Asobo Studio’s rat-infested sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem, continues to raise the stakes and push our young heroes, Amicia and Hugo, through the 14-century wringer, escaping battlefields and a fierce pandemic spreading throughout the land. But more than that, the new game shows immense growth. It elevates the franchise while still maintaining the simplicity and the essence of the first game, only adding a new layer of depth and improving on everything that worked so well the first time.
A Plague Tale: Innocence was developed by Asobo Studio as a survival-style game set in Medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Plague with folk horror elements. It follows the story of two siblings Amicia and Hugo de Rune, and their desperate struggle for survival while trying to cure Hugo of his mysterious sickness.
The game was published by Focus Entertainment in May of 2019 and players quickly became invested in Hugo’s story and the breathtaking world it was told in. With its emotionally resonant script, combined with intense and interesting quests involving chase sequences and stealth sections, there’s no question why the well-crafted stealth title became such a big hit.
Fans of the first game had been curious about what happened to the siblings after the events of the first game, so when it was announced back in June of 2021 that there would be a sequel to the award-winning adventure A Plague Tale: Innocence, fans’ excitement steadily began to grow. Now they finally have it and they’re all hoping that A Plague Tale: Requiem is as much of a specular grounded tale as the original game was.
Let’s take a look at the two games and what people can look forward to while playing through Amicia and Hugo’s new adventure.
A Plague Tale: Innocence – What Happened in the First Game?
In A Plague Tale: Innocence, we meet two siblings of noble birth living in Aquitaine at the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War: Amicia, a young teenager who has been taught how to hunt by her father (Robert), and her little brother Hugo who has been sick since he was born and separated from the rest of the estate while his mother (Béatrice ) tried to find a cure. Because of the forced separation, the two of them never really bonded with each other.
Their estate is soon invaded by the Inquisition, who are searching for Hugo and will slaughter everyone who gets in their way. Béatrice helps them escape and, before she is killed, instructs Amicia to get Hugo to Laurentius, a doctor who might no a cure for her brother’s illness. The siblings make for the village where they learn that the Bite (black plague) is being spread around by swarms of rats and that the Inquisition is looking for them, which means they have to avoid the villagers.
When they find Laurentius, it turns out he is sick with the bite. He begs Amicia to complete her mother’s work and his home is soon overrun by rats, forcing the siblings and Lucas, Laurentius’ apprentice, to leave. Together the three of them begin their journey to the Château d’Ombrage, an old castle that once belonged to the de Rune family. Along the way Lucas explains that their mother and Laurentius were trying to create an elixir that would lessen Hugo’s symptoms caused by the Prima Macula carried in his blood (an ancient supernatural curse that had been dormant within certain noble bloodlines since the Plague of Justinian) and that the Grand Inquisitor of France, Vitalis Bénévent, had been searching for Hugo for the Prima Macula.
The two siblings are captured, but they manage to escape quickly with some help from Arthur and Mélie (twin thieves). Unfortunately, during their escape to Château d’Ombrage Arthur is captured. Mélie decides to leave to go rescue her brother, while Amicia and Lucas continue to try and create the elixir that’ll help with Hugo’s curse.
It turns out that Lucas needs to get his hands on the Sanguinis Itinera (a forbidden book), so Amicia leaves to retrieve the books from the university. Her escape following the theft is aided by Rodric, a young blacksmith, and she once again returns to the Château where she meets back with Mélie and Arthur, who has been successfully sprung free of his capture.
Arthur reveals to Amicia that her mother is still alive and she tells them that no one is to tell Hugo, but her brother overhears the conversation and his anger causes his condition to deteriorate.
Lucas tells Amicia that in order to complete the research, create the elixir and help a quickly worsening Hugo, they’ll need much more advanced laboratory equipment than what is at their disposal at Château d’Ombrag. Seeing no other option, they decide to make their way back to the de Rune estate.
Once they arrive they begin to search for Béatrice’s research and laboratory, eventually finding it within ancient Roman ruins. The elixir is finally created and they give it to Hugo, who quickly recovers from the bulk of his ailments.
His anger at his sister causes him to run away and join the Inquisition in hopes of finding his mother. Vitalis finally gets his hands on the young boy and injects himself with some of Hugo’s blood so that he too can possess the power of the Prima Macula. Unfortunately for Vitalis, the elixir slowed down its development.
Hugo escapes and continues searching mor his mom, eventually managing to find her. She reveals to him that with the Prima Macula in his blood he had been granted the power to control the rats carrying the black plague. The two are captured before they can get to far and in an effort to force Hugo’s powers to fully awaken, Vitalis threatens Béatrice’s life.
