A Plague Tale: Innocence Review
Set in plague-ridden medieval France, A Plague Tale: Innocence aims to provide a heartrending journey of two siblings struggling to survive through the darkest hours of history. Coming from French developer Asobo, A Plague Tale: Innocence puts you in the middle of an ambitious battle against a whole host of foes. Chief among these is your own emotions, as you will be forced to make hard choices that leave you stunned into silence as the story plays out around you. Do you have what it takes to persevere against such terrible odds?
As you step into the world of A Plague Tale: Innocence the first thing you notice is how visually striking the game is. I mean, honestly, A Plague Tale: Innocence may very well be the singularly most stunning piece of gaming cinematography I have had the pleasure to view. This game is drop-dead gorgeous.
From the shafts of light coming through windows to the shadows playing against each surface as you move through areas with your torch high overhead, every object in this game has been meticulously designed to create a perfectly immersive environment. While this environment is not always particularly pleasing, and in fact it can turn your stomach or make you afraid to continue forward – it is only the complete immersion provided by the game that allows such emotions to come to the forefront.
Speaking of emotion, be prepared to experience quite a bit of it. The entire purpose behind A Plague Tale: Innocence is the struggle faced by two siblings in a harsh and unforgiving time. This struggle is captured brilliantly by the developer, who can, and do, break your heart with nothing more than 1 line of dialogue and 1 simple decision. I cannot reveal more than this without spoiling the story but suffice it to say that this is one journey you will not soon forget.
Intertwined in the vibrant graphics and immersive storyline is a surprisingly well executed host of gameplay mechanics. Your character will have to run, jump, hide and shoot with precision to solve the many intriguing puzzles in your path. You will also have to keep an eye out for various crafting materials that will make your life much easier as you progress through the game.
Oh, did I forget to mention the crafting system? Yes – somehow Asobo sneaks in a crafting system that still feels at home in such a frantic, story-driven game. This leads to yet more decisions made by the player as to what to craft when, as resources are scarce and both spending all your resources crafting upgrades or failing to craft any will be seriously detrimental later down the road.
I cannot stress enough how polished and well-constructed A Plague Tale: Innocence really is. Aside from the occasional movement bug (where your character rotates oddly before moving in the correct direction) that has yet to affect gameplay in any real sense, there is not a single thing I would change about this game. Well, except for a moment in the opening scene of the game – but I won’t give that away. And again, I credit the developer wholeheartedly for their ability to make me truly feel for those in this game. It has been a long time since I felt the same type of connection to any piece of media or artificial entity that I do with the characters in this game.
A Plague Tale‘s combination of graphic excellence and rich storyline also make it a perfect game to play solo, with a group. What I mean by this is that while only one person may actually be playing the game at any one time, a whole room full of people can still enjoy the experience of the game, simply by being present and paying attention. My girlfriend and I took turns playing this game and I can truly say I had just as much fun watching the game play out (and yelling the occasional – ok, frequent – suggestion) as I did actually having the controller in my hand.
Overall, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a masterpiece of a game, both visually and interactively. If you enjoy story-driven games, historical fantasy or stunning imagery this game will not disappoint you. In fact, I think most people would be hard-pressed not to find themselves fully immersed in this game. Pulling yourself back to reality and reminding yourself that it is only a game is the much harder part.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is available on PC through Steam, as well as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.