A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story explores the bond between siblings, whether people can change their ways, how people deal with trauma and guilt, and the idea of whether the good of the one can outweigh the good of the many. As the plot unfolds, players see that actions have consequences.
Positive Role Models
Amicia wants a peaceful life for her family, but finds herself in many kill-or-be-killed situations. She sometimes enters trauma-induced fits of rage in which she wants to kill out of hatred, but she expresses shame and guilt afterwards. Her little brother, Hugo, is an innocent and playful boy, but his affliction leads him to kill by proxy through the rats with which he's connected. Secondary characters include multidimensional, conflicted people who have done evil and acted selfishly in the past, but are attempting to do good in the present.
The primary playable character is a young woman. Secondary characters include men, women, and children. The bulk of the cast is white (which fits, given the setting of 14th century France), but there are a handful of olive-skinned characters, as well.
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Ease of Play
Movement is straightforward, but some of the combat/stealth mechanics and puzzles can be a bit tricky and take a while to learn. Three difficulty settings allow players to set their own level of challenge, and while the easiest makes combat less perilous, puzzle solutions can remain elusive.
Violence & Scariness
Amicia shoots and kills enemies at a distance with stones, arrows, and fire. Up close, she stabs and chokes foes, who bleed and gurgle as they die. Hugo takes control of hordes of rats that swarm over and eat enemies. Environments frequently contain piles of undead bodies in various states of gruesome decay, with heads severed, limbs scattered, and entrails pouring out of torsos. There are scenes where Amicia is forced to wade through waist-deep pools of human and animal decay.
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Dialogue -- both spoken and text -- contains a smattering of profanity, including "ass," "hell," and "damn," as well as stronger language, such as "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
This is a sequel to 2019's A Plague Tale: Innocence.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know A Plague Tale: Requiem is a stealth action game for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, and Windows PCs. It's the sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence, and features the same primary characters: Amicia and Hugo, tightly knit siblings in 14th century France dealing with a supernatural malady that involves swarms of rats capable of overrunning and consuming entire cities full of civilians. Amicia spends the game attempting to protect her brother from both the rats and guards who have been ordered to contain the plague. Players usually have the option of trying to sneak around enemies or confront them, using weapons such as a sling, a crossbow, knives, and alchemical powders that explode and catch fire. Combat is fierce and brutal, with enemies bleeding and gurgling as they die. Environments are frequently littered with piles of dead bodies in various states of gruesome decay, and Amicia is forced to wade through gory pools of blood and bodies that cause her and her companions to gag. Young Hugo is also dragged into the violence, as he learns to control the rats and set them to swarm over and eat guards that are attempting to kill him and his sister. Both siblings are traumatized and express sadness and guilt over their actions, but that doesn't stop them from continuing to kill to survive. Parents should also be aware that dialogue contains strong language, including the word "f--k."
Is It Any Good?
This quirky take on stealth action receives some light touch-ups in this gorgeously rendered sequel to the atmospheric original. A Plague Tale: Requiem looks fantastic. From dank caverns transformed into hairy rats nests to bustling city streets within classic gothic architecture to sunlit fields filled with waving grass and flowers, it's a feast for the eyes from start to finish. It also delivers a compelling narrative that digs into the minds of Amicia and Hugo, both of whom are clearly traumatized and guilt-ridden for all they've seen and done. Amicia in particular goes through a compelling transformative arc as she learns to deal with outbursts of violent rage that leave her questioning herself. Big new personalities -- like the towering and conflicted soldier Arnaud -- meanwhile, introduce even more gray morality as both the player and Amicia try to figure out if the bloodthirsty brute is trustworthy and/or worth forgiving. And the big question underlying everything is whether all the death and suffering being inflicted on innocent people could be avoided if Amicia simply allowed Hugo's sickness to overtake him, as their mother seems willing to let happen.
But what will likely determine whether players stick with the story through to the end is how and if they can warm to the game's unusual action and stealth mechanics. Stealth requires patience and the discipline not to use Amicia's arsenal of lethal tools and weapons to simply carve a path through patrolling guards. It becomes even harder to resist this temptation once you can simply command Hugo to swarm enemies with rats and Arnaud to attack and kill roaming foes. Taking the time to look for opportunities to use fire, explosions, and smoke to your advantage to lure rats and disorient foes may prove tiresome for some. And the puzzles, while not particularly long or hard, sometimes seem to lack the sort of visual cues often found in other games, assuming instead that players are able to riddle things out via the dialogue clues provided by companions. But those who take to the action and puzzles are liable to find themselves spellbound by A Plague Tale: Requiem and its bold approach to storytelling and play.
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