Reviewed: A Plague Tale: Innocence
Remember when the world went through one of the most catastrophic pandemics that saw up to 200 million people lose their lives? To go through The Plague is already bone-chilling stuff, but try adding the supernatural twist of monstrous hordes of carnivorous rats that will stop at nothing to devour you in mere seconds, and there are Inquisition soldiers that will kill you on the spot. Oh, and all you have to defend yourself with is a sling and rock.
That sums up how bleak A Plague Tale: Innocence is, and while the sound of it all makes us want to just throw in the towel, its compelling story, narrative direction and harrowing, yet stunning, graphics will have you playing from start until finish.
When a game starts off with the protagonist’s dog being gruesomely dragged into the ground by rats, clearly it’s not going to pull any emotional punches. Too bad Amicia, the main character gamers play as, has to put up with it all.
She’s left as an orphan with her brother when the Inquisition army invades her estate (you know, just to make matters worse). They’re after her brother, Hugo, as his blood carries a supernatural power called the Prima Macula, all to be used for typical bad guy reasons (that we won’t spoil).
Hugo is a young pipsqueak, forever bound to Amicia’s side as she sneaks her way through areas riddled with soldiers, finds exit routes (via in-game puzzles) and gets through seas of rats. You’re fairly vulnerable, and being spotted by a guard or trailing off the path means instant death. Although, we doubt that will happen often.
Gameplay is simple, and it won’t take you long to figure out how to get past Amicia’s enemies. Those pesky rats hate fire, and gamers will either have a torch or Amicia’s special alchemy skills (which can be used with her slingshot to throw flaming stones) to fend them off. It’s basic level puzzle-solving, but this is more of a story-driven game that has gamers worrying about the lives of Amicia and Hugo rather than the gameplay itself. Getting through each stage (with some of the more cinematic pieces being an absolute thrill-ride to play) with ease makes A Plague Tale flow smoothly. It’s one of those rare narrative experiences that you start and stay playing for its entire 12-hour runtime.
If you’ve played 2017’s Senua’s Sacrifice, you’ll know exactly what you’re in for in this third-person action-adventure. Worth the buy.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows