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A Plague’s Tale: Innocence (PS4) Review: Rats, Corruption, and Plague – Oh My!

A Plague’s Tale: Innocence (PS4) Review:  Rats, Corruption, and Plague – Oh My!
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Plagues have been a fascinating and deadly phenomenon for the human race as long as we’ve been in existence. Looking back, it is easy to get caught up in the drama of these times from the idea of the plague having mystic beginnings to insane experiments for potential cures to the way people in power have tried to manipulate mass hysteria in their favor. In all of this excitement, it’s easy to forget the reality of the situation: hundreds of people died in horrific ways. However, A Plague’s Tale: Innocence finds a way to infuse all of these realities together in a well-written narrative with the artistic appeal of gothic beauty.

A Plague’s Tale: Innocence takes place in 14th-century France during the Inquisition, and a plague has laid waste to the people of the country. Recently orphaned, siblings Amicia and Hugo must try to survive the less-than-friendly atmosphere ravaged by hordes of plague-infested rats and man-made destruction. When the siblings discover that Hugo might be key in discovering a cure, they must go through hell and back, with the help of a few friends, to fight for their survival and the good of the world.

In the grand scheme of things, there is so much to enjoy about A Plague’s Tale: Innocence. The story is really well-written, and the characters are great. The time period is one that is not usually seen in video games as well as seeing it through the perspective of a child. On top of that, the game is designed and illustrated beautifully. However, a slow combat system and how easy it is to get lost makes it a difficult ride toward the end of the game.

A Plague's Tale

The moment the game begins with Amicia hunting with her father in the forest I was astounded by how beautiful it looked. Bright sunlight dapples the characters and the forest floor, and the spots of sunshine even shift in the breeze blowing through the trees. Even as the game begins to delve into the darker parts of the story it never loses that gothic appeal. With that being said, the developers and artists didn’t hold back in creating a death-filled atmosphere. The environment is scattered with dead bodies and bones covered with half-eaten flesh. So, fair warning, this game definitely is not for the faint of heart, but I respect the way they don’t dance around the gruesomeness of the time.

A Plague's Take

The gruesomeness of the time is reflected in the overall narrative as well, and seeing all of this through the eyes of children really puts it on another level. The writing is done really well, and each of the characters are unique and relatable in their own ways. And they even kept this child’s perspective in mind when developing the controls and combat. At least toward the beginning of the game, the gameplay most revolves around strategically sneaking from place to place, and when distraction doesn’t work, your slingshot will do in a pinch. All of these elements work together really well in creating a memorable narrative.

With that being said, the combat is also one of my biggest complaints. As the game progresses, there are more and more enemies, which makes using the slingshot more of a requirement versus a last resort. This gets frustrating to say the least and really puts a damper on the rest of the experience. The slingshot can be upgraded but it is still a bit sluggish, especially when almost everything is an insta-death. On top of that, sometimes trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing and where you’re supposed to be. However, the shift in combat is definitely my biggest complaint.

All in all, the things that make A Plague’s Tale: Innocence stand out from other games overshadow the small complaints. There are a lot of brave choices made within the narrative and development of the game, and those choices should definitely be praised and appreciated. If you don’t get queasy easily and you’re willing to work through a few frustrations, it’ll be easy to get lost in the effects of A Plague’s Tale: Innocence.

8
Great

The Good

  • Unique narrative and POV
  • Enthralling, well-written story
  • Great design and graphics
  • Excellent music that sets the mood

The Bad

  • Frustrating combat for insta-kills
  • Easy to get lost