A Plague Tale: Requiem: We got to play an entire chapter of Asobo's sequel at Gamescom
Hugo and Amicia are better equipped, the world is broader and prettier, and as you would hope, the series' rat technology has been improved. Significantly.
There's no denying that this year's Gamescom lacked some serious heavy hitters. With Activision, Take-Two Interactive, Sony, Nintendo, and so on all deciding to skip the major convention. But just because these companies weren't in attendance doesn't mean there was a lack of incredibly exciting games that made appearances - with one of those very names being A Plague Tale: Requiem.
I must confess, I wasn't much a huge fan of this series until a few months back when I finally got around to playing A Plague Tale: Innocence, which needless to say left me incredibly excited and hopeful for Requiem. That's probably why going into the preview session - where Asobo Studio allowed me to play the entirety of the game's sixth chapter - disappointment wasn't really an option. While I will say this game plays a little differently from the first (mostly for the better might I add), it absolutely didn't let me down. But let me further dive into why.
First of all, as you'd expect from a game that is being created for PC and current-gen consoles only and forsaking PS4 and Xbox One unlike its predecessor, there are a lot of technological improvements that truly elevate A Plague Tale: Requiem. From larger levels that make life all the more challenging for Amicia and Hugo to navigate as enemies are more challenging to sneak past, to better lighting, resolution, and all the tricks and doodads that make a game look visually striking. The technological improvements are instantly noticeable, be it in the facial animations or when wandering through a lush lilac field of lavender, it's a significant step-up in quality that is best described in a comparison unique to A Plague Tale - rats.
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Following my play session, I caught up with game director, Kevin Choteau, as part of an interview that is now live on Gamereactor (see it above). It was here that Choteau told me that the better tech at Requiem's core allows the game to render up to 300,000 rats at once, up from the max of 5,000 that still made Innocence's vile rodent hordes seem unspeakably large. Needless to say, there will be plenty of rats again. More than you could ever perceive.
But back to the gameplay and how that has changed in this sequel. As we've been told frequently beforehand in trailers and gameplay videos, Amicia and Hugo are a bit older in this game. Not much older might I add, but just that little bit older that you can see the weight of the decisions the pair have had to make are pressing on them and changing them. Amicia is no longer a passive protector, an individual who sneaks and flees to evade danger. No, now she carries a crossbow that allows her to take the fight to her enemies. The ammo economy does mean that Amicia won't be able to gun down any foe that steps in her path, but she can cut down enemies with greater ease - something we begin to learn is the reason why the sibling duo are in another sticky and awful situation. Amicia also has some fancy new tools at her disposal, be it tar that causes flames to enlarge, and the crafting system has been streamlined a tad, so it's easy to see which weapons Amicia is using, and what ammo is currently loaded up.
Hugo also has some new rat-related powers, abilities that allow him to control hordes and guide them to attack enemies with direct precision, or even get a gauge on where enemies are wandering around (think rat-powered sonar). It all makes for new ways to tackle each level, which as I mentioned earlier, are larger and will require more patience and planning to get through without being spotted and overwhelmed by the many enemies.
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And generally speaking, this was the theme of the gameplay demo. A Plague Tale: Requiem is bigger, prettier, more detailed, and clearly produced to a much higher budget. There's never any doubt of that. This game is set to be one of the top games of the entire year, and if the rest of the story holds up to the quality that this singular chapter exudes, then it looks like Asobo might just have a Game of the Year contender on its hands. Needless to say, I'm very excited for this game, which is why October 18 can't come any sooner for me.