A Plague Tale: Innocence review
I love a well done, immersive single-player experience. The thing is, nowadays with my non-existent attention span, a game has to have nothing less than a mind-blowing story to keep me interested long enough to finish it. The Witcher III is such a game, and to be honest it technically took me literal years to really FINISH that game, but as I’m sure you’re all aware of by now, The Witcher III is a masterpiece of a game.
I did read some of the other reviews before I played the game, I mean I always do that for the games I review. This is because I play older games because I don’t have a lot of money so most of the time I depend on games that I’m able to rent or that are added to Game Pass, or available on Xbox Free Play Days. I obviously read some of the reviews for games before I play them because even though I’m out of work right now with my back, I still look after my little boy and try to pick up some graphic design jobs, so I like to spend what free time I have I like to spend playing good games.
A Plague Tale: Innocence from Asobo Studio is one of the games that turned out not to be just a good game, but an amazing experience. I HAVE to give a shout out to the writers and voice actors in this game. My God, there are parts of this game that are just unbelievably powerful because of the stellar quality of these aspects of the game. The beginning of the game spends a very short amount of time to run you through a short tutorial and introduce you to Amicia and her family, but that’s all it takes time to do before throwing into a terrifying situation and fighting to save the lives of your brother and yourself. Sneaking around and running from the soldiers that are trying to murder you and kidnap your brother gives you an authentic sense of anxiety. One of the common complaints that I saw in the reviews I read was that the game could be too easy and all I can say is that there were times when I was glad that the game was nudging me to safety, because I couldn’t deal with dying during certain parts of the game because it probably would have given me a fucking heart attack. All of these feelings come before the goddamn rats even show up.
It’s true, A Plague Tale: Innocence doesn’t offer an acute challenge, but I think that it works out perfectly for the experience. I think the experience requires a specific pacing and I think a tougher difficulty would slow down that pacing and take away from the cinematic experience. One of the things I loved about my playthrough was that everything was a build-up, and then there was huge payoff every time. Just like in chapter III when you’re first introduced to the rats (not really a spoiler) you’re walking with a priest and and its all dark and he’s like “Father Billy? Father Billy?” (or whatever the fuck his name was) and he doesn’t answer back and you’re like “Oh shit what’s up?” and then the rats just flood in and eat that poor motherfucker. Holy shit. A Plague Tale is packed full of good shit like that.
There is a light crafting system implemented into the game, and I actually did find it to be more of a positive addition than a detrimental one as I’ve seen it become in so many other games. There is a relatively small number of materials to keep up with but they will allow you to upgrade such items as your ammo pouch and sling as well as upgrade alchemy effects. There is also a very manageable skill tree that will allow you to do things like make yourself quieter. All of these systems are relatively simple and easy to manage and fit perfectly into the experience I think.
The visuals are fairly impressive and really capture the time period (like I know what the fuck 1400’s era Europe looks like). They are surprisingly pleasant to look at, especially the outdoor environments, as soon as you enter the dark and the waves of rats come (think World War Z zombies, but like…fucking rats.) the mood drastically changes. Sometimes you will have to creep right along the edge of the light and those nasty little fuckers will be nipping at your ankles and it can be pretty tense. The sound is top notch, sound effects and blah blah…LET’S talk about the voice acting. Holy Shit. The voice acting is on par with any high profile motion picture, I mean these people did amazing. There are a lot of terrifying situations in this game, and when the characters are in one of these situations you can hear it in their voice and it sounds genuine.
A Plague Tale: Innocence offers a single-player experience that lasts for about 10 hours. That may seem a little short, but the story behind this game and the execution of it make it an enjoyable 10 hours. The game keeps up a certain level of intensity so your nerves will be fried after those 10 hours anyway. You are always aware of the gravity of your situation, and it’s your responsibility to get your brother Hugo to safety, otherwise he will die, and he’s a cute little fucker too so you want him to live. The gameplay mainly consists of sneaking around and solving puzzles to progress along a linear story, BUT damn it’s done so well that you want to press on, and the moment-to-moment intensity of your journey makes it a great single-player experience.
I give it a...
The gameplay mainly consists of sneaking around and solving puzzles to progress along a linear story, BUT damn it’s done so well that you want to press on, and the moment-to-moment intensity of your journey makes it a great single-player experience.