While that is happening we are returned to Château d’Ombrage with Amicia and the others, who are all still searching for Hugo. It’s a month later when the old castle is suddenly attacked by a brainwashed Hugo with Nicholas and a horde of rats at his side. Nicholas kills Arthur and then orders the young boy to kill Amicia, but she brings Hugo back to himself and gets him to reject the Inquisition. The two siblings then turn on Nicholas, Hugo letting the rats consume him before they leave to go confront Vitalis and free their mother. As they make their way to the Bastion, Rodric sacrifices himself to protect them.
When they arrive Vitalis is waiting to meet them with an army of white rats that only he is able to command. Together Hugo and Amicia overpower and eventually kill him.
After three days the plague and the rats have disappeared and life begins to return to normal. Unfortunately for the remaining members of the de Rune family, people are wary of Hugo and his power. Even Mélie, who decides to depart from the group.
Amicia, Hugo, Lucas and an unwell Béatrice leave in search of a new life
A Plague Tale: Innocence ends on a sad, but hopeful note, with Amicia being and Hugo being playful with each other as they ride off into the distance, perfectly showing off how much the siblings have bonded over the course of the game.
The new trailer for A Plague Tale: Requiem starts off with Lucas, Amicia, and Hugo playing around in the ruins of an old castle. The optimistic tone at the beginning takes a quick dive as people speak of isolating Hugo, and Amicia is told that her young brother has been condemned to death by the Prima Macula that is still carried in his blood.
We then see signs of the Bite returning and Lucas explains that it isn’t starting, but spreading. We are led to believe that Hugo is the one responsible, no matter how unintentional it might have been.
Amicia is determined to save her brother and believes that if she gets him to an island, it will have secrets there that will save him from his fate and return the world back to normal once again.
We then see that the rats have indeed returned, but they are no longer just small hordes that cover floors and make areas difficult to go through. They are now seen in overwhelming waves that are capable of taking out entire cities.
Amicia is clearly going to be doing everything she can to protect her brother, even kill and Hugo is going to be struggling with the destruction and utter devastation brought on by his curse and the hordes of rats that come with it.
It’s going to be an emotionally taxing rollercoaster for both the siblings and the players and fans can’t wait to play through the adventure.
Six months after the events of A Plague Tale: Innocence we are once again thrown into Amicia and Hugo’s world. In A Plague Tale: Requiem, they are both doing a lot better and are shown to be enjoying themselves in the countryside as they play with Lucas, who soon excuses himself as he needs to return to his studies. Amicia and Hugo continue playing together and meet a young boy named Tonin, who quickly leaves to go help his brothers with their work.
They begin to explore the ruins of a castle but quickly run into trouble. Hugo attempts to use his powers to save Amicia, but he is thrown into a dreamscape with a phoenix. He follows the bird towards a water source that heals him and removes the darkness that had begun to take over the world around him.
Hugo begins to get sick again and becomes overwhelmed by his powers, bringing back the rats and the destruction that they brought with them, though this time they are more devastating than ever before. They are informed that Hugo is going to die because of the Prima Macula, but Amicia refuses to accept that as her brother’s end, so the two of them set off on a journey to follow the island calls and discover a definitive cure for his ailments so that he will finally be able to live a normal life.
They meet a couple of new characters along the way, some that betray their trust and others that they don’t entirely like, but end up becoming the most trustworthy along their adventures, and face off against otherworldly forces with their help.
In A Plague Tale: Requiem, Amicia has to come to terms with the emotional trauma she deals with when killing her enemies. She wants to hurt the world that is hurting her brother and she’s not afraid to do what she must to make sure that he survives this war.
Players will meet plenty of different characters as they travel across the violent world in A Plague Tale: Requiem and each is voiced by an incredible voice actor that does their best to bring the story to life. Some of them will become fast friends, others will betray the main characters for the chance of a better life and a few will end up surprising players with the turn they take.
Amicia de Rune (voiced by Charlotte McBurney) is the main character of both games. Trained as a hunter by her father and having very little contact with her sick brother when they were growing up, she is named as her brother’s protector and spends the entirety of the second game doing all she can to make sure that Hugo survives his sickness in the plague-ridden countryside of France.
Hugo de Rune (voiced by Logan Hannan) is the deuteragonist of both games. A young boy who has spent his entire life in isolation and as a result knows almost nothing about the outside world but he enjoys traveling it anyways, much preferring the dangers outside to what he was forced to endure. When his sickness starts to worsen and threatens all existence as a result, he and Amicia search for an island that he believes will be able to cure him.
Lucas (voiced by Kit Conner) was first the apprentice of Laurentius and now the apprentice of Béatrice. He spends a lot of his time helping Amicia try to find a cure for her sick brother and becomes a good friend of the two siblings.
Béatrice de Rune (voiced by Lucy Briggs-Owen) is the mother of Amicia and Hugo. She is an alchemist who married into Nobility and spends a lot of her time trying to find a cure for her son’s sickness
Arnaud (voiced by Harry Myers) is a former knight. He leads a group of mercenaries during the Hundred Years’ War. Amicia doesn’t entirely trust him at first, but he becomes a good friend of hers at the end.
