Name: A Plague Tale: Innocence
Developer: Asobo Studios
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Will a plague that almost wiped out Europe, work as a backdrop for an emotional story about siblings. Or is it possible to play this if you suffer from musophobia (fear of mice/rats) and does A Plague Tale have enough to keep it interesting to the end? Let’s take a look.
Amicia de Rune is one of the main characters coming from a noble family that is highly regarded. While being on a hunting trip with her father, their dog runs away from them. Chasing him until they find him half devoured still suffering until he suddenly gets dragged down a black hole. They head back to their home to inform about what happened, but as they enter the gate the English army comes knocking. Amicia is being told to find her mother and brother Hugo that she hasn’t seen a lot of during his upbringing. Hugo has been ill since birth, and their mother Beatrice, an alchemist, has locked him away in the family estate for years looking for a way to cure him. A supernatural thing in his blood that makes him a target of the Inquisition, puts them in danger and will have to work together to survive It is after the Inquisition attacks their home that Amicia and Hugo must make their way through the land, fighting the rats that bring the plague, as well as the Inquisition who would seek Hugo’s blood for their own. Through their journey, they will have to learn to know each other in some of the worst surroundings.
It is something powerful to see to siblings that hardly know anything about the other, having to work together as they also finally get some time together. Amicia doing everything she can to calm Hugo in the worst moments, being a big sister for the first time without their parents. While for Hugo that is so young suddenly get ripped out from the life he knows in his safe room.
How they get portrayed is great, with all the emotion the actors carry with their voice. Well I think they do (since I chose to play it with French voice acting, instead of English with a French accent) French is a truly beautiful language to listen to, it made me focus more on the subtitles to understand but I think it was worth it. While playing through the story many questions will fill your mind and keeps the story interesting through. Who, what and why?
A Plague Tale is a beautiful but also a gruesome looking game, while graphically it is beautiful the environment it shows is not so much. Dark and grim with black often taking up most of the space. It runs great I would think (hadn’t it been for my Xbox One that is literally on the brink of dying) If you have ever wondered what death incarnated looks like, A Plague Tale shows what that looks like. I’m so glad we live in a time where there are medicines that can save us from a fate like that. (but let’s not get political) one can see the textures of the clothing distinctly, hair flows in a very natural way and the movement of characters is fluid. That leaves nothing to complain about I love the game’s art direction. The character designs, architecture, lighting are fantastic.
A Plague Tale is a story driven action-adventure game with stealth and puzzle elements. The gameplay can be divided into three main sections: stealth, rats, and puzzles. The stealth is very traditional, there are no shadows hide in or disguises to use, it is all about line-of-sight. You can hide from enemies either by ducking behind a cover or crouching in tall grass. Stealth is its own kind of puzzle, and for nearly half of the game feels like there is only ever one way to get by enemies. Once your options and the level design opens up, the stealth becomes a lot more appealing. Then there are the dreaded rats, that are a completely different pain in the ass. Whereas humans lose track of you over time and/or can be killed, rats are relentless and will only be stopped with light. The rats as a whole are really quite impressive, they undulate and crash down like water. They scurry away from light, swarm over each other in an attempt to reach you, and leave devastation in their wake. They literally are a force to be reckoned with. And when your interactions with humans and rats intersect, it’s grizzly. And that’s where the musophobia kicks in if you suffer from that there is no chance in hell that you will play through this without feeling the symptoms sneak up on you. The share amount of rats on screen at times is enough to help develop musophobia on someone that isn’t already affected.
In order to deal with both the humans and the rats, you have your trusty sling. Throughout the game, you will collect supplies to upgrade equipment and craft items. The rocks you sling can be combined with other elements to create new projectiles like Ignifer, which can ignite torches and fires, or Devorantis, which will burn through an enemy’s helmet. At various points in the game, there are workbenches that allow you to upgrade your equipment. Conversely, you can craft consumables like Ignifer and Devorantis in the field. Although some of the upgrades are easily left alone, most of them feel valuable and useful.
As the game progresses, it gets more challenging and Amicia becomes more capable with more tools at her disposal. So, in the beginning, you can easily feel a bit underpowered and more often than not uses hiding as the best approach when meeting enemies. But later you have more to kick their ass with and to be safe from rats. Amicia also can tell Hugo, as well as the other children when they are in the party, what to do. These are simple commands, such as “stay” or “come.” One party member, though, can pick locks, while another can smash down barriers and doors. Hiding is always preferable to fighting, but sometimes the children have no choice.
There are also light puzzle elements the majority of these are simple light-based puzzles, requiring you to make a path through the rats. There are also some block and lever puzzles. None of them tax the brain much but do a good job to break up what takes up most of your game time: the narrative.
When it comes to the controls A Plague Tale is pretty much straightforward as a third person game becomes. Amicia controls easily and everybody else is controlled with simple commands, so it didn’t give me any headaches. There was a struggle at the beginning with the button layout with the game elements but after a while, it got sorted out. It works well and is just as good as you expect
A Plague Tale: Innocence strongest asset is in its story, so how much there is to get from the game after you finish might be slim. It’s a narrative experience, a great one that is but this isn’t something you will pick up up to play and spend hours to play through again
Story - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Controls - 10/10
Replay Value - 6/10
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a great game, with a story that engages. With gameplay that evolves as you play, and with different situations that keep it interesting. The story of Amicia and Hugo how they have to be siblings in a situation hopefully no one has to experience again for many reasons obviously. It is emotional and intriguing and definitely something you have to experience if you want a singleplayer that draws you in.
- Great story
- Amazing voice acting
- Great environments
- Not musophobia friendly
- Not so challenging puzzles