^Stay tuned after the ads for our guide to legging it through a particularly gnarly bit of Requiem’s second chapter.
Look, we all know that pang of regret that comes on when you ***-up a stealth section and get spotted but finish the level anyway. There’s always a lingering sense of having not done things Properly. Perhaps, if you’re the sort of person who likes to get max sync in Assassin’s Creed no matter what, you’ll make a mental note to do better on your next playthrough. But A Plague Tale: Requiem encourages you to simply manage, however one must.
At the end of chapter two there is a sequence which ostensibly presents itself as a stealth section, complete with reeds to hide in, guards with predictable patrols, and plenty of cover to duck behind. But something happens around half way through which mixes things up in a way that the first game never quite dared: the rats cometh. Bursting up from the ground, through walls, hugging the edge of the light and filling every dark space. In this section, A Plague Tale’s “The Floor Is Lava” game collides with its “Hide and Seek” game: and the results are harrowing.
It’s perfectly possible to finesse the level, but it can for some be an exercise in frustration requiring a change of tack. The tack being: leg it.
Just boost for the door. It might take a couple of goes, as there are scripted moments where the guards will cross your path while trying to flee the rat outbreak, which just reinforces the idea that the game wants you to perfect a run rather than sneak around. And it’s a curious bit of game un-design because you can’t help but wonder if this window of opportunity that gives you an almost clear run to the exit, bypassing potentially around fifteen minutes of game, has been engineered into the level as a concession to (or apology for) the fact that the game’s systems don’t really interact that well, or… is it a metaphor for pushing ahead through chaos? Sort of mimicking Amicia’s struggle with her own cautious nature as a teenage girl in the middle-ages as she is forced, through circumstance, to brute-force her way right through the centre of an erupting shitstorm?
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it’s a moment that I find fascinating.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is out tomorrow on Game Pass for PC and Xbox Series X|S, Steam, and PS5.