Sophia (voiced by Anna Demetriou) is a pirate leader who Amicia and Hugo befriend on their journey. She assists them in getting Hugo to his island and is looking for a way to get away from her life of piracy.
Along with them are Victor (who is voiced by Alistair Petrie), Emilie (voiced by Ellie Heydon), Vaudin (voiced by Anthony Bryne), Joseph (voiced by Ruben Crow), and Milo (who is voiced by Joplin Siptain).
As with the previous game, each character brings an interesting new dynamic to A Plague Tale: Requiem, along with their own story. If players are crying over their favourite characters by the end of the game, then the game developers have done their job properly.
In A Plague Tale: Requiem, you play from a third-person perspective as Amicia as she faces off against soldiers, mercenaries, and rats. It is a similar experience to A Plague Tale: Innocence, but the combat system has expanded to include a variety of weapons. Now Amicia is able to use her sling, along with a knife and a crossbow to easily defeat her enemies and she has a variety of tools and alchemical mixtures which allow her to get passed the environmental puzzles thrown her way.
She will no longer die after one hit and her stealth has been slightly improved. Players can gain skills and become more effective in their preferred approach to the game. Those who prefer stealth can develop and upgrade their stealth skills, making it easier for them to sneak past their enemies and get through different areas, while players who prefer a more lethal approach can upgrade their combat skills and take out their enemies in many different ways
Like the previous game, the rats once again play a large part in the gameplay. They are still light-averse and Amicia is still able to manipulate the rats and use them to her advantage, moving them away with light to solve puzzles and clear paths or luring them toward her enemies. Hugo’s ability to control the rats also comes in handy as he can command them to overwhelm an enemy and his connection to the plague allows him to use the ability “Echo”, through which he can discover the locations of different enemies, even through walls.
Players can discover their own way through the different quests they’re sent on and the new locations they come across.
The story of Amicia and Hugo is a heartbreaking one. The two characters take an emotional journey that leads to some difficult decisions and unfortunate losses. It’s beautiful to see the love of two siblings hold strong in the uncaring world around them.
Players will be able to take part in the breathtaking journey in 4K on PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. A cloud version of A Plague Tale: Requiem will also be made available for Nintendo Switch users.
There’s something very The Last of Us-like about A Plague Tale: Requiem. Those who’ve played Sony’s PlayStation exclusive will observe a sense of familiarity here.
In the very first chapter, we’re thrown into a game of hide and seek with Amicia and Hugo de Rune set against the backdrop of France, 1349. It’s a very clever way to introduce the characters and teach players the stealth survival gameplay needed to survive the world. But like The Last of Us, just as you come to terms with the controls, the game takes a dark turn. You’ll quickly have to use the skills you’ve just acquired to survive threats from vermin, villagers, patrolling guards and other dangerous situations. This is an apocalypse of a different time, and instead of hordes of zombies, you have to face a sea of deadly rats.
And that’s not where the similarities between the two horror games end either. Both are rich with story, both are filled with puzzles, both require you to craft weapons and collect ammo, both have a way of drawing you into the threatening world and both have relatable, sorrowful characters you can’t help but feel for — they are the life and soul of both titles. Also, again, like in The Last of Us, there’s a big focus in Requiem on how the violent acts have changed and impacted Amicia.
However, when you consider the different setting, the different weapons and Hugo’s rat-controlling powers, A Plague Tale: Requiem sets itself apart from being a The Last of Us copy.
If you enjoy games that feel like movies you’ll feel at home here. The 18-hour game campaign plays out like a well-produced TV series and Asobo flexes its historical artistry with aplomb. Everything is alive and everywhere the camera pans is gasp-inducing beauty or nightmarish backdrops. For good or bad, 14th-century France feels very real. Asobo has brought it to life again — disease, poverty, dirt, struggles, and all.
In short, A Plague Tale: Requiem is great. And while some might find the gameplay quite difficult and unforgiving, it does make up for the strenuous challenges by rewarding players with a beautiful soundtrack, life-like cutscenes, well-written dialogue, and an engaging narrative that you’ll want to see to its completion.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
A Plague Tale: Requiem is everything fans of the first game wanted in a sequel -- more action and a more ambitious narrative. If you're a fan of the original, you're going to love the new game.
Hannah Lieberum is, first and foremost, a geek with a passion for writing. Her love for reading, from the classics through to sci-fi, often needs her to focus and overanalyse the narrative of films and games, while her love for art allows her to see the beauty in unexpected shots. An excellent backstory will always win her over, and she will never pass up the opportunity to sit back, relax and watch Star Trek while petting her permanently grumpy cat.