previously impossible, such as chases with hundreds of thousands of rats, or locations that evolve dynamically according to the story and events.”
Interestingly enough, A Plague Tale: Requiem is also going to be available on the Nintendo Switch when it launches, and though that might at first glance seem contrary to what we just talked about, it’s not really going to be constrained by the Switch’s significantly weaker. That’s because it’s going to release for the platform exclusively via the cloud, as many other games have chosen to do with greater frequency in recent years- just as A Plague Tale: Innocence did in 2021.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is a game that many fans of the original are going to go out and buy in droves, but if you’re not willing to pay up to dive into its offerings, there’s good news for you. The game will be available for Xbox Game Pass on day one, so subscribers can jump right in without paying any additional money for the game itself.
If you’re excited enough to shell out extra money for a meatier edition of A Plague Tale: Requiem that comes with additional goodies, you will, of course, have that option. Priced at $189.99, the Collector’s Edition will include a copy of the game itself, a 20 cm resin statuette of Amicia and Hugo, a metal brooch based on feather ornaments worn in the game by Hugo, three lithographs, and a vinyl of the game’s OST.