Playstation recently released over ten minutes of nearly uninterrupted gameplay of A Plague Tale: Requiem on their YouTube channel. This game was ubiquitous in the Summer Game Fest events, and it appears their marketing is far from over. This makes sense, as This trailer also revealed the game is indeed coming out this year, specifically on October 18th, 2022. The footage showed the main characters Amicia and Hugo weaving through several locations as they attempt to escape a garrison of guards that want to imprison them. There’s a small cutscene at the start where the characters explain their predicament, but most of the gameplay involves sneaking around guards and using several of Amicia’s new weapons to take them out when possible.
Now, it isn’t as though the trailer is bad, not even close. The overall reception can be described as positive, and a lot of interesting and fun-looking gameplay moments have fans excited. For example, we finally got to see some seamless footage of Amicia using her crossbow and some really well-animated stealth takedowns. Stealth gameplay in general seemed engaging, with thought-out level design that will make you have to really consider and plan your movements. The graphics look great, the performances sound phenomenal, and the more action-oriented moments are solid.
Some of the new gameplay elements stem from Hugo and his unwieldy powers. By connecting with the rats, enemies can be sensed through walls, which allows you to better time your actions. The end of the video shows a remarkably compelling gameplay sequence, in which you can control the horde of rats to take down your enemies, though only for a short amount of time. It’s brutal and dark, no doubt, but that’s kind of what makes it so cool too.
The original game was commercially successful and heavily praised for its story and atmosphere. It was a primarily narrative-driven game, and this sequel will undoubtedly follow in similar footsteps. So, it stands out more when flubs like the ones seen here break your immersion within the world. There are simpler things. At the start of the trailer, Amicia smacks her head and takes a while to gather her bearings; it’s clear the injury is serious. The voice acting continues to display this with pained tones and labored breathing, yet the animation continues normally as though Amicia is strolling leisurely through a forest. Just these ten minutes showed several instances in which the voice acting did not match what was happening on screen, as if it were poorly planned and then slapped together in post-production.
There’s an instance where the pair is whispering as they sneak by enemies. Then they get caught, yet continue to whisper as if nothing had happened. The worst offense, which many fans have pointed out, was that when Amicia goes to stab someone behind their back, she literally shrieks like a banshee even though it’s meant to be a stealth kill. The other guards that are no more than ten feet away, of course, don’t notice. When she kills another guard with a crossbow, he screams in excruciating pain, and an enemy close by does hear it. However, he proceeds to spout the most casual “came from that way…” you’ve ever heard, as if he didn’t just hear a co-worker get brutally murdered.
Finally, many expressed concerns regarding performance. Fans stated the trailer showed various instances of stuttering and complained that it wasn’t even running at 60fps. That is a headscratcher since this game decided to release only on current-gen consoles, specifically running on Switch via a cloud version. If so, there’s no discernible reason why this game couldn’t run at 60fps. This may be some sort of clerical error in the recording process, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Of course, the game seems to be doing the fundamentals right — the most important things, like the gameplay and the story. But often enough, little details are what separate the good from the great. And given that most of these issues can be fixed with some editing or removing of voice lines, the hope is they listen to fan feedback in the upcoming months before release.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is coming to Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC and Switch (Cloud Version), on October 18th, 2022.
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