This amazing game from a relatively smaller team rivals several big budget AAA games in terms of storytelling, visual design, gameplay and voice acting. A one of a kind adventure set in Europe during the Bubonic Plague, it has a lot of heart. Especially relevant during this modern-era plague. Recommended.
- Great Story
- Stealth Elements
- Art and Visuals
- Voice Acting
What' not so
- HDR seems a little bit off
- Gameplay is linear and guided at times
- No options to control bloom and blur
- Final Act feels a bit strange
A Plague Tale: Innocence
I stumbled upon this when I'd finished playing Hellblade on game pass and was looking for something new to keep me entertained over a long weekend. Glanced over the description and went in knowing close to nothing about it - which is how I'd recommend how you should get into it.
Set in Medieval Europe during the largest known plague in recorded History, you experience the grim environment filled with bodies of humans and animals alike, with Inquisition soldiers hunting you down and the star of the show, rats consuming everything in their path, through the eyes of two orphans from a noble family - Amicia and Hugo.
Divided into sixteen (plus epilogue) chapters, this felt more like an interactive television series with each chapter taking roughly forty to sixty minutes. The team at Asobo (Also the guys behind the latest Flight Simulator (crazy, I know right!)) has done a great job with the narrative design, with chapters having their own acts and cliff-hangers.
The gameplay is of the stealth, puzzle and co-operative variety with you primarily controlling Amicia, using an arsenal of throwables to distract, attack, ignite fires, extinguish them, etc, with puzzle elements utilizing companions thrown in the mix. Fifteen year old Amicia holds the five year old Hugo's hand throughout the most of the game, with a mechanic that can be used to make Hugo stay in-place while Amicia can go explore and walk faster; but the child panics if left alone for too long. There are some sections where you play as Hugo but that falls under the realm of spoilers.
Performance is mostly great, with only a few occasional hitches (when played on a mid tier PC). Even with up to 5,000(!) rats on screen, the engine does a great job of rendering the scene with excellent fidelity.
The voice acting - done by child actors, and the sound design also deserves a praise. The atmospheric background tracks and the action packed music does a really good job at setting up the tone of the game.
Update: The next-gen update brings out smoother frame rates on consoles, improved visual quality and fidelity and makes good use of the DualSense and 3D Audio features on the Playstation 5.
Overall it's a unique experience - short enough to be completed on a weekend (Or a long night if you want to pull an all nighter). Recommended (Play it with Game Pass, or if you've grabbed it as a Playstation Plus title, or during Epic Games Store's Weekly Giveaways).