When I first saw glimpses of A Plague Tale: Innocence, I assumed it was just another walking sim with lite stealth elements. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just didn’t expect it to be more than that. Thankfully now that I’ve finished the tale, I was surprised to see it had more depth and gameplay than I realised. Read on to find out more!
A Plague Tale: Innocence Story & Characters
A Plague Tale: Innocence is set in the year 1348, where a deadly plague has spread across the land. A seemingly limitless amount of rats are spawning from underground and causing havoc and death everywhere they appear.
You play as Amicia, a young girl of noble decent is on the run from the English Inquisition, an army of knights on the hunt for Amicia’s brother, Hugo. Once her home is invaded by the Inquisition, she and her brother set off on an epic journey to avoid the knights, and worst of all, the plague-filled rats.
Overall, A Plague Tale isn’t a massively long game. There’s a decent amount of chapters, but they are fairly short, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. Being a fairly huge story in a short game can present problems, but this game handles it perfectly.
Each chapter has its own purpose, its own story that contributes well to the overall story arc. The best part is that it’s eventful and nothing ever drags on. The story is constantly twisting and turning to always keep you engaged. I was never once bored with what was happening, and always knew what was going on, so the storytelling was done brilliantly.
Of course, a great story isn’t complete without great characters, and this game delivers. Amicia is a great protagonist, she’s a brave young girl who does whatever she can to help her younger brother Hugo survive in the harsh world. Before the plague took over, she hadn’t really known her brother that well, but in the extreme circumstances she showed much compassion and courage for him which highlighted the strength of her character.
Along the way, they meet other memorable characters who help them in one way or another. They all play their part well, and the voice acting for every character is superb. It’s just a shame we don’t get to know them further due to the game’s short length. That would be the one major downside to the game, as it didn’t allow enough time to become truly connected with all the characters. On the flip-side though, a longer game may have diluted such an eventful story.
A Plague Tale: Innocence Gameplay
Now this is what surprised me the most about A Plague Tale. The game did contain the strong focus on story and stealth that I was expecting, but it gave so much more than that. I’ll start with the stealth because it’s a major part of the gameplay. Firstly I really enjoyed just how polish it was, along with the whole game really.
You’ll want to avoid any of the knights because they are much stronger than you. But stealth isn’t just confined to hiding in the bushes and waiting for them to walk off. You can cause distractions by throwing a stone at a metal object to veer them off course. You have a surprisingly vast array of items and ammo types at your disposal to use how you see fit. Most scenarios are set up to allow for multiple solutions and this is what made this game so much fun to play.
There’s a great puzzle element involved, especially when dealing with the hordes of rats, which were my favourite segments of the game. Since you can’t destroy every rat on the screen, you have to use your smarts and tools at your disposal to work out the best way through. There’s a good variety of puzzles here, such as lighting braziers/torches (the rats can’t go in the light), luring them away with certain items, or using light beams to light your path. My personal favourite was smashing a knight’s lantern to extinguish it and have the rats devour them whole, luring them away and creating a path through.
Another surprise element was the fact you could upgrade your sling and equipment. Materials are scattered about and this encourages you to explore each area, rather than just walking through it all. These upgrades don’t really feel that necessary as it’s not like an RPG or anything, but it’s just nice to have something to work towards.
A Plague Tale: Innocence Review Summary
A Plague Tale: Innocence surpassed my expectations. It contained gameplay that I wasn’t expecting, and it was done very well. The parts I was expecting, like a strong story, was even better than I thought it would be.
Everything the game tackled was done with a great level of polish usually reserved for AAA titles. The locations all were visually stunning, from the bright and sunny countryside, to the creepy depths of rat-infested ruins.
There’s just a great variety of story, stealth, puzzle, and other gameplay elements that make A Plague Tale feel like a complete experience, despite being on the shorter side.