The tale of the plague gets bigger and fiercer with the sequel to Requiem

Things never go well for Amecia and poor Hugo. The last time we saw the siblings was in 2019 A Plague Tale: Innocence, They’ve just survived being chased by the Inquisition amid a plague ravaging France in the 14th century, which also brought swarms of carnivorous rats. Not exactly the right time. At several points of the sequel, A Plague’s Tale: RequiemThings seem to be going well. The couple find themselves in a safe city or among those who seem to be friends. There is even a nice little boat trip. But it never lasts – just like the original, mass It is a tense and brutal stealth game where survival is an achievement. The sequel expands on the idea of ​​two kids trying to survive unimaginable horrors with a larger world and new mechanics and loses some freshness along the way, but that core tension is as good as ever.

mass Rebounding a few months after the first match, the siblings are now relatively safe, having moved out of the horrors of their home in Gwen. At first, they are exploring Bordeaux in search of a cure for Hugo’s strange tragedy, which seems to kill him and create a unique bond with the ever-present flocks of rats. At first, they find a new home in a city with an expert who promises to help, but after a long time, things (of course) go wrong (of course) when a secret order from alchemists decides Hugo is going to conduct a great science experiment. At the same time, the area is placed under a ban due to the plague; Guards patrol the streets, carcasses are fueled by annoying bonfires, and mice are eager to find any warm meat to eat. As Hugo’s condition deteriorates, he begins to dream of a beautiful island, and eventually, he convinces Amecia, who has sworn herself as his protector, that a cure is likely to be found there. Thus the game becomes a long search mission to find this dream island.

on the principle , mass All this is no different from the previous one. At its most reductive, it can be described as a subtle and somewhat terrifying puzzle game. The most important moments are survival. This could mean sneaking up on ex-guards who will kill on sight or find your way through swarms of hungry mice. Sometimes you have to do both at the same time. Finding your way around safely is like solving a puzzle: you can sneak around the guard by distracting him, or you can drop his lantern so the mice, who are afraid of any light source, attack. The puzzles get more complex as you get new abilities and items. Eventually, you’ll be able to use tar to make huge fires, dust to put out flames, or a strange lure to direct mice where you want them.

This was mostly true of the original, and mass The sequel to the typical video game by making things bigger and more complex. Sometimes this works fine. At the end of the InnocenceThe novelty of manipulating mice and sneaking past guards is starting to fade, and several new additions make the formula even more interesting. Once you have a full set of items at your disposal, the puzzles get more complex and smarter (although you will keep spinning). Much cranks). There were many times when I really had to stop and think about how to combine the different elements so I could get them out of a seemingly insurmountable section.

Unfortunately, the game also makes a stronger push into action, which isn’t the string’s strong suit. There are a number of moments where Amicia is forced to kill, and you are given more tools to kill in this game, including a crossbow, a soldier’s mount, and ultimately, Hugo’s ability to actually control mice and guide them to a fresh meal.

This change makes sense in the narrative. great focus in mass is how violence changed Amecia. In the first game, I was forced to kill to survive, but in the second, it became a thing of the habit. You can see the material losses she takes over the course of the game, and there are times when she seems to even enjoy taking her life. The game seems to want you to feel bad about this, but as is often the case in games, taking the deadliest path makes things easier (and more fun) for the player. There is a disconnect between what you do and what you are supposed to feel.

But the bigger problem is that making Amicia a more skilled and effective assassin takes some of the stress out of the game. Plague tale He’s at his best when he veers into horror – the moments when siblings hold hands in the dark, using a torch to make their way through swarms of deadly mice. There are still some great moments like this in mass, including a particularly terrifying sequence in a rat’s nest. When it works, it’s scarier and scarier than ever. If there is a good use for next-generation consoles, it’s the ability to ramp up the horror by adding thousands more mice on the screen. (I played on PS5, and the crackling of mice feet coming in through the Dualsense console made me very Inconvenient.) By these standards, the recurring boss fights back and shooting seems like an afterthought I had to force myself.

When Innocence Coming out, it took a lot of familiar stuff, like stealth action and environmental puzzles, and put them together in an experience like nothing you’ve played before. mass It does not have this feature. Grandma no longer exists. The puzzles are more complex, the world is a little bigger, but you still do many of the same things. The good thing is that this stuff remains intense and terrifying, and Amicia and Huge’s ordeal is still amazing to watch as it unfolds. After two games, I’m still swinging by the site of thousands of ferocious mice and holding my breath until the kids find a temporary safe place. Many of the additions seem more like padding than necessary changes, so the sequel doesn’t pack the same punch as the original – but that doesn’t make mice any less intimidating.

A Plague’s Tale: Requiem It launches October 18 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Nintendo Switch (cloud edition).

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