All cards on the table, from the second I saw A Plague Tale: Innocence, I knew it was my type of game. A third-person, story-driven, linear experience –it doesn’t get more “Brett” than that. It’s the type of game I adore, and sadly, we don’t get many of them nowadays (damn you, games as a service!). If you have similar taste, you’re in luck. A Plague Tale: Innocence is a must play.
First off, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the game is absolutely stunning. Not only that, but there’s a keen sense of detail throughout the world. That was really surprising as there are segments in the game that where you’ll literally only spend 30-seconds in. The studio took the time to make sure every inch of this game feels realistic and lived in. The only downside to all of this is that the game sometimes suffers from some screen-tearing and framerate issues. However, it’s nothing a patch can’t fix. In short, A Plague Tale: Innocence goes above and beyond with its visuals and world-building.
Luckily, I’m not done praising the game. A Plague Tale: Innocence offers an intriguing tale about a young woman named Amicia and her younger brother, Hugo. Both are forced to run for their lives into an unknown, deadly world. A world that just so happens to be overtaken by millions of crazy infected rats. They encounter packs of these rats and enemy factions throughout their journey. This is not only a game of fear but also human vulnerability.
These characters are not well-equipped for what’s ahead, and it shows. However, as you move forward, you witness them grow and become accustomed to the fatal world. Amicia slowly becomes a woman of battle. From taking out foes by slinging rocks, to using the infected rats as her weapon. By the end of the game, she is not someone anyone should f*ck with.
In terms of story, I don’t want to go any more in-depth than that. I believe every game is better-experienced going with a blank slate. A Plague Tale: Innocence does offer a captivating tale that kept me engaged throughout the entirety of the game.
As I mentioned before, Amicia uses her sling to fling rocks at enemies. However, this also allows her to interact with the environments in various ways. The sling comes in handy for solving puzzles and tool for distraction. She can use this on both soldiers and rats. In short, the sling is your best friend in A Plague Tale. Amicia simply wouldn’t stand a chance taking on soldiers in close quarter melee combat. So, using stealth to knock out foes, or slinging rocks at their skulls, is her only chance at survival.
I loved this about the game. It leads to extremely tense and stressful situations where you truly feel in danger, especially considering you have a small child at your side for most of your journey.
My only qualm with the combat is that the game sometimes feels like it’s trying to be a mechanic-driven action title, akin to Horizon Zero Dawn or God of War (2018), yet, never fully commits. I doubt the developers were intending to be compared to action titles of that pedigree, but the combat leans into that style more than it strays away. As the player, it left me only wanting more of it. That said, using the sling is incredibly satisfying. Very reminiscent of the satisfaction when throwing Kratos’ ax in God of War. Winding up the sling and sending a fastball to a skull never really got old.
Two gameplay elements that I walked away astounded by are the puzzles and intense chase moments. The puzzles will make you think but not to the point of frustration. There’s a sense of mastery when finishing a puzzle and doesn’t push for tons of hand-holding, leaving with a perfect balance of the two. Then, the chase moments are adrenaline-pumping, Uncharted-like intensity. And as I mentioned before, you have a child with you, cranking it up 1000 percent. Seriously, rats have never been scarier.
A Plague Tale: Innocence won me over with its enthralling story, beautiful, yet, dreadful world, and moments of frightening action. There was never a dull moment throughout its linear, but meaty story. We need more developers like Asobo Studio’s willing to take chances like A Plague Tale: Innocence. It’s a brilliant game that shouldn’t go unplayed.
Release Date: May 14
No. of Players: 1
Category: Story, action-adventure
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Asobo Studio
A review code was provided by the publisher.
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Brett Medlock is Nintendo Enthusiast’s Editor-in-chief. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll