Looking for a comprehensive A Plague Tale: Innocence Review? We’ve got you covered! A Dark fantastical European landscape, A Noble house forced to flee from oppression and corrupt rule, Unearthed darkness rising from the depth of the earth. Here is our A Plague Tale: Innocence Review.
Set in the Kingdom of France and spanning several chapters this detailed and vibrant feeling adventure is the last thing, when you start it, that you would call a horror game. However, with a name like A Plague Tale, it’s pulled back nicely to give that sense of foreboding and dread that makes us think there is more going on. Developed by Asobo Studios and published by Focus Entertainment this take on the Middle Ages, and more specifically, the time set in the 100 Years War is deserving of a full Triple-A development in all its features.
Despite how the game starts in a bright and almost friendly way, it soon turns dark with the loss of Amicia’s dog and the introduction of the Inquisition. These 2 events set the scene for the rest of the game rather well and lay out what you will be doing to a moderate degree.
Although an introduction almost reminiscent of the 2003 film adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the game has a way of having lighthearted sequences blended incredibly well into the darker side of the story. The main storytelling force is the infection known to the world as the Bite (Plague) and the Inquisition who believe that through the use of Alchemy, they can rid the world of this infection. Despite this, they butcher and employ ruthless tactics upon the citizens of whatever town they are in, even if no plague symptoms are shown.
Graphics and Gameplay:
Whereas in medieval games you would expect a lot of action and exposition on the game, A Plague Tale doesn’t have that much at the start. There is some as the game progresses onward but the majority of the time is spent in stealthy situations utilizing lure tactics to pull enemies. That being said the fire mechanics are nothing short of astounding. As history has taught us rats carried the plague, and unfortunately in gaming terms, there isn’t much “conventionally” that could be used as a weapon. How A Plague Tale addresses this is by giving the player control over fire sources which aids in the progression and the advancement of the game’s core enemy class, the rats. Amicia can use torches or sticks that are set ablaze to defend against the swarms of rats throughout the adventure, additionally being able to craft firebombs to ignite set areas is fun too, and later being able to extinguish flames. This single mechanic is probably the best part of the game and is way more interesting than fighting off human enemies like in the second chapter.
As for graphics, there are times when you can just sink into the action of the game, like escaping the Inquisition at the start or the home life sequences where all you have is to explore and enjoy yourself. Personally, some of the better graphically presented sequences are on the Battlefield where there are two dead armies and you are tasked with making your way through. Strangely enough, this chapter seems more lively than even some of the city-based chapters all because you can see the recent history of what has happened there and that there is more going on in the game than just around the De Rune family.
One interesting feature of the game is the HUD Preset. The reason for this is you can utilise a typical HUD setup which gives feedback to the player, or you can use an Immersive mode which will remove the HUD and give a more real feeling experience.
One additional aspect that we should bring attention to is the soundtrack. The reason is just how good it is, it also has a reminiscent feel to the theme of Game Of Thrones. Although this is true it feels different in some way, and even down to the way the game plays at times, similarities can be drawn between the Stark family in GOT and the De Rune family in A Plague Tale: Innocence. Things like the children losing their home, and the fight that would bring them back to where they belong.
To conclude the game is a fantastic adventure, full of vibrant environments, interesting characters and a compelling story. Starting the game it felt like anything but a horror tale but as the player delves deeper into the story and uncovers everything, things really get interesting.
One of my personal favorite parts was the fire mechanics, as previously stated however the stealth system in the game is a close second as it keeps evolving the further you play. Combat is another factor like this but it feels like the game is more designed for stealthy approaches rather than a full combat encounter.
Personally, I would have liked some aspects to be a bit more refined, especially on the PS5 version of the game. One such aspect was the hair. This looks fantastic and there is no doubt, that for a now four-year-old game, it’s impressive, however, it looks like the cards that make up the hair of the characters are a little prominent. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that the characters look impressive but the hair kept distracting me, especially on Hugo. That’s not to say it’s bad or anything just distracting in some lighting conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game and wonder why I waited to play it for so long. Everything about the game has been excellently crafted from the lore of the world, all the way to the collectibles. Starting the game without knowing that Hugo had a collection related to him, which are flowers, was a really nice surprise, considering how he was when the player was first introduced. Finding him with his own set of collectibles which in most cases he initiates is fantastic and makes the game feel that little bit more alive, like the feeling present in Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us.
Overall the game felt akin to the 2018 God of War, where Kratos is very protective and cautious of almost everything. In A Plague Tale, Amicia is the same about Hugo. She knows that she has to protect him and do what is right, but achieving that goal will cost a lot. A good early point that illustrates this is in the village during chapter 2, Amicia is forced to kill, which yields the same result as Atreus in his first real battle during the 2018 GOW.
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