Noob Reviews: A Plague Tale: Innocence
This review will be based on Xbox One gameplay. Although I have attempted to avoid spoilers, there may be some included to help explain specific points.
What is A Plague Tale: Innocence?
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a bit of a mixed bag of genres, with both stealth and action-adventure aspects to it. But I guess the primary style you could class it as is survival horror due to the nature of the ever-looming threat. Plague rats that destroy everything they come into contact with.
Based in 1348, the de Rune family are a family of noble descent living in rural Aquitaine. A land torn by war between the French and English armies as part of an event known as the Hundred Years' War. Unbeknown to all in the family (but the mother) their youngest son/brother is infected with a supernatural evil called Prima Macula that enables the youngest to control plague-infected rats. The only problem is Prima Macula infects its victims via the blood, can cause severe illness to the carrier themself and has the potential to be a robust biological weapon. Having been made aware of this, the Inquisition, led by a masked figure known as Lord Nicholas, invades the de Rune homestead. Slaying the servants and family members alike. Luckily though Hugo (the youngest) and Amicia (his older sister) are able to escape the slaughter.
From here on out it is a game of cat and mouse as not only must the two evade Lord Nicholas' forces, but stay one step ahead of the English army, the French army, various plague-ravaged villages whose villagers seek to burn the children at the stake. And the endless swarms of plague-infected rats that are spreading across the lands. If they can accomplish this, there is rumoured to be a cure. Something that may be able to cure Hugo of his rapidly failing health.
Luckily though as daunting as this may all sound, you will come across allies that can help. From the kind gesture of an elderly woman to the melee skill of a blacksmith's son and lock picks of a pair of thieving siblings.
The game spans about a year and has many exciting plot twists, mechanics and characters that you can truly love or loathe. Although not a full-blown RPG there are a lot of options for ammunition and utility item crafting. Weapon upgrades. And utility storage crating (for both ammunition and utility items, and ingredients you use for crafting).
What formats is the game available on?
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Official Launch Trailer -
When was it released?
A Plague Tale: Innocence was released in May 2019.
Who created A Plague Tale: Innocence?
Asobo Studio you may know from quite a few other games such as The Crew, ReCore and Zoo Tycoon (to name but a few). Whereas Focus Home Interactive have been involved in Blood Bowl, The Council, Sherlock Holmes, Styx and The Surge (to name but a few titles).
What do you think of A Plague Tale: Innocence?
I was not sure what to expect when going into A Plague Tale for the first time as I had seen quite a few mixed reviews, some said it was boring, dull and overly depressing. Others that it was unique, fantastic and a breath of fresh air. With all of that in mind, I decided to ignore everyone else jump in and see what it had to offer.
The game is, in my opinion, fantastic. Admittedly chapters one to three are a little slow and feel like they are dragging on, but they do so for story purposes and to initiate you into the game as there is a lot to take in, in a short amount of time. All in all, the game is about 16 - 20 hours.
From movement to stealth elements. Combat to crafting. The mechanics within the game, although not flawless are (for the most part) smooth and easy to get to grips with. If I were to pick fault or highlight any flaws within A Plague Tale, it was that at times the camera angles could be annoying and not quite show you the full scene. Some resources would intermittently not spawn/allow you to collect/interact with them. And at times button commands would be unresponsive should you try to vault items in chase scenes too slow or too early. Although the unresponsive issues were few and far between, they did seem to randomly occur at the most inconvenient of times. Unfortunately having read the reviews on several platforms (Cex, Amazon, eBay etc.) other players have experienced the same.
The other thing that may annoy a few people was at times levels also felt overly guided where you had to perform tasks in a certain way or take out enemies in a specific order, which felt as if you were being handheld and had no freedom of choice. Personally, I only picked this up on a few sections, but it was notable. So I thought it worth a mention.
Overall a great game that we managed to complete in just two streams but I have since begun playing back through on my own too as it has so much replayability, especially if you want to get all of the achievements and extra bits of lore.
What overall rating would you give A Plague Tale: Innocence?
Overall I would give A Plague Tale: Innocence a 4 out of 5 bananas.
With an engaging story, unique mechanics and delicate balance between action and stealth, A Plague Tale: Innocence has much to offer to a broad scope of players. That is as long as you are not squeamish about rats, of course. The only real downside is the intermittent issues you can have as mentioned above (camera angles and harvesting etc.)
Thank you very much for checking out the review. I hope you enjoyed it. Admittedly, everyone has a different opinion, and all I can do is encourage you to try out this game for yourself and see what you think.