A Plague Tale: Innocence Review

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After spending months teasing their next game Asobo Studios has finally released the highly anticipated A Plague Tale: Innocence.  A story driven single player game built on tension, stealth and swarms of ravenous red-eyed rats.  Can it live up to the hype and is worth picking up? Read on to find out!

System Requirements

Note
No ultra-wide support as of writing this review

Played on:

Low EndHigh End
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 6500 u 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940 (2 GB)
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 8700 4.0 GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Graphics: EVGA Nvidia GTX 1080Ti (11 GB)

Story

1349. The plague ravages the Kingdom of France. Amicia and her younger brother Hugo are pursued by the Inquisition through villages devastated by the disease. On their way, they will have to join forces with other children, and evade swarms of rats using fire and light. Aided only by the link that binds their fates together, they will face untold horrors in their struggle to survive; as their adventure begins…the time of innocence ends.

Gameplay

To its core the game is a stealth adventure with strong escort elements. The whole goal of this game is to escape the inquisition and get Hugo proper treatment since he is very ill. The journey is a complicated one since you run into the plague on top of the inquisition. The player has to use his/her wits to survive. Amicia goes through many situations where she has to take notice of who/what is in the background and where the next point on the map is to progress further in the story. As you can see in the video above Amicia has tools to deal with different situations. Things that range from a sling shot that can kill enemies without helmets, sleep potion of sorts, and even vases (which distract others with the sound they make).

The player can find everything needed to go through every situation in the game. The developers were nice enough to scatter materials in the perfect spots that the player can benefit greatly from it. So in those moments when things are tight keep your eyes open for sparkling items lying around. Also keep an eye for sparkling metallic objects. Those are ones that are strategically placed in environments so the players can throw a rock to them and use the noise it makes when hitting them. This might be the most used game mechanic of the entire game as you’ll take advantage of it from beginning to the end of the game.

Other objects the player interacts with aren’t exactly used for distracting the inquisition. Once the plague rats come into play the game gets a bit more complicated. You have to take into account the time of day and best use of your limited resources. For an example once the plague rats pop up while evading the inquisition there will be times when you could toss a rock at a lantern a guard is holding causing it to break. Once it breaks the light drops and starts to dim causing the rats to swarm around him then eat him alive. While they are eating him alive you can sneak the other way to get past the tight pickle.  There will be a few instances where the game will try to trick you to use your resources way while hiding the real situation where you need those resources.

Rats

With that being said let’s talk about the rats for a moment. The rats come in swarms of hundreds and will stop eat anything in their path. They only show up at night so anytime during the day you don’t have to worry about them. Lucky for you though the AI is aware enough to where they do worry. So once they introduce these rats (in a shocking way by the way) the player has to take note of sources of light to create a path for him/her to go through. The rats can’t stand light/fire.

This simple mechanic is an excellent one for the player to use and abuse (If done right). Controlling light/fire doesn’t just ensure your safety but it gives you a way to kill enemies without having to even touch them. Be wary though since sticks that you light only last for a few seconds!

The last mechanic I will talk about is one of the most important ones that affect gameplay instantly. It is the game’s crafting system. Crafting in this game is pretty straight forward where you find materials scattered throughout the game world then create items to use in combat or upgrade equipment. This game has two methods of crafting. One that involves the player to find work benches scattered throughout the story and one that can be accessed via the menu of the game. Anything that has to do with equipment you will have to find a work bench. Anything that isn’t equipment you can craft on the go anywhere (As seen in the video at the beginning of this section).

Visuals

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous. In the trailer above it puts into focus a few different settings and show cases animations of different character models. All being extremely pleasing to the eyes even the darker scenes. The color palette is the real winner here giving that edge that immerses the player into the game world. It strives to be something beautiful while being something gruesome and works. The level of detail that was put into the backgrounds feels so real that it can bestow claustrophobia (if one doesn’t have it already). The colors in some scenes make the space feel so small when design wise it’s not as small as the eyes think. This creates the illusion that the player feels like he/she is trapped in a room full of demonic rats or trapped in a field next to homicidal knights.

Soundtrack

The sound in this game puts the last touches on such an immersive experience.  The music isn’t distracting. The music does its job and transitions the player through different scenarios. Every change effects the tone of what is on the screen either adding tension or relief.

Stability

Lately, game developers and publishers are pushing their games with either a couple big bugs or a plethora of smaller bugs. Luckily A Plague Tale: Innocence (at least during my play through) has given me one bug and that was just changing the settings around. It turned my full screen to borderless window and wouldn’t switch back until I restarted the game. Other than that I’ve run into nothing. I’ve beaten the game. This is how game should be on day one.

Final Verdict

A Plague Tale: Innocence is an amazing narrative driven game. It’s a much-needed break from the overabundance of multi-player games that have come out recently. All though game is around 10-15 hours long (depending on the player) it is well worth it. The writing is top-notch, the graphics are beautiful, and the combat/stealth is a lot of fun (also nerve-racking). At the end of the day it’s a game that will give you a very immersive and shocking experience from beginning to end. There is a lot of effort that was put into this game crafting something that is just shy of being called a masterpiece. I highly recommend at least giving this game a try. It is the perfect example of a developer choosing quality over quantity. A Plague Tale: Innocence will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam May 14th.

Good

  • Well-crafted immersive gameplay
  • Outstanding writing
  • Fun combat/stealth
  • Minimal bugs
  • Beautiful environments and character models

Bad

  • Short story
  • Inconsistent AI difficulty during early parts of the game
  • Frames in the menu were a lot lower than in game
9

Amazing

Story - 9.1
Characters - 9
Gameplay - 9.1
Soundtrack - 8.8
Graphics - 9.3
Stability - 8.9
PR Manager for geekisphere.
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